Responsibility has rewards for fans

Fans who pledge to be designated drivers at MLS stadiums this season could find themselves handsomely rewarded for their good sense, as the league has joined the TEAM Coalition in offering designated drivers a chance to win a trip to MLS Cup 2005 or the 2006 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game.

At any match throughout the season, MLS fans who pledge to be designated drivers will be entered into a drawing to determine each club's designated driver for the season. The winners from each of the two teams that advance to MLS Cup 2005 will win a trip to watch the game at the Frisco Soccer & Entertainment Center in Frisco, Texas. The winners from the teams that do not play in this year's title game will be entered into a drawing that will select one person to attend the 2006 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game.

The contest, dubbed the Responsibility Has Its Rewards promotion, began on April 2 with MLS First Kick. The MLS audience - and sports audiences in general - are targeted because National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data shows that 21-to-34-year-old males, a core demographic for sports and entertainment events, are also more likely to be involved in automobile crashes and drive impaired and less likely to wear safety belts.

"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."

"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.

The TEAM Coalition is 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.

Jason Halpin is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.