|MIAMI, FL (June 11, 2014) – Miami Heat fan Gerald Mitkowsky did not seem to mind that the final score favored the Spurs at the end of last night’s Game 3 of The Finals 2014. Mitkowsky was named “Designated Driver for the Season” for the Heat and attended Game 3 as a grand prize winner of the “Responsibility Has Its Rewards” sweepstakes. Mitkowsky was so caught up in the excitement of the Championship that he proposed to his guest, Estrella Garcia Ramos, during a local news interview. Her answer, an enthusiastic “yes,” was all he needed to hear. “Responsibility Has Its Rewards” just took on a whole new meaning.Jim Corbin was named “Designated Driver for the Season” for the San Antonio Spurs and attended Game 1 of The Finals as the other grand prize winner of the sweepstakes. Mitkowsky and Corbin were randomly selected among all of the fans who pledged to be designated drivers at the Heat and Spurs home games. Designated drivers pledge to refrain from drinking alcohol and provide their friends and family with a safe ride home.
Throughout the season, the NBA, Techniques for Effective Alcohol Management (TEAM) Coalition and NBA teams across the country have worked together to make more fans aware of the designated driver programs at NBA arenas, encourage responsible drinking, positive fan behavior and promote traffic safety. The success of those efforts is demonstrated by the fact that nearly 65,000 adults pledged to be designated drivers during the 2013-14 NBA season. In addition to the two grand prize winners, the “Designated Driver for the Season” from the New York Knicks, Brian Fagen, was selected to attend the 2015 NBA All-Star Game in New York, NY, the first prize in the annual sweepstakes.
(left to right) Jessica Thurston, TEAM Coalition Senior Program Associate; John Daniels, NBA Vice President of Security; Estrella Garcia Ramos, guest of winner; Gerald Mitkowsky, Miami Heat Designated Driver for the Season; Abeer Klosk, NBA Security Analyst; Stacey McCoy, Miami Heat Guest Services Manager.
The top five NBA teams for designated drivers at the end of the 2013-14 season are:
- Dallas Mavericks with 9,892 designated drivers
- Oklahoma City Thunder with 8,200 designated drivers
- Houston Rockets with 7,330 designated drivers
- Sacramento Kings with 7,004 designated drivers
- San Antonio Spurs with 4,262 designated drivers
“The success of the ‘Responsibility Has Its Rewards’ campaign with the NBA this season is a direct result of the commitment from the league, the teams and all the campaign partners,” said Jill Pepper, executive director of TEAM Coalition. “Teamwork is what this campaign is all about. We are demonstrating that when everyone – including the fans – takes responsibility, everyone wins.”
About TEAM Coalition
TEAM Coalition is an alliance of professional and collegiate sports, entertainment facilities, concessionaires, stadium service providers, the beer industry, distillers, broadcasters, traffic safety experts and others working together to promote responsible drinking and positive fan behavior at sports and entertainment facilities. TEAM Coalition members and supporters include National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, NASCAR, National Football League, National Hockey League, National Collegiate Athletic Association, ARAMARK, Delaware North Companies – Sportservice, Ovations Food Services, Beer Institute, National Beer Wholesalers Association, Anheuser-Busch Companies, MillerCoors, Brown-Forman, Live Nation, National Association of Broadcasters, Contemporary Services Corporation, Elite, International Association of Venue Managers, Stadium Managers Association and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
For more information, go to TEAMCoalition.org, ResponsibilityHasItsRewards.org or FansDontLetFansDriveDrunk.org