PARK CITY, UT (Sept. 20) – The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) announced that its longest-standing sponsor Visa, Inc. (NYSE: V) is expanding its relationship with the national governing body for Olympic skiing and snowboarding. Visa, a USSA sponsor since 1986, has signed a seven-year extension through the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games and PyeongChang in 2018. Visa will also support the new Olympic sports of halfpipe and slopestyle skiing through a partnership with the USSA's new U.S. Freeskiing brand.
The partnership will see growth of Visa's role as title sponsor of the Visa U.S. Halfpipe Grand Prix, as well as a major presence in the USSA's consumer merchandising and eCommerce programs. Visa will be a partner with all three USSA brands including the U.S. Ski Team, U.S. Snowboarding and the new U.S. Freeskiing. Visa will also have logo presence on the uniforms of the U.S. Alpine, Freestyle, Cross Country, and Nordic Combined Ski Teams.
The USSA expanded its longstanding U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix series to include halfpipe skiing last season. The Visa U.S. Halfpipe Grand Prix will kickoff the season Dec. 8-10 at Copper Mountain, CO and close the year in March at Mammoth Mountain, CA. The USSA announced its first U.S. Freeskiing Pro Team in June with nine athletes, following the IOC decision to bring halfpipe skiing into the Olympics.
Visa will also have a presence in the Team's new eCommerce platform as the preferred method of payment. The online shop, powered by industry leader TeamFanShop, will debut this fall.
"Visa continues to bring a positive stature to Olympic sports, especially skiing and snowboarding, through a quarter century of leadership," said USSA President and CEO Bill Marolt. "Visa has become an iconic representative of the Olympics and our teams through a longstanding partnership with the Olympics and our own world class athletes."
Visa, an Olympic sponsor through 2020, also sponsors individual USSA athletes including Lindsey Jacobellis, Emily Cook and Ryan St. Onge along with Olympic Champions Julia Mancuso and Seth Wescott.
"Visa is an incredible sponsor," said Mancuso. "I am so proud to be part of Visa's team. The fact that Visa has stood behind the Olympic movement and the U.S. Ski Team for 25 years shows that they really are part of our team."
”For 25 years, we have proudly supported the Olympic Games and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association helping athletes achieve their Olympic dreams,” said Antonio Lucio, Global Chief Marketing, Strategy and Corporate Development Officer of Visa Inc. “We are excited to continue our sponsorship of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association as we continue to invest in sponsorship properties that deliver tangible and proven business building benefits to Visa, its clients and partners.”
Visa’s sponsorship of U.S. Freeskiing is testament to the potential of the new Olympic sport. The increase of terrain parks at resorts worldwide has had a dramatic impact in growing snowsports with record number of recreational customers and related ski equipment sales this past season – much of it attributed to the growth of freeskiing.
"Visa's engagement with our U.S. Freeskiing brand is timely with the growing escalation of that market," said USSA's Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer Andrew Judelson. "This is what kids are doing at resorts and there's great connectivity to our U.S. Freeskiing athletes."