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GP of Arizona picks up sponsor
PHOENIX – Officials from Grand Prix Arizona and First Data Independent Sales® Fresno by Cardservice International, a nationwide credit card processor, announced Wednesday that the Grand Prix Arizona planned for Nov. 30 - Dec. 2, 2007 in downtown Phoenix will now be called the First Data Grand Prix Arizona as part of a multi-year, multi-city partnership between the two entities. 

First Data Grand Prix Arizona owners Bradley Yonover and Dale Jensen said the partnership agreement with First Data Independent Sales® Fresno by Cardservice International is for a minimum of three years.  It includes the title sponsorship for the Vegas Grand Prix Fueled by Visa and other partnership opportunities with subsidiaries of their company, DDB Ventures.

“Today marks the second phase or our growing partnership with First Data Independent Sales® Fresno by Cardservice International,” said Yonover, co-owner of the First Data Grand Prix Arizona and the Vegas Grand Prix Fueled by Visa. “This is a relationship that is bringing cutting-edge technology to the entertainment business, and we’re excited to be at the forefront of this trend.”

Through the agreement, First Data Independent Sales® Fresno by Cardservice International will bring a new, revolutionary technology featuring the convenience of prepaid or stored value cards to the First Data Grand Prix Arizona, a first for ticketing and vending at this type of event. 

In place of traditional paper tickets, First Data has worked in conjunction with the grand prix to implement a ticketing system for the event that will utilize prepaid Visa cards to access the venue.  Prepaid Visa cards will also be available for purchase at the event to make it easier for consumers to buy goods from event vendors.  More than 200 VeriFone Vx 610 wireless payment systems will be deployed among vendors at the event to accept card payments. 

“First Data Independent Sales® Fresno by Cardservice International is looking at innovative avenues to incorporate and expand our processing capabilities,” said Richard Ramirez, president and chief executive officer of First Data Independent Sales® Fresno by Cardservice International.  “At the First Data Grand Prix Arizona, we’re able to offer consumers and vendors the ability to process a transaction instantaneously and wirelessly, and demonstrate that First Data is at the forefront of consumer transactions in the next five years.”

Point-of-sale systems such as VeriFone’s Vx 610 portable payment powerhouse enable vendors to utilize wireless wide area networking, or WWAN, and wireless local area networking – known as WLAN and Wi-Fi – to send card transactions over wireless networks.  WWAN utilizes the CDMA and GPRS cellular wireless networks, both of which are widely available in the U.S.  By utilizing the swipe cards within the venue, First Data will showcase their credit card processing capabilities, Ramirez said.  The Vx 610 will enable customer service agents and vendors to operate and process all card transactions wirelessly during the First Data Grand Prix Arizona.

As another first for a motorsports event, Earthshift™ ‘07, the “green” portion of the festival weekend, will include the first and only major race to be carbon-neutral through reduced emissions (methanol rather than gasoline) and the purchase of carbon offsets to effectively zero out carbon dioxide emissions generated by this race in the series.  

 “We’re hoping through our ‘green’ Earthshift™ ‘07 efforts that we begin to contribute to a shift in attitude about the environment and the use of resources,” said Jensen, who is a co-owner with Yonover in DDB Ventures, the company that owns the event.  “A perfect example of this is using swipe card technology rather than paper tickets.  Customers then have the option to reuse their swipe card for future events or deposit them in a recycle bin as they leave the venue, which will greatly reduce the waste generated at the event.”

Earthshift™ ‘07, taking place at Chase Field, will showcase eco-shopping, eco-conscious musical talent, eco-fashion, organic food and drink, eco-makeovers, interactive renewable energy, solar, bio-diesel and alternative transportation displays, soy finger-painting, science museum-caliber exhibits, recycled crafts and more.

Tickets for First Data Grand Prix Arizona are scheduled to go on sale May 1.  For event and volunteer information, visit www.grandprixarizona.com.

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