SportsPro talks with Visa’s Kate Johnson

In an exclusive interview with SportsPro, Kate Johnson, Visa’s head of global sponsorship marketing, talks digital disruption, influencer marketing and the evolution of sponsorship. Ahead of SportsPro’s The Brand Conference she outlines the company’s sports strategy and shares her thoughts on the future of sports sponsorship.


As vice president and head of global sponsorship marketing at Visa, Kate Johnson oversees a portfolio of sports partnerships headlined by long-running deals with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), world soccer’s governing body Fifa, and the National Football League (NFL). It is a formidable portfolio of properties and platforms that speaks to the payment services company’s global footprint and aspirations, and one which requires no small amount of resources and creative thinking when it comes to activation and defining a brand message.

For Johnson, a former Olympic rower who won a silver medal representing the USA at the Athens Games of 2004, Visa’s priorities for each of its major sports sponsorships are twofold. On one hand, the company strives to use them to engage and excite an increasingly distracted millennial consumer audience, while on the other it seeks to ensure its investments in sport inform and educate its business and sporting clients on what Visa, the business and the brand, is all about.

To satisfy both objectives, Johnson explains that Visa is constantly on the lookout for new means through which to tell its story in ways that other businesses, brands and consumers can connect with meaningfully. That overriding aim, she says, is a perennial challenge to overcome but it also comes with clear opportunities, particularly in light of new developments in technology and media.

Ahead of SportsPro’s The Brand Conference at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London on 28th September, Johnson outlines the premise of the presentation she has planned for the event, explains how Visa is rising to newfound challenges in the sponsorship space, and shares her thoughts on why the future value of sport itself is up for debate.

To read the interview, click here: