Visa Teams With Wieden for Soccer Sponsorship

Agency Wins $200 Million World Cup Account After Court Case Delays Review

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SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- Visa International has named independent Wieden & Kennedy, London, as the agency for its World Cup sponsorship, with billings estimated at $200 million.
With the World Cup sponsorship, Visa, which sponsors the Olympic Games until 2012, has tied up two of the leading global sporting events.
With the World Cup sponsorship, Visa, which sponsors the Olympic Games until 2012, has tied up two of the leading global sporting events.

The World Cup sponsorship had been kicking around in the courts after a falling out between soccer's international governing body, FIFA, and 16-year sponsor MasterCard.

In a $90 million lawsuit, which recently was dismissed, MasterCard said it had a draft agreement with FIFA when the organization signed with Visa. Visa has an eight-year deal worth $170 million.

Two top events
With the World Cup sponsorship, Visa, which sponsors the Olympic Games until 2012, has tied up two of the leading global sporting events.

Visa's advertising will cover a wide range of FIFA games, including the 2010 and 2014 World Cups and the Women's World Cups. Wieden also will handle FIFA's program for players under 20.

The announcement follows the dismissal of MasterCard's lawsuit in U.S. District Court in New York on June 21. Visa is the sixth and final premier World Cup sponsor. The others are Adidas, Sony, Hyundai, Coca-Cola and Emirates Airline.

Review postponed
Visa began its review last year but suspended it due to the court case. Other shops in the pitch included Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi, London; 180 Amsterdam; and WPP Group's RKCR/Y&R. The final shootout was between Wieden and RKCR, Y&R's London office.

A Visa spokeswoman said TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, Calif., remains its agency for the Visa brand. TBWA was in the initial FIFA pitch. Visa spent $418 million in measured media in 2006 in the U.S. and $67 million in the first three months of 2007.

The new soccer campaign will not use Visa's tagline "Life Takes Visa," said Neil Christie, managing director of Wieden's London office, a shop with about 75 employees whose other clients include Nike, Honda and Electronic Arts.
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