A new British study suggests that football fans see two references to alcohol brands per minute when they watch matches on TV. The authors call for tighter government restrictions or even a ban on the marketing of alcohol during televised football matches.
Researchers from the University of Newcastle analysed over 18 hours of football matches that were broadcasted on the BBC, ITV and Sky. The analysis included the pre-match build-up, the match itself and the post-match analysis of games from the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup, League Cup, UEFA Cup and Championship. The researchers noted every mention or view of an alcohol brand on screen, whether in the commentary, on billboards at the side of the pitch, on-screen logos before and after replays or when scores were shown or substitutions were being made.
This analysis resulted in a mean of 111 visual references and two verbal references to alcohol per hour. Nearly all visual references were to beer products and were primarily simple logos or branding. The majority of verbal alcohol references were related to title-sponsorship of competitions. A total of 17 formal alcohol commercials were identified, accounting for less than one per cent of total broadcast time.
The researchers argue that these messages are seen by, and affect, millions of children. Speaking to The Guardian, co-author Andy Graham said: “The average spend on alcohol marketing in the UK was around £800m and yet only £200m was spent on traditional advertising, in terms of commercials. It’s this ambient marketing that goes on – the viral campaigns, the social media and the sponsorship – which has more of an impact.”
Jean Adams, the other author, was quoted pointing out the particular effect of alcohol marketing on children: “Children who don’t drink, who are exposed to alcohol marketing, are more likely to start drinking earlier in their lives. And children who are already drinking are more likely to drink more after exposure to alcohol marketing.”
Source: The Guardian 09/11/13