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Volume 26 No. 26
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Visa Reaping Benefits Of U.S. Soccer Deal After USWNT's Win

Rapinoe was one of 19 women's soccer players added to Visa's roster of endorsers ahead of the World Cup
Photo: VISA

The USWNT came home from France with their second straight World Cup title, and Visa is also counting itself a winner after a successful tournament for the brand, which began a five-year partnership with U.S. Soccer in May. Visa, the official payment services partner of FIFA, last year expanded its soccer portfolio to include a stronger presence in the women’s game, and ahead of this World Cup made sure to throw its full support behind the U.S. team. Visa added USWNT F Megan Rapinoe to its roster of athlete endorsers, and Chief Brand & Innovation Marketing Officer Chris Curtin believes her demeanor and influence has been a perfect fit for the company. “Our decisions about with whom we partner, I think it does come down to a lot of character-driven analysis,” he said. “And I think that’s in part why she became such a star on this team this summer.” Visa was the presenting sponsor of the Player of the Match awards throughout the World Cup, which Curtin said gave the company an opportunity to meet different athletes and celebrate other personalities it has had a relationship with in the past. Overall, Curtin is proud of all the activation Visa did in France, labeling it a “massive success across the board.” Curtin called it “electrifying” to see country-wide support for the team, adding, “How many other events are there like this that pull people together? Anything that can connect people is really, really valuable.”

LOOKING AHEAD: While Visa execs are still trickling back from France, the brand is always thinking about the future. Curtin said while his team met daily during the tournament, it was not only going over its current World Cup strategy, but also already preparing for the Tokyo Games next summer. Even farther ahead, the next men’s World Cup is three years away, but the USMNT’s journey to qualifying for Qatar will provide a good platform for Visa to highlight its USSF partnership as the team looks to rebound from not qualifying for last year’s tournament. Curtin is hopeful the USWNT’s success will translate to better results for the USMNT, too. “The women’s team had a sense of confidence in themselves that I’m hoping will become contagious and we’ll see it in the men’s team,” he said.