Visa International

Visa Extends Olympic Games Sponsorship For Eight More Years - Most Successful Global Sponsorship To Deliver Support

Through The Games Of The XXX Olympiad In 2012

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA and LONDON, U.K. and BEIJING, CHINA (ots) - Visa International today announced that it will be the first worldwide sponsor to renew its Olympic sponsorship through the 2012 Olympic Games (the Games of the XXX Olympiad), a period of eight years.

    As a result of the renewed agreement, Visa will be the exclusive payment card and official payment service for the four Olympic Games following ATHENS 2004. This will include the XX Olympic Winter Games in Torino in 2006, the Games of the XXIX Olympiad in Beijing in 2008, and the 2010 and 2012 Olympic Games, whose sites have yet to be selected.

    "The Olympic Games stand on their own as one of the most exciting and popular sporting and cultural events in the world and we are delighted to extend our sponsorship through 2012," said Malcolm Williamson, CEO and President of Visa International. "We believe the values of the Olympics - excellence, leadership and competition - are also values embodied in the Visa organization. In addition to providing increased business opportunities, this sponsorship enables Visa and our 21'000 member financial institutions to support the men and women from around the world who make the Olympics a reality. We are very proud of that aspect of the partnership."

    In addition to the significant economic support provided to the staging of the Games, Visa's corporate sponsorship of the world's premier sporting event has provided more than US$ 100 million worldwide in direct support to Olympic athletes through their Olympic organizations since Visa became a worldwide sponsor.

    "In the eight years following the Athens Games, Visa's corporate sponsorship is expected to provide nearly US$ 40 million in financial support to National Olympic Committees and through to the athletes in support of their quest to participate in the Olympic dream," added Williamson.

    According to IOC President Jacques Rogge, "Visa International is a valuable friend and partner of the Olympic Movement. Visa's commitment to the Olympic ideals and to its integral role in the successful staging of the Olympic Games has, year on year, shown that Visa is not only a global leader in finance but in sports sponsorship. We are delighted that Visa is continuing its partnership and we look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship."

    Corporate commitments such as Visa's to the Olympic Movement and the 199 National Olympic Committees and their national teams have been an important factor in ensuring the continuance and success of the Olympic Games. According to Michael Payne, IOC Marketing Director, out of the 200 nations that compete in the Olympic Games, "...fewer than 30 countries from around the world could afford to come to the Games without sponsorship. The other 170 nations, particularly those from the developing world, are totally dependent on the funding that comes from the worldwide partners like Visa."

    Visa's renewed sponsorship extends to all participating National Olympic Committees and their Olympic teams. Rights include advertising and promotional use of Olympic marks and graphics, as well as marks from the National and International Olympic Committees. The agreement also gives Visa the exclusive global marketing rights and official status for the Paralympic Games through 2012.

    The Olympic Games transcend political and geographical boundaries to deliver incomparable international exposure, broad-based audience appeal and a wide range of cultural and sporting events appealing to virtually every demographic. For the Olympic Games in Sydney, more than 3.7 billion viewers across 220 countries watched over 3'500 hours of coverage totaling 36.1 billion viewing hours while athletes from 80 of the 200 countries participating earned 928 medals. During the recent Salt Lake Olympic Winter Games, 2.1 billion global viewers in 160 countries amassed 13.1 billion viewer hours, proof that the Games provide something for everyone.

    Visa began its Olympic partnership in 1986, and subsequently activated the sponsorship globally in a highly successful fashion through its extensive associative network of more than 21'000 member financial institutions. Using the sponsorship as a platform, Visa has developed a number of global marketing initiatives designed to increase Visa transactions and brand awareness while providing numerous benefits for Visa cardholders and athletes. Sweepstakes, promotional programs, sports clinics, financial support and other innovative marketing programs have increased awareness of the Olympic Games and helped spread their message of excellence and fair play.

    Additionally, over 21 million Visa cards bearing the Olympic rings have been issued by Visa members worldwide, providing unique benefits to Visa cardholders.

    One innovative marketing initiative is Visa's support of the host cities. Visa was the first worldwide Olympic partner to mount a destination marketing campaign linked to an Olympic Games host city and area market. Beginning with the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, Visa has created partnerships with state and local tourism associations to increase travel and business to the host cities. For the Sydney Olympic Games, partnerships developed in 1996 generated more than US$ 40 million in incremental marketing value over a four year period.

    Working with the Salt Lake Convention and Visitor's Bureau (SLCVB) at the Salt Lake Olympic Winter Games, Visa saw its volume in Salt Lake City and its environs increase 30 percent during the Games, adding more than US$ 40 million to Visa merchants in and around Salt Lake City. The SLCVB's reservations center reported that overall, 55% of reservations made were made on Visa cards, up from 46% in 2001 and 41% in 2000.

    Over the past 16 years, Visa has been the number one payment system worldwide rising from 137 million cards in 1986 to more than one billion cards today. In 1986, Visa's global volume had reached almost US$ 111 billion. Today it tops US$ 2.3 trillion. Much of this growth is attributed by Visa to its Olympic sponsorship.

    With millions of acceptance locations worldwide and hundreds of millions of cardholders, Visa is uniquely positioned to provide great value to the Olympic movement and deliver the message of the Olympic Games around the world.

    For additional information on Visa's Olympic Sponsorship, contact Michael Sherman at +1/650-432-3923 in San Francisco, Roz Barder at +44/207-795-5336 in London, or Donald Cheung in Hong Kong at +852/2842-2320.

    PHOTOGRAPHY:

    For photos of this event, go to http://www.gettyimages.com and select "news and sports."

    About Visa

    Visa is the world's leading payment brand. Visa-branded cards generate more than US$ 2.3 trillion in annual volume and are accepted at more than 29 million physical locations around the world, including more than 800'000 ATMs. The Visa organization plays a pivotal role in developing innovative payment products and technologies to benefit its 21'000 member financial institutions and their cardholders. Visa is a leader in Internet based payments and is pioneering the creation of u-commerce, or universal commerce - the ability to conduct commerce anywhere, anytime, and any way. For more information, visit http://www.corporate.visa.com.

ots Originaltext: Visa International
Internet: www.newsaktuell.ch

Contact:
Visa International
Michael Sherman
Phone    +1/650-483-2641 (US)
mailto: sherman@visa.com

Visa EU
Roz Barder
Phone    +44/207-795-5336 (London)
mailto: barderr@visa.com



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