Letter from Juan Antonio Samaranch

During the course of my presidency, many books were written about the Olympic Games and the IOC. But never before has anyone told the business side of the story – how the Olympic Games evolved from near bankruptcy in the early 1980s to become the multi billion dollar event it is today.

In Olympic Turnaround, Michael Payne tells that unique story. I believe it is one of the most important books ever written about the Olympic Movement. It is certainly the most important book ever written on the business of sport. Michael, as the IOC’s Marketing Director throughout my presidency, was one of the key executives in the business story of the Games. No one was closer to the day to day marketing operations of the Olympics than Michael.

When I became IOC President in 1980, the outlook was grim – very grim indeed. Few people gave the IOC much chance of surviving. Back then, as some of you may recall, there was no queue of cities clamouring to host the Games. We had little funding, and a Movement that was far from unified. No one could have imagined that just over twenty years later, the greatest cities in the world would be fighting for the honour of hosting the Games, and broadcasters and sponsors would be funnelling billions of dollars into sport.

The IOC was at the forefront of the sports management industry and with the leadership of Marketing and TV Rights Commission Chairman, Dick Pound, established many of the practices and protocols that have become the operating standard throughout the industry. Michael, as the IOC’s Marketing Director throughout my presidency, was one of the key executives in the business story of the Games. No one was closer to the day to day marketing operations of the Olympics than Michael. He has written a truly incredible book, painstakingly researched, on a unique period of Olympic history. Anyone with an interest in the Olympics or the business of sport will find it a fascinating read.

April 2005
Juan Antonio Samaranch
Marqués de Samaranch

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