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Visa extends long-running NFL association

Global payments processor Visa has signed a five-year extension to its partnership with American football league the NFL.

Visa has been a major NFL sponsor since 1995 and it has extended for a new five-year term running through the 2019 season.

Financial terms were not disclosed, although ESPN.com said that the deal marks an increase on the previous five-year cycle, under a deal that was agreed in September 2009.

There was speculation over whether Visa would retain its relationship with the NFL in the wake of a number of controversies to hit the league over the past year. In September, it joined fellow sponsors in criticising the NFL’s handling of the Adrian Peterson child discipline and Ray Rice assault cases.

"We had direct and indirect dialogue, by making public statements, with the league this year," Chris Curtin, chief brand and innovation marketing officer at Visa, told ESPN.com. "We believe they are addressing issues with the seriousness that they deserve, and we have maintained a watchful eye."

Curtin said the partnership has changed over the years from being a straight sponsorship deal, which included rights to the NFL shield, to more of a partnership with other valuable opportunities for exposure.

Visa’s other major sports sponsorship contracts are with football’s Fifa World Cup and the Olympic Games.