A new Australian study concludes that sport is increasingly used as a vehicle for the promotion of range of ‘risky consumption’ products. A content analysis of one of Australia’s premier sport event, the 2012 State of Origin three-game series of rugby, identified 4.062 instances of alcohol marketing in 360 minutes of televised coverage. On average each of the three games included 1.353 instances of alcohol marketing, amounting to 66.29 minutes per game.

The authors, based at different universities in Australia, undertook this study to investigate the alcohol, gambling, and unhealthy food marketing strategies during a nationally televised, free to air, sporting series in Australia. Not only did they search for alcohol marketing but also for promotions dedicated to gambling and unhealthy foods and beverages.

Through the use of a mixed methods content analysis of the frequency, duration, placement and content of advertising strategies, the authors compared these strategies both within and across the three games.

This led to the identification of 4.445 episodes of marketing for risky consumption products. The category of alcohol marketing vastly outweighed the other categories with a staggering 91% (4.062) of the instances being alcohol marketing. The analysis also showed that the third match was filled the most with marketing for risky consumption products, while the first match had the least number of marketing instances identified.

The authors conclude that sport is increasingly used as “a vehicle for the promotion of range of ‘risky consumption’ products”. They argue that their study raises important ethical and health policy questions about the extent and impact of saturation and incidental marketing strategies on health and wellbeing, the transparency of embedded marketing strategies, and how these strategies may influence product consumption.

The abstract and a provisional version of the article to be published in BMC Public Health can be found here>>

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