SBD/Issue 231/Olympics

Catching Up With Former IOC Marketing Dir Michael Payne

For more than 20 years, Michael Payne played a key role in the global marketing strategy of the Olympic movement. He served as IOC Marketing Dir for more than a decade before stepping down after the '04 Athens Games to join F1. He now runs his own consulting firm. While he was in Beijing, the author of "Olympic Turnaround" sat down with SportsBusiness Journal Staff Writer Tripp Mickle.

Payne Feels Beijing Olympics Will Have
Positive Impact On Country Of China
Q: What would you say will be the legacy of these Games?

Payne: I don't think there will ever have been an Olympic Games with the impact that these Games will have on this country and the way this country can be presented to the world. I think it will be very positive. The truth is, you won't really be able to judge the full impact for a decade and understand it's symbolic importance.

Q: What about the legacy for the Olympic movement?

Payne: If you come back again, the legacy for the Olympic movement is the role it played in catapulting China onto the world stage and the role it played in helping the world to learn a lot more about China. From a sponsor standpoint, there's no question that showcasing here was taken to a whole new level. The investments in the past pale in comparison to what's been done here.

Q: What does this Games do for the TOP program long term?

Payne: You can only answer that question once you debrief the sponsors after the Games and look at the business impact. There's no question that here in China it's been able to move the bar considerably. To what extent some of the problems with the (Torch) Relay and some of that interfered with international programs is unknown. We've been down that road before with the Salt Lake scandal and crisis. Counting down to Sydney, we had a lot of issues undermining the marketing programs, but the marketing programs came through it.

Also, you've got an attendance of the world's business leaders here who are seeing the Olympics up close in a way they've never seen before. That's probably a great platform to preach the gospel and get more people aware of the opportunity.

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