SOURCE: TEAM Coalition

December 20, 2007 13:14 ET

Bears Fans Score Big With Designated Drivers

Soldier Field Boasts 6,000 Designated Drivers, Among Top in League

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - December 20, 2007) - The Chicago Bears are one of six NFL teams being recognized for their large number of fans pledging to be designated drivers at home games this season, the TEAM Coalition (Techniques for Effective Alcohol Management) announced today. The Bears join the Baltimore Ravens, Washington Redskins, San Diego Chargers, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Detroit Lions in this prestigious ranking to save lives on our nation's highways.

At the Bears home game against the Green Bay Packers, Sunday, Dec. 23, TEAM Coalition will recognize the Bears and their fans at a pre-game ceremony for their continued effort to make our roadways safe. Representatives of the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), the Chicago Police Department, the Illinois Liquor Control Commission, Miller Brewing Company, and Delaware North Companies Sportservice, the building's concessionaire and club and suite food service provider, will join TEAM at the event.

"We want the game-day experience to continue to be safe and enjoyable for Bears fans while they enjoy Soldier Field and as they travel home after the games," said Ted Phillips, president and CEO of the Chicago Bears. "We're proud of our fans' commitment to responsible behavior and thrilled to reward them with such a great opportunity."

Through the Miller Live Responsibly program, nearly 6,000 Bears fans promised to refrain from drinking and be the designated drivers to get their friends and family home safely from Soldier Field this season. TEAM Coalition has been aggressively promoting designated-driver programs like Live Responsibly at NFL stadiums since 2003 with a league-wide campaign called Responsibility Has Its Rewards. The campaign encourages fans to participate in designated-driver programs supported by beer and concessionaire companies at every NFL stadium nationwide.

"Miller Brewing Company has worked closely with professional sports teams like the Bears for more than two decades to encourage responsible consumption at sporting events, and to help prevent underage access to alcohol and drunk driving," said Kim Marotta, director of Social Responsibility for Miller Brewing Company. "We see our support of the Bears designated driver program as an important complement to our overall responsibility initiatives."

"Sobriety is no accident," said Sportservice president Rick Abramson. "That's why we work closely with our clients to strongly promote and advocate that fans make responsible decisions when it comes to alcohol and to take appropriate action, including declining to serve them, when they do not. The designated driver program is an important component of the alcohol management program at Soldier Field."

During the 2006 NFL season, more than 100,000 football fans planned ahead and make the responsible, winning play by pledging to be designated drivers. This season, the league-wide total is estimated to be 110,000.

"This promotion is an opportunity for the NFL to show support for the teams' efforts in coordination with the concessionaire, brewer, and beer wholesaler to encourage responsible fan behavior. And for the fans, it's a great reminder that responsibility really does have its rewards," said Jill Pepper, executive director of the TEAM Coalition.

One lucky Bears fan will be selected by TEAM Coalition as the Bears' Designated Driver of the Season. That fan will be entered in a drawing to win a trip to the 2008 NFL Pro Bowl® in Honolulu, Hawaii. The winner of that prize will be selected by TEAM Coalition through a random drawing after the NFC and AFC Champions are determined. And the Designated Drivers of the Season from the two teams competing in the Super Bowl® will join their favorite teams at Super Bowl XLII® which will be played on February 3, 2008 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona.

Recognition of the Bears fans' commitment to the designated driver program coincides with IDOT's enforcement crackdown on drunk drivers called You Drink and Drive, You Lose.

"We want to congratulate the Bears and their fans and remind everyone that true football Fans Don't Let Fans Drive Drunk," said Michael Stout, director of the Division of Highway Safety for the Illinois Department of Transportation. "If you plan on consuming alcohol whether you are at the game or watching from a house party or sports bar, pass your keys to a sober, designated driver before the party begins. We commend all the Responsibility Has Its Rewards campaign partners for creating such a fantastic incentive for fans who make the responsible decision to designate a driver."

"I commend the Bears on their efforts to keep drunk drivers off the roads," says Illinois Liquor Control Commission Acting Director Lainie Krozel. "Gov. Blagojevich and the State of Illinois are committed to reducing impaired-driving fatalities, and the Liquor Commission plays an important role in this responsibility effort by offering increased alcohol server training opportunities, ensuring patrons are not over-served, and educating our youth on the dangers of drinking and driving. By working together as a team, we can prevent needless deaths from occurring on our roadways."

Sergeant Scott Slavin, Traffic Section Chicago Police Department, added, "The Chicago Police Department would like to thank the Bears for joining us and our traffic safety partners with this initiative. The Chicago Police Department has a Zero Tolerance for Drunk Driving! Designate a driver or we will designate one for you! No Excuses, no exceptions!"

Fortunately, football fans join millions of other Americans who already know how to "do the ride thing." According to the 2007 Designated Driver poll conducted by Nielsen Media Research, 154 million of the American adult population have been a designated driver or have been driven home by one.

TEAM Coalition -- an alliance of professional and collegiate sports, entertainment facilities, concessionaries, stadium service providers, the beer industry, broadcasters, traffic safety experts and others working together to promote responsible drinking and positive fan behavior at sports and entertainment facilities.

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