Visa Olympic sponsorship breaks records

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SYDNEY--Visa International says it has "reaped a surfeit of benefits and goodwill from the Sydney 2000 Olympics," breaking all records set at previous Olympic Games.

Visa achieved new highs in its 14-year Olympic Games' sponsorship, with record volumes of card payments of nearly $14 million at Olympic venues from 294,610 transactions in 17 days. Additionally, more than 50,000 withdrawals were made at the 22 Olympic cash machines totaling $4.6 million.

Visa says it received extensive brand exposure, media coverage and hospitality opportunities. The company has been planning its Sydney Games strategy for the past four years.

Tom Shepard, senior VP-global partnership marketing and sponsorship, says the Games created a major impact for the international payment system brand.

"For 17 days, Sydney and Australia have kept the world enthralled with flawless execution and thrilling sports activity. At Visa, we look for innovative ways to evolve the utilization of the Games ... As a result ... global volume is up and brand awareness is higher than ever," he says.

Visa has been aggressively promoting Sydney and Australia to a worldwide audience using the "Australia Prefers Visa" platform over the past three years.

Overseas Visa cardholder spending in Australia grew 23% year on year to a record $1.55 billion in 1999 -- an impressive rebound from the Asian economic crisis.

Copyright October 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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