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