Authorities in sport are calling on the government to ban alcohol ads in Australian sport with launch of the End Alcohol Advertising in Sport campaign following the 2018 NRL grand final.
Research by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) found the NRL grand final to air 365 alcohol ads during the coverage, a staggering three ads every minute, compared to the AFL grand final airing 188 alcohol ads, or one per minute.
The campaign calls for a complete ban on alcohol ads during sporting events in an effort to reduce children’s exposure to alcohol ads.
Former Rugby League player Steve Ella, former AFL coach Mick Malthouse, former cricketer John Inverarity and dual Olympic gold medallist Clover Maitland are among those supporting the ban campaign.
FARE chief exec Michael Thorn believes children’s exposure to alcohol advertising is an alarming consequence of a nonsensical exemption in the Commercial Television Code of Practice.
“The evidence is very clear that children’s exposure to alcohol advertising encourages them to start drinking earlier, to binge drink more often, and to start a journey toward alcohol-related harm, FARE chief exec Michael Thorn says.
“It’s time for regulators to put an end to the alcohol industry’s deliberate efforts to encourage systematic alcohol harm and abuse in its customers of tomorrow.”.
As reported by AdNews, research revealed at the 2016 APSAD Scientific Alcohol and Drugs Conference has shown alcohol ads to reach underage viewers and lead to earlier and heavier drinking habits in young teens.
Current laws prevent alcohol advertisements to air during prime children and family television hours, with the exception of sport. This campaign aims to extend the ban to sporting events as a sensor for child viewers.
“These kids, they love their sport, they idolise their sporting heroes. And in the same breath the League is showing them that drinking and binge drinking is acceptable and healthy. It is not,” former president of the St Kilda Football Club, Rod Butterss says.
The NRL, AFL and cricket account for the greatest volume and most highly visible alcohol advertising in Australia.
“The game I love is awash with alcohol promotion. It has become increasingly difficult to know where the game ends and alcohol advertising begins, former Rugby League player Steve Ella says.
“The NRL must rethink its toxic association with alcohol and get on with playing the game that we love.”
The campaign has already reached government members including federal member for Bennelong and former tennis player John Alexander.
“As a parent, you know it’s not what you say but what you do that kids pick up. Kids model the behaviour of their sporting heroes, so it’s important they aren’t exposed to alcohol advertising in sport,” Alexander says.
Australians are asked to support the campaign by signing up online at the End Alcohol Advertising in Sport campaign website.