FIFA confirmed today that Visa International has become the sixth FIFA Partner with worldwide rights to FIFA's competitions from 2007 to 2014. This sponsorship in the financial services category represents the payment company's most significant foray onto the international stage of football and as such is a ringing endorsement of the sport's immense appeal to both fans and commercial entities.
Visa joins adidas, Coca-Cola, Emirates Airline, Hyundai and Sony in the top tier of the world football governing body's new sponsorship structure that entitles six corporations to the highest level of commercial affiliation with FIFA over an eight-year period. Visa will enjoy core sponsorship rights to all FIFA competitions, including the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ and the 2014 FIFA World Cup™, as well as to FIFA's special events and development initiatives.
"I am pleased to have all six FIFA Partners on board so that we can now focus our attention and energy towards ensuring the staging of world-class football competitions as well as using the power of the sport to tackle some major social issues," said FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter. "Visa has the requisite breadth and social commitment to support us in our endeavours and we look forward to a rewarding partnership."
John Elkins, executive vice president at Visa International, agreed: "With Visa's broad experience and successful sponsorship of major properties such as the Olympic Games and Rugby World Cup, we know first-hand how valuable a global sporting property can be in driving business. South Africa is a key location for Visa and there is great potential for us to work together with FIFA to leave behind a positive legacy following the 2010 event."
The FIFA World Cup™, as the most-watched sports event on Earth, represents a rare global marketing platform that enables companies to reach consumers by tapping into the huge popularity of football. The 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™, for example, marked a new milestone with the most extensive TV coverage to date - broadcasts in 214 countries and territories generated over 73,000 hours of programming (up 76% on 2002).