This month the Australian Baseball Federation became the fourteenth national Australian sporting organization to ditch alcohol sponsorship in favor of government funding. The development was taken to show the success of the government’s discouragement program for alcohol branded sport sponsorship, offering 25 million Australian Dollars in replacement sponsorship deals if sporting bodies cut ties with alcohol sponsors.   The Australian Baseball Federation has joined the ranks of the Football Federation of Australia, Basketball Australia and Swimming Australia in putting a stop to alcohol branded sponsorship. The sport sponsorship discouragement program is part of Australia’s federal government’s National Binge Drinking Strategy 'Be the Influence: Tackling Binge Drinking'. At a celebration of the deal, Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Mark Butler told that the bigger leagues such as those for Rugby and Cricket, would be harder to convince giving up alcohol branded sponsorship: 'The two big football codes and cricket receive alcohol sponsorship well above our entire pool of money by a factor of several,' Mr. Butler told the Canberra Times. However, Mr. Butler stressed the success of the discouragement initiative. He was heard saying that the government was not struggling to get people on board with the idea. He also said the decision by groups such as the Football Federation, Netball Australia, and Cycling Australia showed major sports groups and those with strong Olympic profiles, were willing to go alcohol-free. Sporting organizations have to agree to abandon all alcohol sponsorship before they receive federal funding. ''It's a great way for these sports to access an alternative form of sponsorship to alcohol sponsorship and at the same time promote a healthy message about athletes being a positive influence on young people,'' Mr. Butler was quoted in the Canberra Times. ''The athletes carry a positive message about a healthy lifestyle and a responsible approach to drinking which we know is a powerful way of influencing young people.'' The new sponsorship agreement acts strictly as an alternative to alcohol sponsorship at Australian Baseball League games but does not affect the pourage rights and service of alcohol at stadiums and events. Source: Canberra Times 11/02/12
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