Nearly 22,000 fans in the stands at Gillette Stadium pledged to be designated drivers and ensure a safe ride home from the game for friends and family in 2012. The Patriots again finished the season in the top spot among all NFL teams after first doing so in 2010 and then breaking a single-season NFL record for pledges with 23,000 in 2011.
Starting in 2009, the New England Patriots, the New England Revolution, Gillette Stadium, the Ensign John R. Elliott HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers and TEAM Coalition came together to educate fans about the importance of using a designated driver, buckling up and demonstrating positive fan behavior. The message is simple: “Be a HERO, Be a Designated Driver.”
“We’re proud that Patriots fans recognize the monumental importance of safe and responsible behavior both inside the stadium and on the roads,” said Jim Nolan, New England Patriots Senior Vice President of Operations, Finance and Administration. “This year we expanded the program to include many of the restaurants at Patriot Place, and we hope to grow the program in future seasons.”
“The HERO Campaign is proud to be associated with the New England Patriots, Gillette Stadium and our partners in promoting the use of designated drivers in memory of our son John,” said Bill Elliott, Chairman of the HERO Campaign. “A designated driver is truly a hero by keeping others safe on the way home after the game. Our goal is to register a million designated drivers nationwide and make the use of designated drivers as automatic as wearing a seatbelt.”
Patriots fans who pledged and demonstrated responsible behavior at any Patriots game throughout the season received a complimentary soft drink, a “Be a Hero” wristband, pro shop discounts and a chance to be selected as the Designated Driver for the Game. Each week, the Designated Driver for the Game from the previous home game was recognized with a pregame visit on the field.
At the December 30 season finale against the Miami Dolphins, the Patriots recognized Richard S. Corsini of Townsend, Mass. as the Patriots’ Designated Driver of the Year. Corsini was joined for a pregame ceremony on the Gillette Stadium field by Patriots Chairman & CEO Robert Kraft, Nolan, Dick Farley of NFL Security, Chief Ed O’Leary of the Foxborough Police, Lieutenant Jeff Stuart of the Massachusetts State Police, Patriot Place General Manager Brian Earley, Morgan Holleran of TEAM Coalition and representatives from Be a Hero Campaign, as well as many of the owners and managers of participating Patriot Place restaurants.
If the Patriots advance to Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans, Corsini will attend the game as the grand prize winner of the sweepstakes component of the Responsibility Has Its Rewards campaign, a league-wide effort supporting designated-driver programs with all 32 NFL teams.
“Fans who pledge to be designated drivers are critical to the success of the Responsibility Has Its Rewards campaign,” said Jill Pepper, executive director of TEAM Coalition. “Teamwork is exactly what this campaign is all about. Through this program, we are demonstrating that when everyone – including the fans – takes responsibility, everyone wins.”
The designated-driver program is just one component of the fan behavior initiatives offered by the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Other components include:
- A Fan Code of Conduct posted in and around Gillette Stadium
- Text messaging (text “CONDUCT” message to 78247) that empowers fans to anonymously report disruptive behavior to security
- Certification of over 1,700 employees across every department operating in Gillette Stadium in effective alcohol management training
- Alcohol service policies, including ID checks for all fans, no more than two alcoholic beverages per person per transaction and alcohol cut-off 15 minutes into the third quarter
About TEAM Coalition
TEAM Coalition is an alliance of professional and collegiate sports, entertainment facilities, concessionaires, stadium service providers, the beer industry, distillers, broadcasters, governmental traffic safety experts, and others working together to promote responsible drinking and positive fan behavior at sports and entertainment facilities. TEAM’s members and supporters include the National Football League, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, NASCAR, the National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, National Collegiate Athletic Association, ARAMARK, Delaware North Companies Sportservice, Ovations Food Services, Beer Institute, National Beer Wholesalers Association, Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors, Brown-Forman, Live Nation, National Association of Broadcasters, Contemporary Services Corporation, International Association of Venue Managers, Stadium Managers Association and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. www.teamcoalition.org
About The HERO Campaign
The HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers was launched by the Elliott family in August of 2000 in memory of John’s tragic death at the hands of a drunken driver. The purpose of the HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers® is to promote the use of sober designated drivers to prevent drunken driving tragedies throughout our country. In cooperation with schools, businesses, law enforcement agencies, and other community-based organizations, we ask you to help keep drunk drivers off our highways. www.herocampaign.org