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"This is an excellent program. It helped keep our fans safe last season and will continue to do so again this year."

--- Allan H. (Bud) Selig, Commissioner, Major League Baseball

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  The History of TEAM Coalition

Since 1985, TEAM (Techniques for Effective Alcohol Management) Coalition has flourished as a unique alliance of professional and collegiate sports, entertainment facilities, concessionaires, stadium service providers, the beer industry, broadcasters, government traffic safety experts, and others working together to promote responsible drinking and positive fan behavior at sports and entertainment facilities.

The organization encourages facilities to implement and enforce alcohol policies through an alcohol service training program that educates and certifies all facility employees in the skills of how to identify patrons who may have over-consumed and to intervene in a non-confrontational way to properly ensure everyone's safety. In addition, TEAM outreach extends beyond sports facilities to target fans in support of designated driver programs and other traffic safety messages.

For its first fifteen years of existence, TEAM Coalition was a program fully funded by NHTSA in cooperation with many sports and entertainment organizations and traffic safety supporters. The 1997 Annual Report for TEAM Coalition illustrates how the professional leagues supported TEAM Coalition and listed all seventeen TEAM members. Membership at that time translated into in-kind support including the use of league brands and high profile players in fan education materials, but no funding.

  • Eight organizations that are currently members:
    • MLB
    • IAVM (formerly IAAM)
    • NAB
    • NCAA
    • NFL
    • NHL
  • Nine organizations are no longer members
    • Allstate
    • Accent Entertainment
    • American Automobile Manufacturers Association
    • CBS
    • FOX
    • MADD
    • NHTSA
    • National Safety Council
    • Ogden

The 1997 Annual Report celebrated the tenth anniversary of TEAM Coalition. Key accomplishments of the organization's first ten years and the roles played by various member organizations were highlighted in the report.

The professional sports leagues along with NCAA made significant contributions by allowing TEAM Coalition to use their logos and the images of their high profile athletes to promote responsibility. Additionally, the leagues ensured that the employees working in the stadiums, arenas and ballparks where their teams played participated in TEAM training. However, the leagues and all other TEAM Coalition members did not contribute funds to TEAM Coalition. The training program did not include a certification exam to track the participation and comprehension of facility employees, nor was there a cost to stadium management to train staff. And TEAM had no full-time employees. TEAM Coalition Transition and Independence

TEAM Coalition Transition and Independence

In June of 2001, TEAM Coalition officially became a 501c3 Non-Profit Organization (NPO). Member organizations showed their commitment to TEAM by paying annual dues of $15,000. Those founding members of the national NPO known as TEAM Coalition included the following organizations:
  • Anheuser-Busch Companies
  • Beer Institute (member, but did not pay dues)
  • Coors Brewing Company
  • International Association of Venue Managers (formerly IAAM)
  • Major League Baseball
  • Miller Brewing Company
  • National Association of Broadcasters
  • National Football League

Simultaneously, TEAM joined forces with Health Communications Incorporated, the provider of TIPS training for alcohol servers. Over the next five years, the TEAM/TIPS partnership tracked the certification of over 75,000 sports and entertainment facility employees. The number of employees who became certified doubled nearly every year. That agreement generated significant revenue for TEAM Coalition. The training revenue, coupled with the annual membership dues allowed TEAM Coalition to hire and maintain a staff of two full-time employees, even as the funds from NHTSA were decreasing significantly.

After TEAM Coalition became an NPO, the role for NHTSA transitioned from primary funding agency to a cooperative agreement. Historically, NHTSA funds for TEAM Coalition had been several hundred thousand dollars annually. After TEAM became an NPO, NHTSA funds have not exceeded $80,000 in any twelve-month period, yet they have provided critical support for both the training program and fan education materials. The impact TEAM has made through continued NHTSA support has been recognized. TEAM earned the 2002 NHTSA Award for Public Service, the 2003 NCADD Education Prevention Award, and the 2004 NHTSA Administrator's Achievement Award.

Examples of how NHTSA funds have been instrumental in TEAM Coalition efforts in the last five years are:
  • NHTSA funds helped TEAM to execute a two-year multi-facility evaluation of the effectiveness of alcohol management efforts on the behaviors of both facility employees and sports and entertainment fans.
  • NHTSA funds helped produce over 50 TV PSAs for the league-wide campaign in support of designated driver programs called Responsibility Has Its Rewards with MLB and the majority of MLB Clubs.
  • NHTSA funds helped educate local, state and national lawmakers, police agencies and the media about the NFL's commitment to improve fan behavior under the campaign message "Fans Don't Let Fans Drive Drunk."
  • Finally, NHTSA funds helped launch the Responsibility Has Its Rewards campaign with Live Nation and HERO Campaign. This successful expansion of RHIR has allowed concert-goers to reap the same benefits from responsible behavior that sports fans have enjoyed for over seven years.
In 2005, TEAM and TIPS formerly parted ways. Since then, the growth in TEAM training has continued at an aggressive pace. In 2010, more than 40,000 facility employees became TEAM certified. Without the revenue split with TIPS, TEAM dedicates one-hundred percent of the funds generated from training toward its mission to educate fans about their responsibility when it comes to effective alcohol management.

The Responsibility Has Its Rewards campaign now involves seven member organizations: Live Nation, MLB, MLS, NBA, NCAA, NFL and NHL. As a result of each league-wide campaign, the number of fans participating in designated driver programs continues to grow.

Nearly ten years since TEAM Coalition became an NPO, the number of dues-paying member organizations has grown from eight to nineteen. And the twentieth member, NASCAR, has verbally committed to the organization. The TEAM Coalition full-time staff has grown to five employees. The annual budget hovers just below one-million dollars. And the five-year cooperative agreement from NHTSA, which expires in 2010, has provided $40,000 in support annually.

From its original existence as a fully-funded NHTSA program to its current national NPO status, TEAM has always prioritized three things: (1) employee training, (2) fan education and (3) alcohol service policy creation, promotion and enforcement.


  • The TEAM goal is to train every employee at sports and entertainment facilities - both concessions and operations staff - in effective alcohol management.
  • Over 750 stadium and concessionaire managers, representing more than 100 facilities have attended a two-day Instructor Development Program, passed a certification exam, and are active TEAM trainers.
  • TEAM trainers certify more than 40,000 full-facility personnel annually, including alcohol-servers, ushers, ticket-takers, and parking lot attendants.
  • TEAM training helps to identify the warning signs of intoxication, prevent underage drinking, and ensure the safety of all fans.
Fan Education
  • 406,000 fans participated in 2010 MLB Responsibility Has Its Rewards (RHIR) sweepstakes for designated drivers; Designated Drivers for the Season from San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers attended World Series; Designated Driver from Chicago White Sox attended 2010 MLB All-Star Game at Angel Stadium
  • 12,600 fans participated in 2010 MLS RHIR sweepstakes; Designated Drivers for the Season from Colorado Rapids and FC Dallas attended MLS Cup 2010TM; Designated Driver from Colorado Rapids attended 2010 AT&T MLS All-Star Game at Reliant Stadium
  • 171,000 fans participated in 2010 NFL RHIR sweepstakes; Designated Drivers for the Season from Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers attended Super Bowl XLV; Designated Driver from Buffalo Bills attended 2011 Pro Bowl
  • 70,000 fans participated in 2009/10 NBA RHIR sweepstakes; Designated Drivers for the Season from Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics attended NBA Finals; Designated Driver for the Season from Washington Wizards attended 2011 NBA All-Star Game
  • 35,000 fans participated in 2009/10 NHL RHIR sweepstakes; Designated Driver for the Season from Atlanta Thrashers attended 2011 NHL All-Star Game
  • RHIR events with NCAA at Men's Final Four, Women's Final Four, College World Series and DI Football Championship have educated tens of thousands of college sports fans about their role in responsible alcohol consumption and traffic safety
Alcohol Services Policies

TEAM encourages facilities to define, communicate and enforce policies, including:
  • Cutting-off beer sales before the end of the game or performance
  • Limiting the number of beers per purchase per possession
  • Checking the ID of all patrons who look younger than the legal drinking age
TEAM Coalition has a great deal of growth and expansion in its future. Opportunities to incorporate social media and technology on the fan education and employee training fronts are starting to take shape. Enlarging the TEAM Coalition membership to include new industry categories beyond professional and collegiate sports, entertainment facilities, concessionaires, stadium service providers, the beer industry, broadcasters and government safety experts is being considered at the spring 2011 membership meeting.

None of TEAM Coalition's success over the last twenty-five years would be possible without support from NHTSA. Given its impressive history, one can only imagine what the next twenty-five years may offer.

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