Sports Recruitment, Executives in Sport
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Paul
Smith

 

Director of City & Spectator Experience

1. How did you get your first opportunity in sport?

By writing speculative letters to sponsorship agencies, and there weren’t many of those in the mid-90s! Alan Pascoe Associates got back to me and offered me a three-month unpaid internship, which led to the offer of a full-time role.

2. What is the best sporting event you’ve ever attended?

It has to be London 2012. I was working for Cadbury and managing their sponsorship, so I had great accreditation. The one event in particular would be the track cycling – Britain were so successful, and it seemed to all come in one session, with Chris Hoy, Laura Trott, Jason Kenny… just incredible.

3. Who has been the biggest influence on your career?

He’ll be embarrassed that I’ve mentioned him but Alun James, who gave me my first job and has continued to be a mentor for me, and I still speak to him. The other would be David Stern from the NBA, who I was lucky enough to work for for a few years. What he accomplished with the NBA is nothing short of phenomenal.

4. I’m a big brand with a hefty sponsorship budget – what sport or event should I invest in?

It obviously depends on the brand, their background and their goals, but brands are only just starting to scratch the surface. It’s 50 per cent of the population and there is huge opportunity there that isn’t being harnessed. Whether that’s in cricket with England winning the World Cup in 2017, they’ve just sold out Wembley for the football… it’s huge.

5. Who are three people from the sports industry you’d invite to your dinner party?

Again, David Stern. He’s the father of modern sports marketing, having taken the NBA from nothing, it wasn’t even on national TV, to a multi-billion-dollar industry. I’d invite Mike Ashley, just to hear what’s going on in that world, and then I’d bring Prince Harry along, because the stuff he’s done with the Invictus Games is really inspirational.

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