The Olympics is such a major investment that very few sponsors are going to walk away because of postponement by a year in a time of global crisis.

That said it is one less thing to worry about when they come out and confirm.

Two years ago Visa extended their partnership with the games through Paris 2024, Los Angeles 2028 and on to wherever the Games are hosted in 2032.

Yesterday they confirmed that the separate individual partnerships they have with 96 athletes around the world will be extended to cover the extra year that Tokyo 2020 will now run over.

There have been expressions of support at this level but this is the first concrete extension and was warmly welcomed by athletes ranging from British swimmer Adam Peaty to US Gymnastics star Simone Biles.

“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 offering to extend our relationship with them,” said Chris Curtin, Visa’s Chief Brand and Innovation Marketing Officer speaking to the Associated Press.

“They are dealing with how to maintain their training schedules, discipline and focus at the same time as dealing with what is happening around their families and loved ones. We wanted 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.”

The two Irish athletes on the Team Visa programme are Gary and Paul O’Donovan.





Image credit: Visa