Olympic Turnaround
How the Olympic Games Stepped Back from the Brink of Extinction to Become the World's Best Known Brand
by Michael Payne
January 2006, 368pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-275-99030-5
$44, £33, 38€, A60
eBook Available: 978-0-313-08049-4
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

How the Olympics rose from the ashes of bankruptcy to become the world’s most powerful brand

Higher, faster, stronger… The Olympic motto conjures images of heroes whose achievements transcended their athletic prowess, but also of tragedy and disgrace. By 1980, the modern Olympic movement was gasping for breath, bankrupt financially, politically, and culturally. But under the leadership of Juan Antonio Samaranch, and, subsequently, Jacques Rogge, the Olympics began a journey back from the brink. Michael Payne, who served as the International Olympic Committee’s top marketer for over twenty years, offers unprecedented access to the people and negotiations behind one of the most dramatic turnarounds in business or sports history. Through a multi-pronged strategy, the IOC managed to secure lucrative broadcasting commitments, entice well-heeled corporate sponsors, and parlay the symbolism of the Olympics into a brand for which cities around the world are willing to invest billions of dollars. Packed with previously untold stories from the high-octane world where business, sports, politics, and media meet, Olympic Turnaround is a remarkable tale of organizational renewal and a fascinating glimpse behind the curtain of the world’s most iconic brand.

The 2008 Games in Beijing, for example, are expected to involve over 10,000 athletes from 200 countries, draw 20,000 media representatives, and generate over $4 billion in sponsorships and broadcasting rights. Packed with previously untold stories from the high-octane world where business, sports, politics, and media meet, Olympic Turnaround is a remarkable tale of organizational renewal and a fascinating glimpse behind the curtain of the world’s most iconic brand.


CHOICE Outstanding Academic Titles, 2006, January 1, 2006


"Though the Olympic movement grew confidently after its revival by Baron Pierre de Coubertin in 1896, by the 1970s, Payne writes, decay had set in. With terrorist killings at the 1972 Munich Games, huge cost overruns at the 1976 Montreal Games, and successive boycotts at the Montreal, Moscow, and Los Angeles events, many believed that the Olympic movement would soon end. Payne describes how the International Olympic Committee reinvented itself in the 1980s under the leadership of Juan Antonio Samaranch, and how the Olympic Games became the world's best-known brand, attracting billions in advertising and broadcast revenues. He should know. In 1983, he was hired to develop a marketing strategy for the IOC and he served as its marketing director over the course of 15 Olympic Games. This narrative is exceptionally well written, detailed yet clear, well referenced but not cluttered, firsthand but not self-serving. An easy, enjoyable, and often exciting read, it will fascinate anyone interested in the business of communication and advertising and of course anyone who has ever been intrigued by the Olympic Games themselves. Essential. All readers; all levels."—Choice, July 1, 2006

"For this interested in the business of the Olympic Games....Michael Payne's book is must reading. The book is in effect a kind of business school case study, albeit a glamorous one, providing intriguing lessons on big stakes negotiations, corporate espionage and a glimpse into the backroom doings of prominent people."—United States Curling News, November 1, 2007

"This is the business story of the world's most valuable franchise and the largest event the world: the Olympic Games. Payne served as the International Olympic Committee's top marketer for over twenty years. He here gives readers access to the people, the negotiations and the machinations behind the turnaround of the Olympic franchise, from its nadir in the early 1980s when it was financially, politically, and culturally bankrupt, to its present place of prestige. The stories--many previously untold--of this organizational renewal come from the pit where business, sports, politics and media meet."—Reference & Research Book News, August 1, 2006

"Chock-full of backstage Olympic lore, this is the book to read if you'd like a business angle on the decisions of the International Olympic Committee. The source is not entirely objective. Author Michael Payne was the Olympics first marketing director and held high-level posts for twenty years but its a compelling read nonetheless, spiced up with a fine selection of black and white photos....[a] unique perspective on the most famous recurring spectacle in the world."—Harvard Business School's Working Knowledge, May 29, 2006

"No one is better qualified than Michael Payne to reveal the intricate details behind the Olympic renaissance. Olympic Turnaround is more than a compelling story of deal brokering at the highest levels; it's a lesson in creative problem solving and brand building that will appeal to sports fans and business leaders in equal measure."—Peter Ueberroth, President of the United States Olympic Committee and Former Commissioner of Major League Baseball and President and CEO of the Los Angeles Games, 1984

"Michael Payne provides a fascinating inside story on rebuilding what what has become one of the most powerful brands in the world; a brand we all feel ownership of, care for and enjoy; a brand whose values companies pay literally billions to be associated with."—Sean Meehan, The Martin Hilti Professor of Marketing and Change Management, IMD

"No one knows the Olympic brand better than Michael Payne. Olympic Turnaround provides a road map to success in 2012."—Sebastian Coe, Olympian and Chairman of London's successful 2012 Olympic bid

"If Juan Antonio Samaranch was 'M' then Michael Payne was 'Q' in the cloak and dagger world behind the Olympic Games. With more twists and turns than a spy novel, Payne's masterly telling of the games behind the Games is a page turner for anyone who has thrilled to Olympic competition."—David Hill, Chairman and CEO, Fox Sports

"If ever there was someone in a position to tell the story of the IOC in the late 20th century and its phenomenal recovery for the new millennium, it would be Michael Payne. There's a reason he's been called the world's foremost sports marketer and this book gives full credence to that position. An intriguing read that makes clear how hard it is to market global sport properties."—Rick Burton, Commissioner, National Basketball League (Australia)

"From the crippling tit-for-tat boycotts of Moscow and Los Angeles, to the egos that nearly wrecked Atlanta and corrupted Salt Lake City, to the torturous triumphs of Sydney and Athens, with the exciting prospect of the new China in Bejing 2008 ahead, Olympic Turnaround is a fascinating read. This is the inside story of the spectacular road back from the brink."—John Bertrand, America's Cup Winner

"This is the inside story from and insider. Michael Payne captures the politics, intrigue and tension of sports business at the very highest level and delivers in a style enriched by personal observations and anecdotes which take the reader right into the boardroom."—Kevin Roberts, Editorial Director, Sport Business

"Olympic Turnaround is pure Olympic Gold. Michael Payne's [account] gives a thrilling insight into the strategic, leadership, branding and marketing triumphs of the Olympic Movement over the last 25 years."—Sir Steve Redgrave, Olympic Gold Medalist
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