Is Visa’s Team 2012 Olympics tie-up with News international really such a good idea?

Well it’s no doubt worth lots of money to someone or other (the media broker presumably) but card giant Visa must have a few worries about its decision to team with News International for exclusive plugging rights for its sponsorship and ‘presenting partner’ status (whatever that may be) for Team 2012, the British Olympics team.

News International CEO Rebekah Brooks says the deal will allow its papers (Sun, News of the World, The Times and Sunday Times) to “throw our full support behind the team and give our readers the inside track.”

And the inside track may be a worry to Visa.

It’s more than likely that a scandal or three will emerge from the 1200 or so British athletes cooped up in the Olympic village and almost a certainty that some of the fixers and power brokers surrounding the team will allow their eagerness to turn a buck to challenge their Corinthian instincts.

What would the papers’ journalists do in such circumstances? How restrictive is the Visa deal and, indeed, the corporate wishes of their masters?

It’s not just the tabloids either, the Sunday Times has majored heavily on exposing the wrongdoings of sporting bureaucrats in recent years, most notably Sepp Blatter and the footballing FIFA crew but also athletic big wigs, most notably over their sometimes ambivalent attitude to the use of drugs.

Then there is the rather more mundane issue of News International’s pay walls. If this deal involves fuelling exclusive information about the British team to NI, will the British public take kindly to being asked to pay for it every time they try to open a web page?

You can see the temptation to use NI of course, it’s far and away the biggest British newspaper publisher. But that’s another story.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.