When it comes to high school sports, everyone knows the devotion of New Canaan Rams fans.
So it's not really a surprise that the town's All Sports Booster Club has just become the first high school athletics program in the country to launch an innovative rewards credit card to help support its athletes.
The ePlate Visa Card lights up and let buyers choose the reward that they want at the time of purchase.
"The uniqueness of our card is the technology," said Eric Keshin, chief marketing officer of Dynamics, a Pennsylvania-based company that designs and manufactures innovative payment devices.
The card has two buttons and is almost like a mini computer, Keshin said. Cardholders first assign rewards to the buttons through their smart phones, tablets or computers. When making a purchase, they have to push one of the buttons before swiping the card and they immediately earn that reward. Cardholders can change their reward choices whenever they want.
Keshin, a New Canaan resident who has two children attending the town's high school, said rewards cards like this are common among major sports teams and major college teams. So it was just a matter of time until a high school had one, too, especially because costs have been going up and the need for sophisticated equipment has increased, he said.
"As state funds become shorter and shorter, the athletic clubs have to find a way to raise funds on their own," Keshin said.
Tracey Karl, president of the New Canaan All Sports Booster Club, said she was "very excited" about the card, especially because it won't cost the club anything.
The card, which was launched Nov. 20, will help the club support New Canaan High School teams, such as paying for coaches, providing care for athletes and updating equipment.
"We are thrilled to be the first high school booster club to be part of this unique program," Karl said in a statement. "Now all Rams fans can show off their NC Rams pride every time they use the card, and help support the Rams just by spending what they normally do while pushing the button for the NC Rams."
Keshin said the club could raise roughly $200,000 once it has about 1,000 cardholders.
Some of the rewards are high-end products, he said, including Jet Limo flights, lessons at Skip Barber Racing School and Longaberger baskets.
Besides the rewards, cardholders will earn virtual Ram Horns for every $500 spent. Ram Horns can be exchanged for New Canaan Rams merchandise, such as jackets, hoodies and hats.
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