Australians give alcohol advertising the red card
Good Sports is again calling for an end to alcohol sponsorship in professional sport, with new evidence reinforcing that Australians have had enough of this dangerous partnership.
In an analysis of complaints made to the Alcohol Advertising Review Board since 2012, it was found that one-third of complaints were sport-related; of those protests, close to two-thirds were made in regards to alcohol sponsorship in sport.
The report, released by the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth, found that Australians were concerned about the variety and amount of sponsorship; including signage at sports events, logos on uniforms and commentary during sports games.
A separate survey found that more than seven out of 10 Australian adults want TV ads promoting alcohol to be phased out at times when children are likely to be watching sports broadcasts – including this week’s AFL and NRL Grand Finals.
Sponsorship of sport by alcohol brands allows them to evade the ban on alcohol advertising during children’s viewing hours. A loophole in the current regulation permits the alcohol industry to broadcast alcohol advertisements during live sport.
This means that live sports are the only programs allowed to include alcohol ads before 8.30pm, on weekends and public holidays – times when we all know children are likely to be watching TV.
It’s an exemption that makes no sense. In fact, it’s an exemption that contradicts the reasoning behind the original regulation that was put in place to protect children and young people.
And it’s obvious that Australians have cottoned on to the danger of this industry loophole. Of those Australians surveyed, the majority of people indicated that they were concerned about the current levels of exposure children have to alcohol promotion.
“There is good evidence that tells us the more young people are sold this narrative of alcohol going hand-in-hand with sport, the sooner they are likely to start drinking and to abuse alcohol as they get older,” RACP President Dr Catherine Yelland told SBS News.
It’s a sentiment that we here at Good Sports well and truly echo. Sport is associated with health, fair play, striving to be your best… so why do we champion alcohol sponsorship, in spite of the overwhelming evidence against it.
All sporting clubs should be a healthy environment with a focus on playing sport and developing sporting ability. Many Good Sports clubs, local sporting communities, have already demonstrated that clubs don’t need alcohol sponsorship. By controlling alcohol consumption and championing healthy behaviours, community clubs have generated more local sponsorship and increased their revenue.
Professional sport, the ball is in your court. It’s time to put people before profit and give alcohol sponsorship the ‘don’t argue’.