Mark's Musings

A miscellany of thoughts and opinions from an unimportant small town politician and bit-part web developer

Olympic Visa Boycott


If you want to go to the London Olympics in 2012, you won’t be able to buy tickets using any credit or debit card other than Visa. While you’re there, you won’t be able to use any other card to pay for food, souvenirs, etc.

The reason for this is that Visa is one of the main Olympic sponsors, and has done a deal to exclude other card handlers from anything related to the Olympics.

In my opinion, this is unfair, unreasonable and entirely unjustifiable. It has also been condemned by Which? Magazine as well as many other media and sporting bodies.

There’s nothing wrong with commercial sponsorship of sporting events whereby the sponsor gets exposure of their brand in return for the organiser getting money. But sponsors should not be able to dictate what the fans can and cannot do. Whether it’s the credit card you use, the clothes you wear or the food you eat, the sponsors have no moral right to override your choice.

I’ve never tried to create a Facebook campaign before, but this seems to be to be a subject that’s ripe for one. So I’ve created a page for the campaign, and this blog post is effectively its launch. What I’m asking people to sign up to is a simple pledge:

During the period of the London Olympics, 27 July – 12 Aug 2012, we will not use our Visa cards. For those two weeks, all our spending will be carried out by other means. Mastercard, Amex, good old fashioned cash – it really doesn’t matter. It may be a bit inconvenient, in some cases it may even cost us more, but we’re going to do it

I have no idea how popular this will be. It might go viral and take off. It might bomb. Even if the campaign gets a lot of attention, I have no idea at all how effective it’s likely to be in affecting Visa. But the worst that can happen is that it has no effect at all. My immediate target is to get the campaign passing around the Twitterati and getting noticed by the media. After that, we’ll see where it goes.