SOURCE: TEAM Coalition

December 13, 2007 14:11 ET

Chargers Fans Score Big With Designated Drivers

Qualcomm Stadium Boasts 7,000 Designated Drivers, Among Top in League

SAN DIEGO, CA--(Marketwire - December 13, 2007) - The San Diego Chargers 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 Chargers join the Baltimore Ravens, Washington Redskins, Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Detroit Lions in this prestigious ranking to save lives on our nation's highways.

At the Chargers home game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Dec. 16, TEAM Coalition will recognize the Chargers and their fans at a pregame ceremony for their continued effort to make our roadways safe. Representatives of California Highway Patrol (CHP), Anheuser-Busch and Centerplate, the building's concessionaire, will join TEAM at the event.

"We want every game day to be safe and enjoyable for our fans, both in the Stadium and as they travel home after the games," said Chargers Chief Operating Officer Jim Steeg. "We're proud that so many of our fans have chosen to demonstrate responsible behavior."

Through the Anheuser-Busch Good Sport program, nearly 7,000 Chargers fans promised to refrain from drinking and be the designated drivers to get their friends and family home safely from the games played at Qualcomm Stadium this season. TEAM Coalition has been aggressively promoting the designated-driver program 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.

"Tying 'Responsibility Has Its Rewards' to our season-long 'Good Sport' program makes everyone a winner," said Carol Clark, vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility for Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc. "We're pleased to work with TEAM, the San Diego Chargers and the National Football League to recognize Chargers fans who look out for each other and make a designated driver part of their game plan. When it comes to preventing drunk driving, we're all part of the team."

"We work closely with our clients to ensure fans make responsible decisions when it comes to alcohol," said Centerplate President & CEO Janet L. Steinmayer. "The designated driver program is an important component of the alcohol management program at Qualcomm Stadium."

During the 2006 NFL season, more than 100,000 football fans planned ahead and made 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 Chargers fan will be selected by TEAM Coalition as the Chargers Designated Driver of the season. If the Chargers make it all the way to the Super Bowl®, that fan will join them at Super Bowl XLII® which will be played on February 3, 2008 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona. In addition, one designated driver from an NFL team that does not play in the Super Bowl® will be chosen at random to attend the 2006 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.

Recognition of the Chargers fans' commitment to the designated driver program coincides with the Department of Transportation's national enforcement crackdown on drunk drivers called Drunk Driving: Over the Limit. Under Arrest.

"We want to congratulate the Chargers and their fans and remind everyone that true football Fans Don't Let Fans Drive Drunk," said Chris Murphy, director of the California Office of Traffic Safety. "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."

California Highway Patrol (CHP) assistant chief, Bob Clark, said, "We are extremely proud to be in partnership with the San Diego Chargers, Anheuser-Busch and Centerplate. CHP has always been committed to removing the impaired driver from our highways. Nearly 1/3 of all fatal traffic collisions involve driving under the influence. More than half of the vehicle occupants killed were not wearing their seat belt. We know this program is educational and it saves lives."

Fortunately, football fans join millions of other Americans in doing "the ride thing." According to the 2007 Designated Driver poll conducted by Nielsen Media Research, 154 million Americans 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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