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THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY's ongoing series on Olymoic sponsors continues today with Visa, the Official Payment Card of the Olympics. Visa's goal is to acquire a high visibility and to enhance their own brand image as well as the image of their member banks. Visa USA Corporate Communications Manager Mike Sherman: "It allows Visa's member banks to tie themselves to the Olympics." Visa research puts their Olympic advertising awareness at 68%. COMPANY: Visa STATUS: Top Worldwide Sponsor ($40M+) CATEGORY: Payment System EXCLUSIVITY: Visa is the only card accepted on site at all the venues of the Olympic games. IN-KINDVisa will provide customer service centers SERVICES: throughout Atlanta for replacement of any lost cards, be it Visa, MasterCard, Amex etc. ATMs on Olympic grounds are provided by a joint partnership of Visa and NationsBank. ON-SITEAt the ACVB visitors center, Visa will have a PRESENCE:wall with an interactive video screen, working with local retailers, they will offer Visa-related discounts. In addition to the Games, Visa has signed on as a sponsor of the city, making them the Official Card of Atlanta. Visa's logo and their distinction as a city sponsor is on all of ACVB's marketing materials as well as on site at Atlanta's convention/meeting centers. USE OF RINGS: All Visa cards issued until the Games will have the rings. Visa will also offer commemorative cards with either pictures of Atlanta Olympic venues or other Olympic sports- related scenes. NEW PROGRAMS: Visa's sponsorship deals include the U.S. Decathlon team, U.S. Ski Team, U.S. Figure Skating, U.S. Gymnastics and Canadian bobsled team. Visa has signed the five living U.S. Olympic decathlete gold medalists as reps. Also, the Visa rewards program will provide a corporate donation to the USOC for every Visa transaction at participating retailers. They have guaranteed the donation of $2.5M to the USOC. The Gold Medal Achievement program targets 5,000 Atlanta merchants. A "secret shopper" working for Visa will award prizes to retailers for the best Visa promotion. NEW PRODUCTS:Visa travel money is being piloted right now at seven banks in the U.S., U.K. and Mexico. Essentially, it is a temporary ATM card that works like an electronic travelers check and could be co-branded with an Olympic program. TV AD TIME:Nothing Olympic-oriented is scheduled for this year. They have bought time on NBC, but not on NBC's O&Os as of yet. According to Sherman, Lillehammer was the 5th consecutive Olympics where Visa experienced "parasite" advertising. As for NationsBank, a Visa member bank and also a top Olympic sponsor, Visa is working closely with them not to dilute each other's programs. TOTAL BUDGET: A large portion of the $40M+ sponsorship was paid to ACOG/ACOP in cash. Any other budget figures were not available. (Source: Mike Sherman, Visa USA).