NEW YORK - This Major League Soccer season, don't be surprised if fans are jumping at the chance to be a designated driver at soccer games. That's because fans know there are big rewards for those who pledge to be the sober designated driver, wear their safety belts in their automobiles and safely drive their friends and family. The season-long promotion launched with MLS First Kick in stadiums nationwide.
In a promotion coordinated by the TEAM Coalition and Major League Soccer, fans who pledge to be designated drivers at any match enter a drawing to be selected as that club's designated driver for the season. The selected designated drivers for the two clubs that advance to MLS Cup™ 2005 will each attend the championship game to be played in Frisco, TX. One designated driver for the season from a Club that does not compete in MLS Cup™ 2005 will be chosen at random to attend the 2006 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game.
Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that young males 21-34 years-old are most likely to be involved in automobile crashes, drive impaired and less likely to wear safety belts. Market research also shows that this demographic is a core audience for sporting and entertainment programming and events.
The Responsibility Has Its Rewards promotion was created to help ensure fan safety, one of the League's top priorities. "One of Major League Soccer's top priorities is the safety of our fans, and our partnership with TEAM Coalition is an excellent program that provides a positive message," said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. "We're pleased to work with TEAM Coalition to promote responsible habits."
"Safety is the Bush Administration's top transportation priority." said NHTSA Administrator Jeffrey W. Runge, M.D. "I commend Major League Soccer for extending the reach of our lifesaving messages and reminding fans everywhere to designate a sober driver and to buckle up - every trip, every time."
"This program underscores the fact that promoting responsible drinking behavior is not just the responsibility of one group. By working together, soccer, TEAM, the concessionaires, and breweries can implement successful awareness programs," added Jeff Becker, President, Beer Institute.
"Along with Major League Soccer, our goal is to keep soccer fans safe while enjoying one of America's fastest growing professional sports. This promotion reminds fans that responsibility really does have its rewards," said Jill Pepper, Executive Director of the TEAM Coalition.
TEAM Coalition - an alliance of professional and collegiate sports, entertainment facilities, concessionaires, 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 - has coordinated this league-wide promotion in support of existing designated driver programs designed to reward fans for responsible behavior.
The contest began in all stadiums with MLS First Kick. Official contest rules are available at www.teamcoalition.org.