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Chargers honored for commitment to fan safety

Posted Jan 26, 2010

The Chargers were recently recognized for operating one of the NFL’s top-five most successful designated driver programs. The 2009 season marked the third-consecutive year in which the Chargers have been honored by TEAM Coalition.

For the third-consecutive year, the Chargers’ designated driver program has been recognized as one of the most successful among the 32 NFL teams.

During the 2009 season, a record 10,000-plus fans at Qualcomm Stadium pledged to be designated drivers and ensure a safe ride home from the game for friends and family.

As part of a long-standing partnership, the Chargers, Qualcomm Stadium, Centerplate, Anheuser-Busch, California Highway Patrol and TEAM Coalition came together to educate fans about the importance of using a designated driver, buckling up and demonstrating positive fan behavior.

The message is simple: “Be a Good Sport.” The response from Chargers fans was massive.

“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,” Chargers Chief Operating Officer Jim Steeg said. “We’re proud that so many of our fans have chosen to demonstrate responsible behavior.”

Chargers fans who pledged and demonstrated responsible behavior at Chargers home games received a complimentary soft drink and a chance to be selected as the Designated Driver for the Game. Each week, the Designated Driver for the Game was recognized on the stadium video board and received a special prize from the Chargers.

At the Chargers’ regular-season finale against the Washington Redskins, TEAM Coalition Executive Director Jill Pepper presented the award to Steeg; Scott Marshall, general manager for Centerplate at Qualcomm Stadium; Chief Gary Dominguez of the California Highway Patrol and Brooke Montgomery from Anheuser-Busch. All accepted on behalf of the Chargers fans.

“Fans who pledge to be designated drivers are critical to the success of the Responsibility Has Its Rewards campaign,” Pepper said. “Teamwork is exactly what this campaign is all about, and through this program we are demonstrating that when everyone – including the fans – takes responsibility, everyone wins.”

“There’s no excuse for operating a motor vehicle after you’ve been drinking,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “Not only is it against the law, you’re putting your life and the lives of fellow motorists at risk every time you do. The best way to avoid becoming a statistic or spending the night in jail is to be responsible and make a plan ahead of time; designate a non-drinking driver.”

“Tying Responsibility Has Its Rewards to our season-long Good Sport program makes for a winning combination,” said Kathy Casso, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility for Anheuser-Busch. “We’re pleased to work with the Chargers, TEAM and the other program partners to recognize 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.”

“As a part of our commitment to creating safe and enjoyable fan experiences, Centerplate takes responsible alcohol management very seriously,” said George Wooten, executive vice president of Operations for Centerplate. “We’re proud to be a part of Responsibility Has Its Rewards, joining the TEAM Coalition to empower fans to make smarter, safer choices both inside and outside the Stadium.”

The designated-driver program is just one component of the fan behavior initiatives offered by the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Other components include:

· A Fan Code of Conduct posted in and around Qualcomm Stadium

· Text messaging (text “BOLTSFAN” location issue to 41513) empowers fans to report disruptive behavior to security

· Certification of nearly 1,100 employees across every organization operating in Qualcomm Stadium in effective alcohol management training

· Alcohol service policies including ID checks for all fans, no more than two alcoholic beverages per person per transaction in the first half and only one alcoholic beverage per person in the third quarter, no alcohol service in the seating area (fans must go to the concession stands on the concourse to purchase alcohol) and alcohol cut-off at the end of the third quarter

TEAM Coalition is an alliance of professional and collegiate sports, entertainment facilities, concessionaires, stadium service providers, 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.

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