Visa have extended their sponsorship of Olympic athletes until 2021, after this summer’s games in Tokyo were postponed due to the global Coronavirus pandemic.
Covering 96 stars across 27 sports, including American World Cup hero Megan Rapinoe and star gymnast Simone Biles, Visa have told their athletes they will be given the option of extending their sponsorship terms until after the Olympics have taken place in 2021, a welcome boost during these uncertain times.
British swimmer Adam Peaty and UEFA Women’s Player of the Year Lucy Bronze are also part of Team Visa and, among with hundreds of others, will now continue their preparations for next year.
The Games were set to begin on July 24 through until August 9 before the IOC and Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee took the decision this week to postpone the event until the summer of 2021.
“We elected to stand behind our roster of Team Visa athletes and make sure they knew affirmatively we were planning to do so and that we were going to offer to extend our relationship with them into 2021,” Visa’s chief brand and innovation marketing officer Chris Curtin told The Associated Press.
"They're all dealing with how to maintain their training schedules, discipline and focus at the same time they're dealing with what's happening with their families and their loved ones.
“One thing that we wanted to do as Visa was to take one potential point of ambiguity and maybe concern off their plates, because there should be none.”
“I'm crossing fingers for all sorts of reasons, well beyond just the games coming back, that it reflects a reinvigorated marketplace and a reinvigorated sense of humanity and a renewed kind of enthusiasm about life. We have always been very bullish that this is going to be a special and really important Olympics. But because of COVID-19 I think that's now ramped up 10 times.”
A number of partners backed the decision to postpone the Olympics though Visa’s backing with continued sponsorship is said to be the first concrete extension, as reported by Sport Industry Group.
Peaty, who won gold at Rio in 2016, also told The Associated Press that “These are unprecedented times for all of us but having Visa’s support makes these times of adversity quite a bit easier."
The company have already filmed some promotional campaigns with athletes in the build-up to the global event while, more recently, have also started a campaign during the pandemic, promoting hand washing and social distancing.