Phoenix, Arizona - January 28, 2008 - Visa Inc., Arizona State Treasurer Dean Martin, the NFL, PLAYERS INC, Cardinals All-Pro Wide Receiver Larry Fitzgerald and NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Adrian Peterson kicked off Super Bowl XLII week today by playing a different type of football - financial football. Together they announced an effort to improve the money management skills of Arizona teenagers by distributing free copies of "Financial Football," an NFL-themed, interactive, money management video game, to every high school in the state.
The centerpiece of Visa's nationwide educational initiative with the NFL and PLAYERS INC, "Financial Football" helps students tackle their financial futures. This computer-based game is accompanied by a classroom curriculum and can also be downloaded for free on cell phones.
Treasurer Martin, Larry Fitzgerald, Adrian Peterson and Visa officials gathered to launch Arizona's new financial literacy campaign today at the Phoenix Convention Center. Fitzgerald and Peterson shared their personal experiences on the importance of money management with students from Alhambra High School. Treasurer Martin, Fitzgerald and Peterson then rolled up their sleeves and coached student teams through a lively game of "Financial Football."
"High school kids need to know how to make smart money management decisions before heading off to college or entering the workforce," said Fitzgerald. "It takes the combined efforts of parents, teachers, and mentors within the community to give teenagers a strong background in personal finance."
"It doesn't matter whether you make minimum wage or millions," added Peterson. "If you don't learn to budget, save, invest and pay bills on time, the consequences can be devastating."
"This financial education initiative provides a winning playbook for students' financial future. This program educates while it entertains students so that they retain these valuable financial lessons." Treasurer Dean Martin continued, "This program is possible because of a partnership between the State Treasurer's Office, Visa and the NFL."
Demonstrating broad-based support for having financial education begin at home and extend to the classroom, a new study released by Visa shows 91% of consumers surveyed believe all high school students should take a financial education class before graduating.
Visa and Treasurer Martin hope "Financial Football" can help Arizona teens do just that. Available online at www.arizona.financialfootball.com, "Financial Football" puts students' fiscal knowledge to the test in an online simulation game environment by combining the structure and rules of the NFL with financial education questions of varying difficulty. To score points, a team needs to answer a series of money management questions correctly. Wrong answers and penalties can cost a team yardage. The team with the highest point total after four quarters wins the game.
Today's Super Bowl event is the thirteenth stop of this year's national educational campaign with Visa, the NFL and PLAYERS INC. Since 2006, Visa has reached agreements with State Treasurers to distribute the "Financial Football" game to nearly 5,000 high schools in the following states: West Virginia, Indiana, Ohio, California, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Wisconsin, Nevada, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine and Vermont.
The online version of "Financial Football" has been downloaded more than 200,000 times and in 2007, "Financial Football" became a free, first-of-its-kind cell phone game. Mobile customers can play the game on their cell phones by texting the word VISA to 24421.
"For over a decade, Visa has been committed to promoting financial literacy and we are proud to have Larry Fitzgerald and Adrian Peterson with us as we assist Treasurer Martin in his efforts to strengthen financial education efforts throughout Arizona," said Michael Rolnick, director, Visa Inc.
"Financial Football" is part of Practical Money Skills for Life (www.practicalmoneyskills.com), a free, award-winning, teacher-tested and teacher-approved financial education program that is available in English, Spanish and Chinese. The program contains three comprehensive sections, complete with money management resources and lesson plans tailored for use at home, in the classroom or at work. It also contains an array of tips to help prepare for life changing financial events, from planning for a baby to saving for college and retirement, as well as a number of other budget calculators and interactive games. Visa also runs What's My Score (www.whatsmyscore.org), a leading higher education consumer awareness program. The website guides college students through the ABC's of a FICO credit score, from factors that can lower a score to ways on improving it, at no charge.
About Visa Inc.
Visa operates the world's largest retail electronic payments network providing processing services and payment product platforms. This includes consumer credit, debit, prepaid and commercial payments, which are offered under the Visa, Visa Electron, Interlink and PLUS brands. Visa enjoys unsurpassed acceptance around the world and Visa/PLUS is one of the world's largest global ATM networks, offering cash access in local currency in more than 170 countries. For more information, visit www.visa.com.