Visa International to sponsor 1999 rugby World Cup

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LONDON -- Visa International is to be one of the "elite" sponsors of the fourth Rugby World Cup, to be hosted in Wales in 1999 and played throughout the U.K..

Visa will be the official payment card of the event, which Rugby World Cup Chairman Leo Williams claims is "already one of the largest" in the sporting world.

In turn, RWC 1999 will become the theme for many of Visa International's cardholder and bank promotions during the year, including heavyweight advertising and PR campaigns. Visa also sponsored the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

The decision to invest in the competition in 1999 was made on the basis of its increas ingly worldwide appeal and the global nature of Visa's business. "The tournament gives Visa...an opportunity to promote its brand values to audiences in over 135 countries worldwide," says Orla McGuinness, vice pres ident for sponsorship and promotions at Visa International.

The Rugby World Cup is now broadcast in more than 50 countries, with 3 billion viewers expected to watch in 1999.

Copyright March 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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