NEW YORK - As part of an expanded music sponsorship portfolio, Verizon Communications is touring the country this summer as the presenting and title telecommunications sponsor of the SFX-produced *NSYNC 2001 POPODYSSEY Summer Tour.
The popular group's 35-city, 44-concert tour kicked off May 23 in Jacksonville, Fla., and concludes Aug. 24 in Jackson, Miss. The tour is in support of the group's new album, ''Celebrity,'' in stores July 24.
Many of the tour's shows take place in Verizon's key markets where the company is offering its advanced telecommunications services through its local telephone companies, Verizon Wireless or Verizon Long Distance.
''We're breaking the mold with this sponsorship,'' said Janet Keeler, Verizon senior vice president for Brand Management and Marketing Services. ''The *NSYNC 2001 POPODYSSEY Summer Tour has offered Verizon a wonderful marketing alliance opportunity and platform for building our brand. The group is active, energetic and attracts a broad cross section of customers, both geographically and demographically. We expect that the tour will be a major media attraction, which will put the Verizon name front and center across the country.''
The sponsorship will feature Verizon's telecommunications services, principally those offered by Verizon Wireless and Verizon Long Distance.
As tour sponsor, Verizon will have a visible presence at each of the concerts, with banners, information booths, logo insertion on Jumbotron screens, announcements at each of the venues and advertising in the show programs. In addition, Verizon and Verizon Wireless will be able to use *NSYNC concert footage for upcoming television commercials. Tour-related promotions and radio contests also will be held in tour cities.
''This summer's *NSYNC 2001 POPODYSSEY Summer Tour, produced by SFX, is a fitting, strategic sponsorship opportunity for Verizon,'' said Paula Balzer, chief marketing officer for SFX. ''By leveraging the power of live entertainment, we will be able to connect Verizon directly with its customers at the shows and through myriad marketing initiatives featuring *NSYNC.''
The sponsorship is one of Verizon's first efforts to promote its telecommunications products and services to young adults nationwide.
''This generation is a very mobile group of young people,'' said John Stratton, Verizon Wireless vice president and chief marketing officer. ''As they head off to college, first jobs or any number of activities that take them away from their parents' homes, they stay in touch via their wireless phones. The members of *NSYNC epitomize the lifestyle of this type of consumer. They're mobile, their wireless phones are a necessity for managing a busy lifestyle, and they expect reliable, quality products and services.''
''While *NSYNC's main audience is the market-savvy, young-adult segment,'' Keeler said, ''the group also is appealing to other audiences because it provides good quality entertainment in a wholesome environment. And the performers themselves take an interest in their communities. These are the qualities that Verizon stands for and endorses.''
''Verizon Long Distance is thrilled to bring this mega-event to our customers and *NSYNC fans across the country,'' said Maura Breen, president of Verizon Long Distance. ''This sponsorship is a great opportunity to reach a growing segment of long-distance users who enjoy everything from our calling cards, to our innovative calling plans and products like SmartTouch sm.''
As an added promotion, Verizon Long Distance is sponsoring an *NSYNC Sweepstakes drawing for residential customers. The winner will be transported with three friends to Washington, D.C. for the Aug. 13 show where they'll be able to attend a special ''sound check'' party and much more. All current residential Verizon Long Distance customers are entered automatically into the contest. Customers get an additional entry for every long-distance call made using Verizon Long Distance between June 3 and July 14. Complete details about the sweepstakes and what the winner can look forward to are available at www.verizonld.com/nsync/
Also, beginning June 16, fans can enter the Verizon Wireless *NSYNC 2001 POPODYSSEY Tour sweepstakes to win two tickets to see the *NSYNC concert of their choice. Just in time for the June 22 concert in Cleveland, Ohio, and continuing through the tour, Verizon Wireless will randomly select 10 winners to receive two of the hottest tickets in town. To ''join in'' the Verizon Wireless fun, fans should register at www.verizonwireless.com, or the sweepstakes web site, www.vzwnsync.com, beginning June 16. Winners will be selected weekly and notified by e-mail.
Verizon's sponsorship of the *NSYNC 2001 POPODYSSEY Summer Tour is part of the company's broadened music sponsorship program that includes the Verizon Music Festival and the Soul Beach Music Festival. ''With a nationwide presence, a new corporate identity and diverse customer base, we want to expand our involvement in music for our customers,'' said Keeler. ''We've learned from past sponsorships that music is a good place for us to 'meet' our customers. It allows us to present a different side of Verizon, one that demonstrates a link for quality entertainment, in a pleasant setting and apart from the traditional business customer relationship.''
The members of *NSYNC are Joey Fatone, Chris Kirkpatrick, Justin Timberlake, Lance Bass and JC Chasez. With two albums having reached diamond status by selling more than 10 million copies each, the group hopes to do the same with the July release of its album ''Celebrity.'' Jive Records released the first single, ''POP,'' on May 15.
Verizon Long Distance is the nation's fourth-largest long-distance provider with more than 5 million customers. The company offers innovative and simple national and international long-distance calling plans customized for consumers or businesses. More information about Verizon Long Distance is available at www.verizonld.com
Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with more than 27 million wireless voice and data customers. The coast-to-coast wireless provider was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD), including Bell Atlantic Mobile, AirTouch Cellular, GTE Wireless and PrimeCo Personal Communications. Verizon Wireless has a footprint covering more than 90 percent of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 96 of the top 100 U.S. markets. The company, headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, is 40,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more information about the company on the Web at www.verizonwireless.com
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 112 million access line equivalents and 27 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with approximately 260,000 employees and more than $65 billion in annual revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com
SFX, a subsidiary of Clear Channel Communications (NYSE: CCU), is the world's largest producer and marketer of live entertainment events. SFX currently owns, operates and/or exclusively books 135 live entertainment venues, including 44 amphitheaters in the U.S. Each year, more than 62 million people attend approximately 26,000 events promoted and/or produced by SFX, including: Live music events; Broadway and touring Broadway shows; family entertainment shows; and specialized sports and motor sports shows. SFX also provides strategic sports marketing sales and consulting services to professional and college teams, leagues, venues and properties.
In addition, SFX owns a leading full-service talent management company, specializing in the representation of athletes and broadcasters. SFX is headquartered in New York City. More information is available at www.sfx.com
The *NSYNC 2001 POPODYSSEY Summer Tour Dates
May 31, June 1
East Rutherford, NJ
Ralph Wilson Stadium
Trans World Dome
St. Louis, MO
War Memorial Stadium
Litle Rock, AR
Kansas City, MO
Mile High Stadium (Old)
San Diego, CA
Bank One Ballpark
Network Associates Coliseum
Sam Boyd Stadium
Las Vegas, NV
Raymond James Stadium
San Antonio, TX
New Orleans, LA
Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium
For additional information visit: www.sfx.com