Visa, FIFA enter World Cup sponsorship deal

April 10, 2006

LONDON -- Visa entered a deal with FIFA on Monday, making the credit card company a global sponsor for the World Cup and other soccer competitions.

The agreement between Visa International and soccer's governing body will start in January and give the company exclusive advertising rights through 2014. The deal reportedly is worth $150 million to $200 million.

Visa will hold global sponsorship rights for the Women's World Cup, the Confederations Cup, the Club World Cup, the World Youth Championship and other FIFA competitions.

"This partnership will allow us to bring our cardholders programs that touch the very core of their passion for the game both globally and locally," Visa International president and chief executive Christopher Rodrigues said.

Visa, also a global sponsor of the Olympics and the 2007 Rugby World Cup, is the fifth company to join FIFA's top tier of sponsors for 2007-14. Coca-Cola, Adidas, Sony and Hyundai are the others, and a sixth sponsor is expected.

In November, Coca-Cola and FIFA extended their partnership in a deal said to be worth about $500 million. It runs through 2022, making the beverage company the only sponsor to commit to FIFA for that long.

MasterCard was a sponsor at the last three World Cups and will be so again at this year's tournament in Germany.

Other FIFA sponsors include Anheuser-Busch, Avaya, Continental, Deutsche Telekom, Emirates, Fujifilm, Gillette, McDonald's, Philips, Toshiba and Yahoo.

The next World Cup will be in South Africa in 2010, with the 2014 championship expected to be in Brazil.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press