Paul Dainty is the President and CEO of TEG DAINTY, a pivotal part of the TEG Group of Companies and one of the largest and most successful live entertainment companies in the world.
Recognised by the highly acclaimed SportBusiness International Magazine as one of the world’s 20 most influential promoters and recently ranked by Pollstar as the 13th largest promoter in the world, Dainty Group produces and promotes shows across Australia and New Zealand, the United States, United Kingdom, South East Asia and South Africa.
During 40 years in the business, Dainty has delivered world-class concert tours for some of biggest music, sporting, comedy and theatrical performers on the globe, selling more than 50 million concert tickets to Australians who have flocked to see the likes of ABBA, The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, U2, Guns ‘N’ Roses and Britney Spears.
His powerhouse team is behind a host of theatrical success stories, including Jersey Boys, Mamma Mia!, Billy Crystal’s 700 Sundays, Hairspray the Musical, The Rocky Horror Show and Barry Humphries’ Eat Pray Laugh.
And in sports event entertainment, he has toured Jeremy Clarkson’s Top Gear Live, World Wrestling Entertainment and leading freestyle motocross brand Crusty Demons.
But it wasn’t always his dream.
As a child growing up in the affluent county of Surrey, in England’s south-east, Dainty, a passionate fan of Chelsea Football Club, longed for a life directing films. Fueled by stories of his maternal grandfather, a well-known art director, and his former film production manager mother, he developed a fascination with movies, television and the cinematic arts.
Dainty’s first job out of school was at the legendary Shepperton Studios, working as a runner for leading film directors, including Joseph Losey and Stanley Kubrick.
But a fork in the road – the choice between a trainee director course at the BBC and a job offer in the music business – set him on a whole new path.
Dainty chose music and went to work at a small English agency with a host of big acts. One of them was Roy Orbison. Over the next few years the pair became close and Dainty joined Orbison on several tours of Australia, where he spotted an opportunity in the untapped markets of the southern hemisphere. After repeatedly failing to convince his boss to take it up, Dainty eventually jumped ship and set up his own business focused on bringing big British acts to Australia.
The Paul Dainty Corporation – as it was then known – had quick success with a string of Australian tours, including the Bee Gees, Diana Ross, Cat Stevens and the Jackson Five. But Dainty hit the big time when the Rolling Stones approached him, looking for a new promoter.
The history-making Rolling Stones tour of 1973 set up the success that followed.
While Dainty is reluctant to single out a highlight – there are many ways to measure success – some opportunities led to others.
In 1977, his company toured ABBA, then one of the biggest bands in the world. Dainty’s professionalism and attention to detail left its mark and, 25 years later, when band members Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus toured their hit stage musical Mamma Mia!, Dainty secured the tour based on his relationship with the band and reputation for delivering the best.
Relationships and reputation again helped seal the deal in 2012, when Dainty Group smashed box office records and launched into the global touring business with five Rolling Stones 50th anniversary concerts in London, New York and New Jersey. The shows drew unprecedented gross box office revenues of more than US$38 million and gross total revenue of more than US$43 million.
2014 is another big year, with international tours by Bon Jovi, Michael Buble, Eminem, Lionel Richie and John Farnham, Miley Cyrus, Queen and World Wrestling Entertainment. The end of the year brings the biggest tour of them all, two months touring Katy Perry through Australia and New Zealand.
But while the early growth was organic, Dainty’s success wasn’t entirely left to chance. A decision to expand his business to cover all areas of live entertainment has proved a winner for the company and ploughed a road for others to follow.
So too Dainty’s decision to extend his reach into other international markets. Recently he toured Eminem and Lionel Richie in South Africa and South East Asia, where a growing middle class is hungry for international live entertainment.
As well as his extensive live interests, Dainty is co-owner of one of Australia’s leading independent DVD distribution companies, Via Vision Entertainment, and a major shareholder and director of sports and entertainment marketing company, Twenty3.
And he hasn’t forgotten his youthful cinematic dream. A former director of Australia’s Film Finance Corporation, Dainty dipped his toe back into film in 1984, producing the critically acclaimed feature film Street Heroes. He longs to fulfill his dream of directing his own movie – something he says he’d never rule out.
But his heart – and his passion – remains in live entertainment so for the next 10 years at least, Dainty will travel the world, seeking opportunities, negotiating deals and building relationships to grow and develop the Dainty Group.