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Capital One to offer awards to top college sports programs


capone1Capital One Financial Corp will recognize the top U.S. men’s and women’s college athletics programsĀ in a move to generate fan interest and draw attention to the credit card issuer and bank.

The company, which became a top-tier NCAA athletics sponsor in March, announced the launch of the Capital One Cup, a new program rewarding NCAA Division I athletics programs for their cumulative performance across multiple men’s and women’s sports.

Starting with the 2010-2011 academic year, Capital One, the third-largest U.S. issuer of Visa-branded credit cards and the fifth-largest issuer of MasterCard-branded credit cards, will recognize the top men’s and women’s athletics programs at the largest colleges with $200,000 each to fund graduate-level scholarships for student-athletes.

“We looked at this and felt that the overall best athletic program in the country was actually written about in magazines, but there really wasn’t a great, celebrated, heavily marketed award,” Capital One Chief Marketing Officer Bill McDonald told Reuters in a telephone interview.