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Keep the Flame Alive

Jan 12, 2023

The International Olympic Committee is a juggernaut that in 2021 brought in $4.2 billion in revenue. But the organization wasn't always that wealthy, and it took a lot of work to create the programs that brought the IOC from the brink of destruction to the global powerhouse it is today.

Michael Payne was one of the people who helped the IOC right its course.

As the organization's first marketing director, he helped develop the TOP sponsorship program and also managed broadcast rights. After working at the IOC for 16 years, he left in 2004 to start Payne Sports Media Strategies, his own sports and entertainment strategic consulting firm. During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, he put together a coffee table book of Olympics-related political cartoons called Toon In!, for which he was honored with the Pierre de Coubertin medal for his contributions to Olympism.

We talked with Michael about his book and developing the TOP sponsorship program, as well as some interesting planning negotiations during Seoul 1988.

Learn more about Michael at his website, and you can find out more about his book here. He's also a great follow on Twitter!

In our Seoul 1988 history moment, Alison looks at the infamous cauldron lighting, which led to the demise of several birds.

In our visit to TKFLASTAN, we have updates from:

We also have Games news from

For a transcript of this episode, please visit:

Thanks so much for listening, and until next time, keep the flame alive!


 Keep the Flame Alive: The Podcast for Fans of the Olympics and Paralympics with hosts Jill Jaracz & Alison Brown

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