FOXBOROUGH, Mass (August 5, 2009) - New England Patriots fans will be among those highlighted in a new TEAM public service announcement (PSA) that will promote the importance of using a designated driver. The PSA will be recorded prior to the upcoming training camp event for Season Ticket Holders and Foxborough residents on Thursday, August 6 at Gillette Stadium. The New England Patriots, the New England Revolution, Gillette Stadium, the HERO Campaign and TEAM Coalition are partnering 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."
"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 Season Ticket Holders can begin registering for the program on Thursday by taking the "Responsibility Has Its Rewards (RHIR)" pledge to:
- Always have a designated driver
- Never drive drunk
- Always buckle up
The PSA produced from the taping will air throughout the season on Gillette Stadium's video boards and on local television broadcasts. In addition, the video clips will be e-mailed to participants so their moment of fame can be shared with family and friends.
Patriots fans who pledge and demonstrate responsible behavior at any Patriots game throughout the season receive a complimentary soft drink 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 and three guests will be recognized with a pregame ceremony on the field.
At the end of the season, one fan will be selected as the Patriots Designated Driver for the Season That fan will be recognized as an honorary team captain for the regular season home finale against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Dec. 27, 2009 and will be joined by the Patriots' captains at the 50-yard line for the pregame coin toss. The Patriots Designated Driver for the Season will also receive an autographed Patriots helmet and, if the Patriots qualify for the playoffs and advance to Super Bowl XLIV at Dolphin Stadium in Miami, Fla. on Feb. 7, 2010, the honoree will also attend the championship game. At Gillette Stadium this season, Responsibility Has Its Rewards.
"Giving fans the opportunity to be the voice of the Responsibility Has Its Rewards campaign personalizes the 'Fans Don't Let Fans Drive Drunk' message," said Jill Pepper, executive director of TEAM Coalition. "Teamwork is exactly what this campaign is all about, and through this program we are demonstrating that when everyone - including the fans - takes responsibility, everyone wins."
The designated-driver program is a key component of the responsibility initiatives that TEAM Coalition -- an alliance of professional and collegiate sports, entertainment facilities, stadium service providers, concessionaires, the beer industry, broadcasters, governmental traffic safety experts and others working together to promote responsible drinking and positive fan behavior at sports facilities -- helps coordinate with professional sports leagues including the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), Major League Soccer (MLS), the National Basketball Association (NBA), and the National Hockey League (NHL).
"It's our goal to ensure that fans act responsibly when it comes to alcohol," said Gillette Stadium Executive Director of Food and Beverage David Wheeler. "This designated-driver program will play a big role in alcohol management at Gillette Stadium."
The designated-driver program is one of several components of the alcohol management plan at Gillette Stadium. In addition, alcohol management training for the venue's employees gives them the skills to observe fan behavior and serve alcoholic beverages in compliance with local laws and in a manner designed to encourage responsible consumption. Alcohol service policies are enforced to ensure only fans of legal drinking age are served alcoholic beverages. These combined efforts represent an alcohol management plan in which the fans, arena employees, corporate sponsors and team representatives all are working toward common goals - promoting responsible alcohol consumption, positive fan behavior and traffic safety.
"Patriots games should always be a fun and safe environment for our fans, whether inside the stadium or driving home afterward," said Jim Nolan, New England Patriots Vice President of Operations. "We hope our fans will embrace this program throughout the season because safety is a priority."
Thursday, season ticket holders will have an opportunity to pledge to be designated drivers and become eligible for a chance to win big, because responsibility really does have its rewards.
About TEAM Coalition
TEAM Coalition is an alliance of professional and collegiate sports, entertainment facilities, concessionaires, stadium service providers, the beer industry, 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, the National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, National Collegiate Athletic Association, ARAMARK, Delaware North Companies Sportservice, Beer Institute, MillerCoors, Live Nation, National Association of Broadcasters, Contemporary Services Corporation, International Association of Assembly Managers, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. www.teamcoalition.org http://www.teamcoalition.org>.