Illuminating 2021 Olympians

The Tokyo Olympics brings together an untold number of stories of athletes and their struggles, determination and victories. Brian Meyer ’11 is helping bring those stories to light to their fans and to the world.
person standing on balcony overlooking cityscape
Brian Meyer at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Meyer is account director at the creative agency 160over90, the lead marketing agency for Visa’s Olympic and Paralympic athlete sponsorship program, “Team Visa,” which sponsors athletes from all over the world. Meyer helps manage the Team Visa program, working with a team to coordinate the athletes’ media and marketing appearances.

“In the years leading up to the Games, we help to build the strategic marketing plan for the program, conduct research and make recommendations of athletes to partner with, negotiate contracts and then ultimately manage the relationships with the athletes and their agents,” Meyer says.

In the lead up to the Games and throughout the Olympics, all the work comes together as athletes are front and center to the world.

“We manage all of the activations and ways in which Visa presents their athletes; this could include managing creative approvals, appearances (in-person or virtual) and social media posts,” he says.

two people standing over table
Brian Meyer ’11 with gold medal snowboarder Jamie Anderson as she signs her autograph on items at the PyeongChang Olympics

For the Tokyo Olympics, Team Visa includes 102 athletes from around the world, representing 54 countries and 28 sports. The team includes Simone Biles of the U.S., gymnastics; Megan Rapinoe of the U.S., soccer; Katie Ledecky of the U.S., swimming; Oksana Masters of the U.S., para cycling; Gabriel Medina of Brazil, surfing; Mariana Pajon of Colombia, BMX racing; Kanoa Igarashi of Japan, surfing; PV Sindhu of India, badminton; and Sky Brown of Great Britain, skateboarding.

Meyer, who graduated with a sport management degree from Falk College, is in Tokyo for the Games. “Most of the Visa team is based in central Tokyo, in the area known as Marunouchi, near Tokyo Station, which is close to the Visa office,” says Meyer, who took part in the Falk College’s inaugural Olympic Odyssey class and trip, which explores the history of the games and includes a trip to visit Olympic cities.

What’s the best part of working with the Olympians? “Getting to know and develop relationships with athletes from all different countries, sports, backgrounds and cultures, and having the opportunity to hear and help tell their stories,” Meyer says.

two people outdoors in front of Olympic rings
Brian Meyer, right, at the PyeongChang Olympics
Meyer, who worked with athletes for the Rio 2016 games and the PyeongChang 2018 games, is excited to see all of the athletes’ hard work come to fruition. “Getting to see our athletes—with whom we’ve built relationships for years—compete and succeed is always what I look forward to. Because for most of them, they only get a chance to be in the spotlight every four years; it makes it extra special,” he says.

Revisiting a city he came to know after the PyeongChang Olympics will also be a highlight.

“I’m excited to get back to Tokyo to experience the city and culture there,” Meyer says. “I went there for a few days after the PyeongChang Games in 2018 and have been looking forward to returning ever since.”

A Syracuse University News story by Kathleen Haley originally published on Wednesday, July 28, 2021.