SAN FRANCISCO - Visa Inc. announced today the renewal of its partnership with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) through 2012, which includes the 2010 Vancouver Paralympic Winter Games and the 2012 London Paralympic Games.
Visa, the first global sponsor of the IPC and sponsor of four Paralympic Games since 2002, remains the official payment service and only card accepted at all Paralympic Games venues to purchase Paralympic tickets, official Games merchandise, or food and beverages in venues.
As part of the renewal agreement, Visa will retain exclusive marketing and promotional rights within the Payment Services category and activation opportunities for financial institution clients and merchants throughout the world. New benefits include title sponsorship of the Paralympic Hall of Fame and branding opportunities on various IPC media assets including ParalympicSport.TV.
This renewal follows the recent extension of Visa's Olympic Games sponsorship for another eight years - through 2020 - enabling Visa's financial institution clients and merchant partners to continue to build strong relationships with their customers through unique Visa marketing programs.
"At Visa, we are dedicated to the continued support and success of the Paralympic Games, the participating athletes and the entire Paralympic Movement," said Antonio Lucio, Chief Marketing Officer of Visa Inc. "With more than 500 million people worldwide living with a disability, we understand the importance of providing continued support to this community. Through events such as the Paralympic Games, we at Visa are proud to support the values of empowerment and inclusion."
"We are extremely pleased that Visa has extended its partnership with the IPC, helping to raise awareness of the Paralympic Games and the achievements of Paralympic athletes worldwide," said Sir Philip Craven , President of the IPC. "Visa's involvement through technology, expertise, products and personnel is fundamental to the staging of the Paralympic Games and we look forward to a successful relationship in the years ahead."
By engaging in dialogue, raising awareness of existing Visa products and services (e.g., online banking and bill payment, Visa Paralympic website), developing new technologies specifically for the needs of persons with a disability (e.g., voice-activated and Braille ATMs), extending issuance, and creating an affinity with Visa's global network of financial institution clients, Visa provides this global community with greater access and choice.
Athlete Support & Paralympic Hall of Fame
Visa has created a unique global athlete program, Team Visa, to provide long-term support to Paralympic and Olympic hopefuls as they prepare for one of the greatest challenges of their lives: competing at the Paralympic and Olympic Games. Since 1986, Visa has helped athletes achieve their dreams by providing many of them with financial support, financial literacy training and valuable marketing exposure in pursuit of their goals. In the run-up to the 2010 Winter Games, Visa will support selected Paralympic and Olympic athletes, all with the potential to be selected for their National Teams. Paralympic hopefuls that are members of Team Visa Vancouver include: Alexi Salamone, Ice Sledge Hockey (US); Colette Bourgonje, Cross-Country Skiing ( Canada ) and Brian McKeever, Cross-Country Skiing ( Canada ).
Extending its commitment to the athletes, Visa's Paralympic Games sponsorship includes the continuation of the Visa Paralympic Hall of Fame, which was established in 2006 to celebrate the achievements and spirit of Paralympic athletes and their coaches for the betterment of people with a disability as a whole. It is the first and only program of its kind and honors Paralympic athletes and coaches who have demonstrated successful athletic performance, a history of fair play, and participation in community service.
The Visa Paralympic Hall of Fame election and induction ceremonies are held in conjunction with the Summer and Winter Paralympic Games. To date, a total of six Paralympians and two coaches have been inducted into the Hall of Fame in ceremonies in Torino , Italy and Beijing , China . For the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, three inductees - two Paralympians and one coach - will be inducted into the Visa Paralympic Hall of Fame. The sponsorship of the Visa Paralympic Hall of Fame is anchored in its vision of greater worldwide acceptance of people with a disability. Visa helps to facilitate progress toward such acceptance by providing products and services that promote access for the community of people with a disability and by promoting awareness of athletes with a disability. For more information, please visit: http://www.paralympic.org/hof/main.html.
Paralympic Games Sponsorship History
Prior to becoming the first global sponsor of the IPC in 2002, Visa supported of a number of Paralympic sports federations around the world and is a two-time sponsor of the Paralympic Congress. The Nagano 1998 Paralympic Winter Games were the first Paralympic Winter Games that Visa directly supported by providing an international ATM network for visitors and athletes, online customer services for Visa cardholders, and extending merchant acceptance locations within select Paralympic venues.