Visa told its global roster of Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls their sponsorships will be extended into 2021 after the Tokyo Games were postponed, providing some financial certainty amid the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The credit card giant’s Team Visa scheme features 96 athletes across 27 sports, including soccer star Megan Rapinoe, gymnast Simone Biles — a quadruple gold medalist at the Rio de Janeiro Games — and two-time defending 800-meter Olympic champion David Rudisha.
The athletes were contacted on Friday to be given the option of extending their sponsorship terms with Visa.
It is the first clear commitment by a major sponsor to extend such sponsorship support after the unprecedented delay to the Olympics by a year was announced last week by the IOC.
“We elected to stand behind our roster of Team Visa athletes and make sure they knew affirmatively we were planning to do so and that we were going to offer to extend our relationship with them into 2021,” Chris Curtin, Visa’s chief brand and innovation marketing officer, told the Associated Press. ‘‘They’re all dealing with how do they maintain their training schedules, discipline and focus at the same time they’re dealing with what’s happening with their families and their loved ones.
One thing that we wanted to do as Visa was to take one potential point of ambiguity and maybe concern off their plates, because there should be none.”
While a spring date for the rescheduled Olympics had been suggested, the signs are now pointing to the IOC using the same slot in 2021 as planned this year when the Summer Games should have started on July 24 in Tokyo.
Boxing cancels Hall of Fame ceremony
The International Boxing Hall of Fame canceled its Hall of Fame weekend in June because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Executive director Ed Brophy said this year’s class will be honored at the induction ceremony in June 2021.
Brophy said combining this year’s class with next year’s into one ceremony will “provide each inductee with the recognition they each so richly deserve.”
The Class of 2020 includes the first female honorees in Barbara Buttrick, Christy Martin, and Lucia Rijker, along with Bernard Hopkins, Juan Manuel Marquez, “Sugar” Shane Mosley, Frank Erne, and Paddy Ryan.
Also selected were promoters Lou DiBella, Kathy Duva and Dan Goossen, and journalists Bernard Fernandez and Thomas Hauser.
The official plaques for the members of the Class of 2020 will be on display at the Hall of Fame beginning in June, Brophy said.
Knicks’ Dolan tests positive for virus
James Dolan, the executive chairman of Madison Square Garden Company and owner of the Knicks, has tested positive for the coronavirus.
The Knicks announced Dolan’s diagnosis Saturday night. It is not clear when he was tested or when he received the diagnosis.
Dolan, 64, is the first US major pro sports owner known to have tested positive. Dolan has been in self-isolation and is experiencing little to no symptoms. He continues to oversee business operations.
Spanish league raises $740,000
The Spanish league said more than $740,000 (665,000 euros) has been raised for the fight against the coronavirus outbreak with the help of athletes and musicians in Spain. The final tally was announced a day after the athletes and musicians took part in a four-hour online global music festival organized by the league to help purchase medical supplies and support fans confined to their homes. Barcelona’s Gerard Piqué, Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos and tennis star Rafael Nadal were among those who participated in the charity event . . . Athletic trainers across the country are changing their routines and joining the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. The National Athletic Trainers Association has partnered with the Go4Ellis platform on an app aimed at helping trainers assist understaffed hospitals. The app was intended to give health care providers a database to look for help nationwide. More than 950 athletic trainers have signed up over the last week.