Madison, Wisconsin — Verizon Wireless (formerly PrimeCo Personal Communications), the largest wireless provider in the U.S., today announced that it will be a major sponsor of University of Wisconsin Women's Athletics, offering financial support for training, equipment, uniforms, travel expenses and other items necessary throughout the 2000-2001 season. The announcement came in conjunction with the official grand opening of the company's newest store in Madison - the first store in the Midwest created using the new Verizon Wireless design.
"On behalf of the women's teams, I'd like to thank Verizon Wireless for contributing to our athletes," said Cheryl Marra, Associate Athletic Director for the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Division of Intercollegiate Athletics. "With the support of such generous corporate citizens as Verizon Wireless, we are able to continue to bring sports fans season after season of exciting competition."
The ceremony, held at the new Verizon Wireless store located at 244 W. Gilman Street (off of State Street), included such guests as Alderman Michael Verveer, local Olympic athlete Casey Fitzrandolph, members of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, a number of Madison area business leaders, and everybody's favorite team mascot, Bucky Badger.
"We're proud to support Wisconsin Women's Athletics because it makes us an integral part of the UW Women's teams, as well as an active member of the Madison community," said Eric Schaefer, General Manager-Wisconsin for Verizon Wireless. "We're honored to be able to contribute, not only because of the excellence associated with UW Women's Athletics, but because the athletes' dedication, determination and constant teamwork are qualities we embrace as a company."
The coaches have embraced Verizon Wireless' sponsorship as well. Head coach for the UW Women's basketball team, Jane Albright, explained, "I don't think we could have picked a better match between our team and the Verizon Wireless team. Both are relatively new, yet have a strong foundation of players who are committed to excellence. It's also refreshing to see a company give something back to these incredible athletes who ask for so little, and provide so much."
Friday's announcement officially kicked-off Verizon Wireless' "Grand Opening of Olympic Proportions." The weekend-long event is dedicated to Wisconsin's athletes, including those who are bound for the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. The dedication was marked on Friday by a monetary contribution to the Olympic Dream Fund, an organization founded to help Wisconsin speed skaters train for Olympic gold. Present to accept the donation was Casey Fitzrandolph, world record-holding speed skater and one of Wisconsin's chances for a medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics.
"It's tremendous to have such support from the Madison community as I and other Olympic athletes train for the gold," said Fitzrandolph. "Our success is based on hard work, and the constant support of companies like Verizon Wireless. I only hope everyone will offer some moral support by sending 'best wishes' to my fellow Wisconsin athletes en route to Sydney by signing the giant card located in the store this weekend!"
Fitzrandolph was referring to the jumbo card that will be featured at the store over the weekend for customers to sign and say "good luck," "best wishes" or "go USA" to Wisconsin's Olympic-bound athletes. Once completed, the card will be shipped off to Sydney and placed on display.
Other highlights of "Verizon Wireless' Grand Opening of Olympic Proportions" this weekend include the opportunity to enter drawings to win a PT Cruiser, a state-of-the-art home theater system, Audiovox tri-mode/web-capable phones, and other great prizes.
Promotions throughout the weekend include a free CD travel case with phone purchase. The festivities will conclude with a free "Closing Ceremonies" Labor Day public picnic on Monday, Sept. 4 from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm. The picnic will include food, refreshments, family activities and more.
The Verizon Wireless Gilman Street store is open Mon.-Fri.: 10 am - 7 pm, Sat.: 10 am - 5 pm, Sun.: Noon - 5 pm. The store's phone number is 608-256-1469.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with more than 25.6 million wireless voice and data customers and nearly 4 million paging customers. The new coast-to-coast wireless provider was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Bell Atlantic Corp. and GTE Corp --now Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) - and Vodafone (LSE:VOD; NYSE:VOD). The new company includes the assets of Bell Atlantic Mobile, AirTouch Cellular, GTE Wireless, PrimeCo Personal Communications and AirTouch Paging. The new company has a footprint covering nearly 90 percent of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 96 of the top 100 U.S. markets. Verizon Wireless, headquartered in New York City and Bedminster, NJ, is 30,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more information about the company in its Media Center on the Web at: http://www.verizonwireless.com/mediacenter.
About the Great Lakes Area
The Great Lakes Area of Verizon Wireless is headquartered in Schaumburg, Illinois. The Great Lakes Area includes the Greater Chicago market and Northern and Central Illinois; the Greater Indianapolis market and most of Indiana; the Greater St. Louis and Cape Girardeau markets of Missouri; the Greater Milwaukee, Green Bay and Madison markets and other areas of Wisconsin; Detroit, and Southeast and Central Michigan markets; and the Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland markets and much of Ohio. The Great Lakes Area serves more than 5.6 million customers and has a potential customer base of 41.2 million.