Toronto Blue Jays and Budweiser launch successful DD program - Good Sport - in Canada

Good Sport encourages Blue Jays fans to be designated drivers

TORONTO, April 9, 2012 /CNW/ - Today, Budweiser is launching the sports world's most successful designated driver program in Canada at the Toronto Blue Jays homeopener.  Budweiser Good Sport encourages fans to volunteer as designated drivers to and from the stadium, and helps to increase awareness of fan responsibility in partnership with stadium operators, team owners and concessionaires.

Good Sport partners with teams in Major League Baseball, the National Football League, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League and Major League Soccer and is featured in nearly 100 major league stadiums in the U.S., including 21 MLB teams.

"During the 2011 season, nearly 300,000 fans signed up at Major League Baseball games to be a designated driver as part of the Budweiser Good Sport program," said Charlie Angelakos, Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Labatt Breweries of Canada.  "We expect about 10,000 fans to participate in Toronto.  When you think that there are more than 2,800 alcohol-related vehicle deaths a year in Canada, this initiative alone could help us greatly in the fight against drinking and driving, which remains a major concern for Canadians."

Through highly visible sign-up carts, signage in stadium, and public service announcements, Good Sport educates fans at stadiums about the importance of having a designated driver. Experience has shown that the visibility of Good Sport materials not only increases participation, but also contributes to overall awareness of moderation.  In fact, program participation has grown at about 7 per cent per year since it was introduced. The message of the program, which has been recognized and praised by politicians in many U.S. cities, is simple: "When you're a Good Sport, everybody wins."

"The Toronto Blue Jays are excited to partner with Budweiser in launching the Good Sport program for the first time in Canada. Major League Baseball is committed to responsible fan behaviour both during games and on the drive home," said Paul Beeston, President and CEO of the Toronto Blue Jays and the Rogers Centre. "With approximately 55 per cent of Blue Jays' fans driving to the game, the Good Sport program will certainly make an impact in decreasing potential drinking and driving incidences through fan education."

Awareness resulting from a variety of designated driver and other programs has contributed to a continued and consistent decrease in the number of fatalities involving a drinking driver in Canada.

According to the Ottawa-based Traffic Injury Research Foundation, Canadians continue to regard drinking and driving as a priority concern, ranking it a close second among all societal issues and first among all road safety issues. Between 1995 and 2009, the number of Canadians who died in motor vehicle crashes involving a drinking driver declined 44.9 per cent and this trend appears to be continuing. Moreover, 27 per cent of Canadians report they have personally acted as a designated driver at least once in the past 30 days.

About the Budweiser "Good Sport" Program

Good Sport has been a success because of its team approach - the team, the facility, concessionaires, the police and Budweiser. All stakeholders are committed to positively promoting responsible alcohol consumption, and encouraging fans to step up and become designated drivers for their family and friends.

Good Sport includes "We. I.D." communication tools for effective legal drinking age identification, complementing existing "Smart Serve" server training assisted by the Toronto Police Service.

The centerpiece of Good Sport is the Designated Driver Program.  At every Blue Jays home game, Budweiser and the Blue Jays will host sign-up booths for designated drivers.  Located at the 100 and 500 levels of the Rogers Centre, fans can sign a pledge that they will refrain from drinking during the game and will provide a safe ride home to the family and friends with them.

In return for signing the Good Sport pledge, designated drivers will receive a free coupon for a soft drink and be entered into a draw to win a Good Sport gift package. Winners will be announced in the 6th inning of every Blue Jays home game. Throughout the game, the Good Sport Designated Driver Program will be featured on Jumbotron public address announcements.

Background information

Labatt Responsible Enjoyment initiatives

For a quarter century, Labatt Breweries of Canada has been a Canadian leader in encouraging consumers to enjoy our beer responsibly and moderately and in the fight against drinking and driving - the societal issue that concerns more Canadians than any other. Labatt is a pioneer in developing partnerships to encourage moderation and discourage underage drinking.

Labatt's vision is to be the Canadian leader in the fight against drinking and driving and the country's pre-eminent voice of moderation.  We constantly update our programming to ensure it remains relevant and effective. Major initiatives include:

Family Talk About Drinking - a Prevention Program
In October 2011, Labatt launched its latest innovative responsible drinking initiative, the Family Talk About Drinking prevention program, which includes the Family Talk website and the Labatt Family Talk Parent Guide. Parents can use the Family Talk program, which draws on the knowledge and experience of experts in this field, to talk to their children about making smart, safe decisions about alcohol. Via a public service email, Labatt directed approximately 1 million Canadian mothers, about 25 per cent of the total moms in Canada, to the Canadian Better Living Family Talk television show.

Be(er) Responsible Day
Labatt employees share the company's responsible drinking philosophy with consumers and partner with wholesalers, distributors and retailers to extend the reach of our message.  In 2011, Be(er) Responsible Day was tied to our most recent and very successful new program called Take the Pledge.  Teams of employees wearing Take the Pledge t-shirts visited university and college campuses across Canada during "back to school" and Frosh Week to get students to "Take the Pledge" in real time.

Take the Pledge
Take the Pledge asked Canadians to sign a pledge that they will not drink and drive.  Across Canada, the Take the Pledge campaign's billboard and street level ads showed just how far people will go to avoid drinking and driving -- for example sleeping on the back of a statue, on a park slide and atop a tree branch. The campaign directed consumers to Labatt's responsible drinking Facebook page where they "signed" a pledge to not drink and drive. In appreciation, Labatt donated $1 to the True Patriot Love Foundation in support of Canadian Military Families.

Know When to Draw the Line
One of Canada's longest running and most widely recognized campaigns, Know When to Draw the Line (À Vous de Tracer Votre Ligne de Conduite in Quebec) has become a synonym for the responsible enjoyment of alcohol from coast to coast.

Make a Plan
Labatt's "Make a Plan" campaign was first launched in 2005 and focused on helping Canadians plan ahead for the responsible and safe enjoyment of alcohol to further reduce the incidence of drinking and driving.

Crash Bobbles
Launched in 2010, this original web series promoted through Facebook and YouTube encourages discussion and responsible consumption among young adults.

Budweiser TV Ad Designates Holiday Drivers
A new Budweiser TV spot, "Great times wait for the designated driver," aired Canada-wide during the holiday season. It underscored the importance and widespread acceptance of having a designated driver when going out to social, sporting and entertainment events. It reinforced Labatt's clear, consistent message: "Don't drink and drive."

Operation Red Nose/Nez Rouge
For the third consecutive year in 2011, Labatt participated in Operation Red Nose/Nez Rouge in Quebec, with volunteers taking the wheel for people who didn't feel comfortable driving their own vehicles home during the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Montreal's City Bus as Designated Driver
Labatt and the Société de transport de Montréal joined forces to invite festival goers and night owls to select a night bus as their "designated driver."  The initiative promoted the use of public transit "after hours" in downtown Montreal.

SOURCE Labatt Breweries of Canada

For further information:

Briar Wells
Labatt Breweries of Canada

Jay Stenhouse
Toronto Blue Jays

Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890