By Mike Rowbottom

News_international_2January 28 - News International has signed a partnership deal to promote Britain's 2012 Olympians and Paralympians which will enable The Sun, News of the World, The Times and The Sunday Times to carry the title of Official Newspaper of Team 2012.

Rebekah Brooks, chief executive of News International, said the link-up with Team 2012 Ltd and its presenting partner Visa Europe would give readers "unrivalled access" to the 1,200 athletes from 47 Olympic and Paralympic events currently training for next year's London Games.

Over the next 18 months News International will undertake a multi-channel campaign featuring Team 2012 to engage their audiences to get behind each of the athletes, their sports and their personal stories as they prepare for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

"This unique partnership gives our newspapers unrivalled access to the Team 2012 athletes and means we will be able to throw our full support behind the team and give our readers the inside track," said Brooks.

"We are delighted to be working with Visa Europe to generate maximum public support for the Olympic and Paralympic Games."

Phil Lane, chairman of Team 2012, said: "News International's online and offline portfolio will deliver widespread national awareness of Team 2012 and enlist the nation's support in our campaign to raise vital funds to help provide our talented and dedicated athletes with the best possible chance of glory at London 2012."

Mariano Dima, chief marketing officer at Visa Europe, added: "Visa celebrates 25 years of sponsoring the Olympic Games this year and in the run-up to 2012 we are committed to enabling consumers, members and retailers to connect with the Olympic and Paralympic Games in innovative ways.

"This wide-reaching partnership with News International enables us to engage with a large audience across a variety of channels.

"This is part of our integrated marketing programme which we will roll out in the next few months across the UK and Europe, using our sponsorship to drive brand preference and card usage."

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