Should ‘Silver Charm’ win Belmont Stakes this Saturday, VISA said yesterday it is prepared to run a special commercial to celebrate the first ‘Triple Crown’ victory in 19 years. This is the first time VISA will have produced a broadcast spot to instantly congratulate a winner of a sporting event. VISA, the sole sponsor of the ‘Triple Crown’ thoroughbred races of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes, also increased the bonus for winning all three elite races, by an additional $1.5 million for a total of $5 million. According to the Nielsen Ratings, television viewership is up 20% due to VISA’s aggressive sponsorship and the increased purse. Since April VISA has committed about 50% of its TV ad budget to promoting the ‘Triple Crown’.
In anticipation of a Visa Triple Crown Challenge winner, Visa is producing new advertisements to celebrate the first Triple Crown victory in 19 years. The commercial, which represents the first time Visa has produced a broadcast spot to instantly congratulate a winner of a sporting event, would air immediately after the race on ABC and would be followed by a national print ad on Monday, June 9.
These advertisements follow a commercial that was produced within 48 hours of Silver Charm’s victory at the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Visa Triple Crown Challenge. That commercial, which debuted during the NBA conference finals on May 24, showcases Silver Charm’s victories at the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness.
In another move to underscore the significance of the Visa Triple Crown Challenge, Visa last week raised the stakes of Saturday’s race by increasing the bonus for winning all three elite races, by an additional $1.5 million to a total of $5 million.
“We are excited to be part of this special time in the sport’s history and are pleased to demonstrate our continued commitment to thoroughbred racing,” said Carl Pascarella, President and CEO of Visa U.S.A. “With such high stakes, most Americans — from first-time viewers to die-hard racing enthusiasts — will be poised to watch Silver Charm compete for the sport’s greatest prize and the largest purse of all time,” he continued.
“Our partnership with Visa is based on the mutuality of objectives and the ability and commitment of each partner to bring real value to the other,” said Tom Meeker, President of Triple Crown Productions and Churchill Downs. “We look forward to a truly exciting Belmont Stakes and the heightened awareness of this sport brought about by Visa’s enthusiastic support.”
Visa immediately revised its “It’s Everywhere You Want to Be” Triple Crown commercial after Silver Charm captured the Preakness. The first sponsor to air a national commercial for Thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown, Visa committed approximately 50 percent of its television advertisement schedule to the Triple Crown ad from April to June. The Visa commercials and the $5 million bonus are credited with helping to drive viewership and a renewed interest in the series. Nielsen ratings for the Preakness Stakes alone were up 20 percent this year over last.
“Visa’s commitment to thoroughbred racing has helped build excitement for the entire Triple Crown this year,” said Steve Bornstein, President, ABC Sports/ESPN. “Visa’s advertising campaign and $5 million bonus have elevated the sport to the next level. ABC Sports looks forward to continuing enhancing the public interest in the sport.”
Visa became the title sponsor of the Triple Crown Challenge last year with a five-year commitment to the sport. The partnership enables Visa to “own” a sport and not compete with other national sponsors. As part of its sponsorship agreement, Visa is the only payment card accepted at entrance gates to the Triple Crown races and is designated as the preferred card of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. On-track signage has given Visa extensive exposure during the televised races. In addition, Visa has developed a Triple Crown Challenge website for racing enthusiasts interested in the latest information on horses, jockeys, trainers and track conditions.
Visa is the world’s largest consumer payment system. It plays a pivotal role in advancing new payment products and technologies to benefit its 20,700 member financial institutions, their cardholders, and the global economy. Visa’s 561 million cards are accepted at 13 million locations worldwide. The Visa Global ATM Network consists of more than 342,000 ATMs in 113 countries. For more information on Visa, visit Visa Expo at www.visa.com