Forty Under 40: Danny Townsend | SportsBusiness Journal

David Broughton, SporsBusiness Journal

Beer and a bum knee made Danny Townsend the man he is today.

Townsend knew that after multiple surgeries on his right knee, the chances of a long career as a pro soccer player were unlikely. So during his three-year career on the pitch in his native Sydney, Townsend also earned a bachelor’s degree in sport science from the University of New South Wales — and then an MBA, with an emphasis in international marketing, at Charles Sturt University.

He hung up his cleats at age 23 and became the commercial director at the Australian Jockey Club. There, he quickly secured a sponsorship with San Miguel Brewery, the biggest sports sponsorship in Australia at the time, Townsend said. But the Manila, Philippines-based company “had no idea what they were doing in Australia,” he said, and so they asked him to find them an agency.

“Being on the rights side of the property, I wanted to get them an agency that wasn’t going to bust my balls,” Townsend said.

Townsend paired San Miguel up with Paul Smith, who ran an activation agency in Sydney. With that beer deal as the catalyst, Smith and Townsend eventually joined forces in 2004 to form Repucom.

Since then, Townsend has launched Repucom’s business in Asia and Europe and now oversees a client base that includes the likes of the major U.S. pro leagues, FIFA and the Barclays Premier League. Emirates, Gatorade, Pepsi, Red Bull and Volkswagen are clients as well.

“Paul and I agreed on something very early on in our business life together,” Townsend said. “If we go into a meeting and talk about why we’re better than our competitors, then we’re already behind. We just stick with why we’re the right company to work with.”