SOURCE: TEAM Coalition

December 20, 2007 13:13 ET

Lions Fans Score Big With Designated Drivers

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

DETROIT, MI--(Marketwire - December 20, 2007) - The Detroit Lions 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 Lions join the Baltimore Ravens, Washington Redskins, Chicago Bears, San Diego Chargers, and Jacksonville Jaguars in this prestigious ranking to save lives on our nation's highways.

At the Lions home game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, Dec. 23, fans will learn of their accomplishment when the announcement is made on the Ford Field video board. Joining TEAM Coalition to congratulate the Detroit Lions fans' commitment to making our roadways safe by participating in the designated-driver program are the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, Anheuser-Busch and Levy Restaurants.

"We want the game-day experience to continue to be safe and enjoyable for Lions fans while they enjoy Ford Field and as they travel home after the games," said Tom Lewand, executive vice president & chief operating officer for the Detroit Lions. "We're proud of our fans' commitment to responsible behavior and thrilled to reward them with such a great opportunity."

Through the Anheuser-Busch Good Sport program, nearly 6,000 Lions fans promised to refrain from drinking and be the designated driver to get their friends and family home safely from the games played at Ford Field 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 Detroit Lions and the National Football League to recognize Lions 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're pleased to see such great fan involvement with the program," said Robert Wood regional vice president with Levy Restaurants. "Collectively, Levy Restaurants together with TEAM and the Detroit Lions will continue to focus on responsible alcohol service and a fan friendly environment."

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 Lions fan will be selected by TEAM Coalition as the Lions 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 Lions 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 Lions and their fans and remind everyone that true football Fans Don't Let Fans Drive Drunk," said Michael Prince, director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning. "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."

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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