Apr 29, 2010 at 05:47 PM
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Visa Ramps Up Around Major Events, but Slims Sponsorship Portfolio

Visa returned strong second quarter results yesterday, reporting a 33 percent increase in earnings and raising its 2010 revenue forecast. During the company's conference call, CEO Joseph Saunders talked openly about the company's sponsorship strategy and the critical role it will play in terms of 2010 results and beyond.

When asked if Visa was "happy" with the particular portfolio of relationships they have right now, Saunders said the ongoing plan is fewer, but bigger deals around global events.

"We actually have reduced the number of sponsorships we have over the last couple of years and our primary focus is on the Olympics, FIFA and the NFL," Saunders said. "Beyond that we don’t have any significant or major sponsorships that we leverage our advertising against in any substantial way, nor do we intend to."

Saunders said that Visa will ramp up activation around its World Cup sponsorship in the coming weeks, which will focus on increasing awareness of the benefits of debit and premium credit products. The goal, he said, will be to drive every day and cross border transactions, particularly in those emerging markets that have an existing passion for soccer.

When asked about marketing in emerging markets, Saunders mentioned that Visa is already signing deals to cooperatively activate with local organizations around the Sochi 2014 Games.

"I signed an agreement with Sharebank while we were at the Olympics and it covered an agreement on how we were going to operate cooperatively at the Winter Olympics in Russia," Saunders said. "Sharebank who has actually traditionally been more of a MasterCard bank than a Visa bank is fully committed to issuing only Visa cards from now through the Winter Olympics."

The world's largest credit and debit card processor is under contract with FIFA through the 2014 World Cup and last year renewed its contract with the IOC to be an official Olympic sponsor through the 2020 games. In 2009, Visa’s processed 62 billion global transactions with a total volume of $4.4 trillion.

source: seekingalpha.com