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Visa Int. Renews Rugby World Cup Partnership

Visa International Renews Rugby World Cup Partnership

2007 Global Event Delivers Both Passion and Exclusive Business Opportunities

Auckland, 29 November 2005 – Visa International and the Rugby World Cup Ltd. (RWCL) Board today announced that Visa, the preeminent payment service in the world, will be the Official Worldwide Partner and official payment service for Rugby World Cup 2007 (RWC 2007) for the fourth time in a decade.

International Rugby Board (IRB) RWC Chairman Dr Syd Millar says, “We are delighted to have Visa back on board. As a leading sponsor of global athletic and cultural events, Visa has shown itself to be imaginative and visionary when activating unique properties such as the Olympic Games and past Rugby World Cups. As the world’s leading payment brand and a global sponsor of RWC 2007, Visa is in a unique position to continue supporting the game of rugby and build interest and passion for the sport. We look forward to working with Visa on this newest and most exciting event in France.”

Visa is usually at the heart of the economies of major events such as World Cup tournaments. UK and Irish-based Visa cardholders alone spent in excess of $NZ42million in New Zealand during the Lions tour in June and July - more than double the amount cardholders had spent in the same months the year before.

Visa has sponsored Rugby World Cup for the past decade beginning with its global sponsorship of RWC 1995 in South Africa, RWC 1999 in Wales and RWC 2003 in Australia. The tournament, staged every four years, is the biggest rugby event in the world with a huge global impact and is a vital source of income for the development of the game worldwide.

“Visa will use the sponsorship to deliver exclusive benefits to its 21,000 member banks and millions of Visa cardholders worldwide during merchant and cardholder promotions,” says Iain Jamieson, Visa International Country Manager New Zealand. “Visa has been longest serving premier sponsor with the unique ability to leverage the sport of rugby to the benefit of its members, cardholders, athletes and spectators all over the world. Our partnership with the RWC 2007 will provide additional value to our constituencies and will ultimately enhance the sport of rugby.”

As the Official Worldwide Partner and official payment service for Rugby World Cup 2007 (RWC 2007), Visa is granted the worldwide rights to use the RWC 2007 marks and designations in promotional tie-ins with participating merchants, in advertising and point-of-sale materials, on packaging and on premium items or materials. It also allows Visa to offer event access and exclusive hospitality to its members, merchants and cardholders.

“Rugby World Cup provides Visa with a major global marketing platform reaching some of our most important markets around the world,” adds Jamieson. “Visa recognised rugby’s great promise when we first sponsored Rugby World Cup 1995. Under the leadership of the IRB it has continued to develop and grow as a valuable property and this growth and fan support and the ability for Visa to market rugby globally are what attracted us to this event.”

The sixth Rugby World Cup will be played in France from 7 September to 20 October 2007. The 48 fixtures are assigned over 12 cities: 10 cities in France - Paris, Marseille, Lyon, St Etienne, Toulouse, Montpellier, Bordeaux, Nantes, Lens and St Denis; Cardiff in Wales (four matches); and Edinburgh in Scotland (two matches).

Like the Olympic Games, which Visa also sponsors, Rugby World Cup is one of the most popular – and fastest growing – global sports in the world today. RWC attracted more than 3.5 billion viewers in 194 countries in 2003, nearly 50% higher than its viewership in 1999. For RWC 2003, revenues generated by broadcasting, sponsorship and licensing reached record levels.

Using its member network, Visa also will reach out to its many global merchant partners in related industries to create opportunities to further build business for its members and their merchants using the RWC 2007 partnership. Retailers will be able to use both online and in-store materials to promote special offers and incentives. Merchants will be able to invite cardholders to participate in point-of-sale promotions that could earn them discounts, gifts, tickets to local RWC 2007 matches, or even a trip to the Finals.

Jamieson concludes, “In 2003, we had RWC promotional programs underway in all major rugby markets from Australia to Argentina and from the United Kingdom to South Africa. Visa member banks worldwide once more will have exclusive opportunities to use RWC 2007 in their Visa marketing, advertising and promotions and provide unique offers to their cardholders and merchants.”

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