By David Owen

london 2012_ticket_30-10-12October 30 - Leading Olympic sponsor Visa has added its voice to calls for paperless ticketing.

Colin Grannell, a senior Europe-based executive with Visa, the payment company that is a longstanding member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC)'s TOP worldwide sponsorship programme, says he would like to see "the ticket infrastructure be developed electronically rather than paper tickets".

He told iSportConnect: "It does remove things, such as ticket touts, from the equation far easier if [we] are using electronics not only for payments, but also for information and data."

Grannell's comments come at a time when the IOC is known to be assessing ticketing policy in the wake of a Summer Games which, although exceptionally well attended, was nonetheless affected, like other recent Olympics, by empty seats at venues.

Jacques Rogge, the IOC President, told journalists at his closing London 2012 media conference in August that the IOC was "definitely going to review the ticketing policy at the Games".

Masato Mizuno, chief executive of the Tokyo bid that is battling Istanbul and Madrid for the right to stage the 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, has also hinted that a Tokyo Games might do away with paper tickets, saying: "We must create some way of not having any empty seats."

Colin Grannell_30-10-12Colin Grannell is keen to see a paperless ticketing operation at future Olympic and Paralympic Games

In a wide-ranging interview, Grannell also commented on sponsorship, saying: "Typically, I think there are far too many sponsors of the Olympic Games.

"Most consumers can only recall a handful of names so we have to make sure that we have fantastic pull-through.

"That's the way it is."

Looking ahead, Grannell said Visa already had "project teams clearly focused" on the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.

"We will measure how many of our members we managed to engage to do things with us and in which key markets," he said.

For London 2012, Visa had the "largest-ever response from our members around Europe and the rest of the world, who wanted to run promotions and send their customers to these Games.

"We had the biggest engagements of any property in the history of Visa," Grannell said.

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