Alex Payne, Sky Sports presenter, who is redefining the digital meeting room with The Influence Room, shows us around his web.

Alex Payne is the lead presenter of Rugby Union at Sky Sports, having had spells on Sky Sports News, tennis and poker. He has covered four Lions tours, fronted England beating the All Blacks at Twickenham, anchored the Aviva Premiership, Guinness Pro 12, European Cup and Super Rugby finals and interviewed everybody from Jonny to Johnno via the late, great Jonah.


Away from the bright lights and the make-up brushes, Alex has been involved in several startups and has recently launched The Influence Room - a discreet online meeting room for brands and VIPs. The platform allows influencers to reach out to the brands they like, and for brands to find out who is interested in working with them. It is early days but already they have over 250 brands on the site, ranging from FTSE 100 companies to small startups, whilst the influencer social media reach is over 100m.

My favourite website… anything news related - The Times, The Telegraph and, dare I say it, Daily Mail Online. If I'm honest, I probably check news websites up to ten times a day.

My favourite app… Twitter - Another source of news. I read far more than I tweet.

My blog of choice... - I'm not really a blog reader but thesunwillcomeup.blogspot.com is written by the wife of a friend of mine, documenting the joys and challenges of dealing with a daughter who is not very well. It is beautiful, emotional and incredibly inspiring.

My internet hero… Alex Payne - My namesake founded Twitter.

My most recent buy online... a Fitbit for the wife - I was recently in New Zealand covering the Lions Tour. She gave me a Fitbit for my birthday and instantly said she wanted one too. It was my going away present; we were competing on footsteps from either side of the world.

Book just downloaded/ read... ‘Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life’ by William Finnegan - It is a coming of age book about a surfing obsessive. I much prefer paperback to kindle.

Favourite tweeter... the political insider @guidofawkes - It is the breaking news thing again.

Favourite instagrammer… @aquabumps – The feed is full of incredible surf photography that is pure online escapism.

Social media allowed me to meet… brands that have subsequently joined The Influence Room. It is every bit as powerful as LinkedIn.

Most worthwhile newsletter subscribed to... Marketing News - Given what we're doing with The Influence Room, I am consuming as much information around brand activity as possible.

Pet hate about life online... The fact it is such a prominent part of our lives? Simon Sinek did a fascinating Ted Talk on the subject, as a result of which I no longer take electronics upstairs at night. I try so hard not to let my kids see me on my phone, and never, ever at the kitchen table!

Stand out online memory… I had a spectacular meltdown on air about five years ago and well and truly fluffed my opening lines to a live show. It was the first, and only time I've ever felt the full force of the intense, viral nature of social media. Although it stung at the time, it thickened my hide overnight. And taught me that when it all goes wrong, the first thing you should do is laugh.

iPhone or Android? iPhone. I switched over about seven years ago and have been an apple disciple ever since.

July 2017