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Visa commits to Olympic athletes for 2021 Games

The Olympic rings are seen outside the New National Stadium in Tokyo (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Global payments specialists Visa has provided the Olympic athletes it sponsors with assurance that contracts can be extended in line with the delay of Tokyo 2020.

The brand has sponsorship deals with many prominent athletes, including American gymnast Simone Biles, 400m world record-holder David Rudisha and British swimmer Adam Peaty.

Chris Curtin, chief brand and innovation marketing officer at Visa, told the Associated Press: “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 is also a central sponsor of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, in a deal which runs until 2032. Speaking last week, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said that he expects agreements for IOC TOP sponsors that were to expire this year after the Tokyo Games to roll over into the rescheduled 2021 event.

The Tokyo Olympics had been scheduled to take place between July 24 to August 9.

The Covid-19 pandemic prompted an agreement between Bach and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to delay the Games until 2021.

In the wake of the postponement, several prominent sponsors of the Olympics reaffirmed their commitment to the Games, namely Procter & Gamble, Intel, Airbnb, Coca-Cola and Samsung Electronics, with several highlighting the need for a ‘safe’ Olympics.

The delay to such a large-scale event is likely to have significant repercussions for the rest of the sporting calendar in 2021.

Several events, such as the 2021 Aiba World Boxing Championships in New Delhi, the EuroHockey Nations Championship in the Netherlands in August, and the European Basketball Championship in September were due to feature Olympic athletes and so could now be moved.