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Long-serving IMG technical services executive Payne moves on

Melissa Payne, vice-president and head of technical operations at IMG, has left the agency after two decades.

Payne has been a key component of IMG’s technical services division, which produces and distributes a world feed for various different sports properties.

She has held her current title since 2015, having joined IMG in 2000, but becomes the latest executive to leave the agency.

Payne, who began her career in the sports broadcast industry at SISLink, the uplink services provider, intends to continue working in the media rights, broadcast and events sector.

At IMG, she has been involved in defining the budget for IMG’s technical services division, and for approving the technical delivery aspects of rights deals struck by IMG’s sales teams.

IMG set up its technical services operations not long after Payne’s arrival, offering a multilateral world feed to its clients and arranging on-site facilities for broadcasters, arranging the delivery of the live signal on their behalf.

Speaking to IBC last year, Payne said that when she arrived, IMG was only producing and arranging the delivery of the Premier League and European Tour coverage, along with the likes of the Football Mundial and Trans World Sport magazine programming, but that IMG’s other sports properties were only represented from a rights standpoint.

She said: “Broadcasters would pay a big chunk of change acquiring the rights, and that would then be pretty much the end of our relationship with them. They were on their own from there.

“It [the introduction of technical services] allowed rights-holders to relax. They’d write a cheque out for the rights fees, but would also know that they could participate and access an international feed with guide and/or cleared English commentary at a minimal cost.

“Whereas if they were going to do it themselves it would cost them tens of thousands of pounds. If they joined in and participated in the multilateral world feed, it’s small change by comparison to going it alone. Therefore it made sense for them.”