2023 Alumni Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Individual)
Associate Diploma in Sports Science, 1986
Paul Smith is an extraordinary innovator and entrepreneur, challenging conventions to build numerous thriving businesses that have enhanced the sports industry in Australia and beyond.
In 1994, Paul founded Total Sport and Entertainment (TSE), Australia’s first dedicated sponsorship leverage and activation company, with a clear vision to revolutionise the traditional sports agency model. He has achieved all this and more, transforming not only the sports agency model but the approach to acquisition and ownership of sports rights nationally.
Identifying a gap in the market, in 2004 Paul founded Repucom, a sports consulting firm specialising in sponsorship analytics services, to provide companies with more tangible ways to prove returns on their sponsorship investments. His pioneering model changed the way consumer research is delivered and used by sporting bodies and sponsors, quickly gaining traction in Australia followed by Singapore and the US. The US-based company became the global benchmark for sports marketing research, servicing every major sports brand from the NBA and NFL to FIFA and the English Premier League, growing to encompass 1,400 staff spanning 18 countries over 12 years. Paul sold to global research giant Nielsen Holdings in 2016 for more than US$195 million.
Returning to Australia, he then poured his focus, creativity, and passion into leading the next stage of TSE’s entrepreneurial transformation, acquiring the KIND Agency and expanding into design and video content creation. In an unprecedented move, TSE purchased the Sydney Kings and Sydney Flames basketball teams. Paul has since reimagined the basketball business to include fashion, music, and events, and has been a key driver in both teams’ remarkable success and viewer base growth.
TSE was awarded Mumbrella Sports Marketing Agency of the Year in 2019 in recognition of its innovation and impact in the sector. In 2022, Paul launched the first-ever professional sporting match to be played on Christmas Day, which proved to be a great success. He has also recently founded dynamic Illawarra-based communications company South Break Media.
Paul Smith is a game-changing entrepreneur whose talent, creativity, and drive have transformed the sporting industry for the benefit of sportspeople, sponsors, and fans alike.