Michael R. Payne

Michael Payne has been at the forefront of the sports marketing industry for over thirty years – having led the global marketing effort for the Olympic Movement for more than two decades, from 1983 to 2004 as the IOC’s first ever Marketing and Broadcast Rights Director. Michael Payne now runs his own global strategic advisory group – Payne Sports Media Strategies SA, serving a diverse group of clients and Boards.


Nominated as one of the world’s most influential marketers by Advertising Age, Michael oversaw the development of the first ever global marketing strategy for the Olympic Games, which has turned into one of the most successful marketing initiatives ever seen.

During his tenure at the IOC, Michael lead the marketing team for over 20 years, that would generate in excess of $15 billion in broadcast and marketing revenues..

On leaving the IOC, following the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, Michael founded his own strategic consultancy, Payne Sports Media Strategies SA working with many of the world’s leading sports groups and companies. For more than a decade, Michael has acted as special advisor to F1’s former Chairman / CEO Bernie Ecclestone, pioneering the effort to bring F1 to new markets from Singapore to Russia, to supporting major F1 broadcast negotiations from UK to US and eventually helping prepare the group for sale in 2015.


Michael has also acted for more than a decade as special advisor to WPP, the world’s largest marketing group and serves on, or as advisor to a number of boards around the world.


Still very active in the business affairs of the Olympic Movement, Tokyo 2020 will be Michael’s 20th Olympic Games Michael served as senior strategic advisor to the successful London 2012, Rio 2016 and LA 2028 bids. He advises on major Olympic, F1 and other sports media rights and sponsorship negotiations for clients across Asia, the Americas and Europe, negotiating many of the world’s largest broadcast and sponsorship deals. Most recently he pioneered, with his Chinese partners Shankai, the ground breaking innovative Alibaba – IOC long term partnership deal.


Recognised as a pioneer in the industry, from the original creation of the IOC’s TOP global sponsorship programme, through to the introduction of brand management discipline in sports marketing and the IOC’s award winning Celebrate Humanity programme, to the creation of the world’s first digital sports film archive bureau, OTAB, to ground breaking technology introducing LED to the field of sports competition.


His business book, Olympic Turnaround (Published London Business Press – June 2005) details the business story of how the Olympic Games stepped back from the brink of bankruptcy to become the world’s best known brand – and a multi billion dollar global franchise, has earned critical acclaim in the industry and been translated into more than 15 languages.


Prior to joining the IOC, Michael spent a number of years helping to develop and manage marketing programes for a broad variety of international events. These included the First World Athletics Championships, Helsinki1983; the English test Match Cricket Series through to the launch of the London Marathon in 1982. Prior to that, in the mid 1970’s Michael competed in the international ski circuit as a member of the British Freestyle Ski Team, at World Cup level – twice becoming British Professional Freestyle Ski Champion.


Michael is a regular commentator on sports marketing industry affairs for CNN, BBC, Bloomberg, Financial Times and other media groups around the world including regular marketing columns with Fortune China and Japan’s Yomuiri Shimbun.


Selection of Profile Articles.



                        Wall St Journal – 1998


Commercial Success of Olympic Games, leaves challenging legacy.


 “Samaranch allowed Payne to completely transform the Olympic Games in order to achieve a fiscal stability that no one else dreamed possible. Payne plays a huge role, and in many minds, the relationship between Samaranch and Payne is that of Moses and Joshua.”

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                                 The Times – 2004


Olympic Salesman tries life in the Fast Lane.


‘The most influential Briton in Olympic sporting circles was not Princess Anne, nor five-time gold medallist Sir Steve Redgrave, not even Lord Sebastian Coe, the head of London's bid for the 2012 Games: it was, until he announced his intention to stand down last week, Michael Payne………….

There is little doubt that Mr Payne will be a loss to the IOC. Very much one of the stars of Juan Antonio Samaranch's regime, Mr Payne is the biggest name yet to depart the Chateau Vidy since the arrival as IOC president of the quiet, dogged Belgian surgeon, Jacques Rogge.

While at the IOC, Mr Payne effectively turned the Olympics from a four-yearly sporting festival into what he described as a tightly-controlled "hands-on franchise". Now he is leaving Lausanne, it would be no a surprise if we were to see a similar approach on the race tracks of the world, too.


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                                                                   Daily Mail – 2012

London had blown it! Coe saved Olympic bid from disappearing without a trace


I said to him (Lord Coe) "you're not going to win this if you treat it as a straight beauty contest. The French have it nailed on." He needed to have a very different kind of debate with the IOC members. Everyone is going to build similar venues so what made London special? So I invited him to my home in Switzerland for a few days over New Year and we kicked around some ideas. He needed to give people a reason to vote for London……


"The word "legacy' is thrown around all over the place. But you have to look at the tangible - ie the bricks and mortar - and the intangible - ie people getting involved in sport, volunteering. People tend to concentrate too much on the buildings. The other thing that annoys me is when people add the costs for roads and airports and such things to the total costs for the Games. You should strip out those kind of things. They're not Olympic costs. No-one is going to build a new railway or road for a 16-day event. It's just a catalyst so it is all built quicker.'

It's pretty hard to argue with him on that.

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