Visa extends sponsorship of Olympic athletes until 2021

30 Mar 2020

By: Sport Industry Group

Visa has extended its sponsorship of Olympic athletes until 2021 after the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 was postponed.

The Games were due to take place between 24th July and 9th August, but the IOC and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee decided to postpone the Games until no later than the summer of 2021.

But Visa has told its Team Visa athletes - of which there are 96 across 27 sports including the likes of Megan Rapinoe, Simone Biles, Adam Peaty and Lucy Bronze - that they will be given the option of extending their sponsorship terms with the company until after the Games take place next year. 

“We elected to stand behind our roster of Team Visa athletes and make sure they knew affirmatively we were planning to do so and that we were going to offer to extend our relationship with them into 2021,” Chris Curtin, Visa’s chief brand and innovation marketing officer, said to The Associated Press.

"They're all dealing with how do they maintain their training schedules, discipline and focus at the same time they're dealing with what's happening with their families and their loved ones. One thing that we wanted to do as Visa was to take one potential point of ambiguity and maybe concern off their plates, because there should be none.”

“I'm crossing fingers for all sorts of reasons, well beyond just the games coming back, that it reflects a reinvigorated marketplace and a reinvigorated sense of humanity and a renewed kind of enthusiasm about life. We have always been very bullish that this is going to be a special and really important Olympics. But because of COVID-19 I think that's now ramped up 10 times.”

The IOC has already received support from a number of its main partners over its decision to postpone the Games, but Visa’s move is thought to be the first concrete extension by an Olympic partner.

The rescheduled 2021 dates for the Games have now been confirmed by the IOC.