Visa Sponsorship Marketing

By Victoria Chang, George Foster
2004 | Case No. SPM5
Visa was the world’s leading payment brand and its vision was to be “The World’s Best Way to Pay.” Visa attributed an important part of its success to high profile sponsorships such as its Olympic Games sponsorship. Visa also sponsored numerous events such as the Rugby World Cup, Best of Broadway, the Toronto Film Festival, NASCAR, the NFL, the Visa Triple Crown, and the Paralympics, and has an international alliance with The Walt Disney Company. In the fall of 2002, Visa announced its decision to extend its Olympic Games sponsorship through 2012. Its original sponsorship deal was structured through the 2004 games in Athens., but the sponsorship was extended because the partnership had become increasingly successful overtime. Thomas Shepard, Visa’s executive vice president of international marketing, partnerships, and sponsorship, played a key role in convincing Visa’s six regional boards and its international board to allow Visa to extend its Olympics and Paralympics sponsorship. In the summer of 2003, Shepard and his team gathered at Visa’s international headquarters located in San Mateo, California, to reflect on the impact and lessons of its past sponsorship activities. Specifically, they planned to discuss the current corporate strategy and through this strategy address the refinement the existing sponsorship strategy. This resulted in a direction which emphasized greater involvement in the field of entertainment and as an outgrowth of the strategy, selecting and working with new partners such as The Walt Disney Company (2002); how to evaluate the effectiveness of Visa’s existing sponsorships; and how to apply lessons from its existing and past sponsorships to current and future sponsorships and partnerships.
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