Print Page Close Window

ESPN Gives Fans VIP Access to Sports' Most Cherished Events Through New ESPN Total Access Visa Card

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 18, 2006--Have you ever dreamed of gaining VIP access to some of sports' best events? Have you ever wished you could rub elbows with athletes at star-studded parties? Whether it's an all-access VIP ticket to attend the most-watched annual football game or being treated like a celebrity as you walk the red carpet at the ESPY Awards Show, ESPN gives fans the opportunity to live out their sports fantasies.

Beginning September 1, fans will have the opportunity to sign up for the ESPN Total Access Visa card -- the most comprehensive affinity credit card for sports fans ever. The card allows fans to earn rewards tied to their enthusiasm for sports, and provides unprecedented access to a wide range of sporting events and VIP experiences.

"The ESPN Total Access Visa card offers unparalleled rewards for fans who are hoping to get closer to their favorite sports and gain insiders' access to sporting events," said Rick Alessandri, senior vice president, ESPN Consumer Products. "And fans can enjoy this card without having to give up the traditional rewards programs that they are accustomed to, like airline miles and gift cards, because this card offers them that, too."

The ESPN Total Access Visa card, issued by Washington Mutual (NYSE:WM), gives fans the opportunity to:

-- Earn sports merchandise and collectibles as well as traditional travel, dining and retail rewards.

-- Get unprecedented VIP and game-day access. Through the card's Total Access Rewards Program, earn insider access to an unprecedented range of sports experiences, from local games to the most sought after sporting events around, including championships and all-star games for football, baseball, basketball, golf, tennis, racing, poker and horse-racing.

-- Plan the ultimate sports get-away. With the card's ESPN Sports Concierge service, cardholders can plan travel to their favorite sports events, and earn and redeem points to attend the ESPY Awards, World Series of Poker, Build Their Own Sports Fantasy, and more.

Fans will receive five points for every dollar spent on ESPN purchases and one point for every dollar spent anywhere else.

Other Total Access Rewards Program benefits include:

-- Access to ESPN The Magazine's NEXT Big Weekend, pre-draft parties, and a behind-the-scenes look at ESPN from the studios in Bristol, Conn.

-- VIP Access to sports parties and after-parties, including ESPN The Magazine's NEXT Big Weekend Feb. 2-5 in Miami, Fla.

-- VIP Access to the X Games

-- Gift certificates to ESPN Zone

-- Instruction at ESPN Golf Schools

-- The opportunity to host your own private party at ESPN Zone

-- The opportunity to drive a NASCAR on a championship track

In addition to offering a best-in-class rewards program, the ESPN Total Access Visa Card has competitive rates and no annual fee.

"The ESPN Total Access Visa Card brings us together with the number one sports multimedia property in the world to provide customers an affinity card and rewards program featuring unprecedented "insider" access to sporting events, VIP experiences and more," said Warren Wilcox, senior vice president of Marketing for Washington Mutual Card Services. "By bringing this card to market, we are strengthening our leadership position in the broad middle market."

To celebrate the launch of the ESPN Total Visa card, fans may sign up for the card and be automatically entered into the ESPN Total Access Visa Card "Make Your Picks" Sweepstakes by going to www.ESPNMakeYourPicks.com. Fans with a Mobile ESPN phone can simply text "TA" to be entered.

One grand prize winner will choose his or her top five ESPN prizes, including travel, lodging and transportation, featuring total access to all the chosen experiences. Some of the prizes include VIP access to the 2007 ESPY Awards and ESPN-hosted parties; Winter X Games in Aspen; $1000 shopping spree on ESPNShop.com; and more.

Fans may enter the sweepstakes from Sept. 14, 2006 to Jan. 31, 2007. Winners will be notified in late February.

To learn more about or sign up for the ESPN Total Access Visa card, which features no annual fee and a low APR, fans may log on to www.espnrewardsvisa.com.

About ESPN

ESPN, Inc. is the world's leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment company featuring a portfolio of over 50 multimedia sports assets. The company is comprised of seven domestic television networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPNEWS, ESPN Deportes, ESPNU, ESPN Today), ESPN and ESPN2 HD simulcast services, ESPN Regional Television, ESPN International (networks, syndication, radio, web sites), ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Enterprises, ESPN Zones (sports-themed restaurants), and other growing new businesses including ESPN360 (Broadband), Mobile ESPN, ESPN on Demand, ESPN Interactive and ESPN PPV. Based in Bristol, Ct., ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc., which is an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. The Hearst Corporation holds a 20 percent interest in ESPN.

About Washington Mutual

Washington Mutual, through its subsidiaries, is one of the nation's leading consumer and small business banks. At June 30, 2006, Washington Mutual and its subsidiaries had assets of $350.70 billion. The company has a history dating back to 1889 and its subsidiary banks currently operate more than 2,600 consumer and small business banking stores throughout the nation. Washington Mutual's press releases are available at http://newsroom.wamu.com.

About Visa USA

Visa USA is the nation's leading payment brand and largest payment system, enabling banks to provide their consumers and business customers with a wide variety of payment alternatives tailored to meet their evolving needs. Visa USA is committed to increasing the choice, convenience, acceptance and security of Visa payments for all stakeholders in the payment system -- members, cardholders and merchants. Through its 13,432 member financial institutions, more than 510 million Visa-branded cards have been issued to cardholders in the United States. Last year, U.S.-based financial institutions relied on Visa's processing system, VisaNet, to facilitate $1.6 trillion in transactions with unparalleled reliability. Worldwide, cardholders in more than 150 countries carry more than 1 billion Visa-branded cards, accounting for more than $3 trillion in annual transaction volume. Visa offers a trusted, reliable and convenient way to access and mobilize financial resources -- anytime, anywhere, anyway.

MULTIMEDIA AVAILABLE:
http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=5230337

CONTACT: Washington Mutual
Keith Givens, 415-278-4426

SOURCE: Washington Mutual