NEW YORK, NY — Urban Challenge, the nationally acclaimed adventure racing series is proud to welcome Verizon Wireless, the country's leading wireless carrier, as its 2004 title sponsor.
Verizon Wireless represents the ideal marketing collaborator for the urban adventure series as it heads into year three. "With its unsurpassed network, reliable support, and creative technologies, Verizon Wireless is the perfect complement to Urban Challenge," says race creator, Kevin McCarthy. "This collaboration will take the adventure to a whole new level in 2004, making this a very exciting year for both us and the throngs of Urban Challenge enthusiasts who will participate throughout the country."
Verizon Wireless Vice President-Marketing, Bill Stone sees the collaboration with Urban Challenge as the perfect opportunity to showcase the company's trademark technology, network reliability and ease-of-use in a fun and unique way. "Urban Challenge is a unique opportunity that allows us to reach consumers with a fun, participative activity that extends the Verizon Wireless experience beyond voice to data," Stone said. "This event is tailor- made for wireless because today's youth have grown up with wireless it is an intrinsic part of their lives. It is how they communicate and how they have fun."
The 2004 Verizon Wireless-Urban Challenge will kick off a summer long, 20-city tour of the United States on May 29th in St. Louis, MO with the sponsorship extending to launching an additional, inaugural tour of 20 college campuses to be staged throughout the spring and fall.
Although the fundamentals of the much-loved event will remain the same, Verizon Wireless services will enhance the experience by consolidating different technologies crucial to winning into one, lightweight, easy-to-use handset.
On race day, up to 300, 2-person teams will hit the road to decipher a series of difficult clues which will lead them to twelve off-the-beaten path locations throughout their city that they must find and photograph themselves at the location before racing back to the finish line.
In 2004, each team's quest will be powered by the VX6000 from LG Mobile Phones and backed by Verizon Wireless. The top-of-the-line wireless handset with an embedded camera features the Verizon Wireless' GET PIX, picture messaging service, which requires just a few easy clicks to take and send photos; and TXT Messaging, two-way text messaging service. Both services are key to participants' ability to accomplish the goal of the Urban Challenge.
The adventure begins with a 30-question lightening trivia round to establish each team's order of departure from the local headquarters. Aided by an often elaborate support network of friends and family that keep in touch via cell phone and TXT Messaging, teams strategize the fastest way to each checkpoint, either on foot or by relying on public transportation, all the while keeping their eyes peeled for the elusive "Skip Man," a picture of whom will allow them to skip any one checkpoint.
The first 10 teams to cross the finish line with the correct pictures in the correct order qualify for a chance to win the $50,000 grand prize at the Verizon Wireless Urban Challenge National Championships which will be held this coming November in a soon-to-be-announced city.
"Urban Challenge forces teams to react quickly to information in a way that demands clear communication, skillful strategizing, and teamwork," says McCarthy. "Verizon Wireless evens the playing field by giving every team access to the dependable service available in a handset that is intuitively easy-to-use, allowing more teams a better shot at winning."
Verizon Wireless service also gives race organizers the ability to communicate with all the teams simultaneously in real time, allowing them to add exciting new features to the race, including broadcasting clues about the Skip Man's constantly changing location, text messaging teasers, and using the technology for tie-breakers and giveaways.
McCarthy, a Phoenix-based entrepreneur, developed Urban Challenge from a game that he created for his teenage daughter's birthday before taking it on the road in 2001.
"We're constantly having to shake things up in the race to keep one step ahead of the very resourceful men and women who play Urban Challenge," he says. "Verizon Wireless goes hand-in-hand with that evolution by opening up a world of possibilities that enable us to take the event to a whole new level of frantic, infectious fun."
About Verizon WirelessVerizon Wireless is the nation's leading provider of wireless communications. The company has the largest nationwide wireless voice and data network and 37.5 million customers. Headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at www.verizonwireless.com. To receive broadcast-quality video footage of Verizon Wireless operations, log onto www.thenewsmarket.com/verizonwireless.####