Only Melbourne Storm and Western Bulldogs don’t accept money from drinks industry, report finds
The report detailed the risk these partnerships pose to children, who regularly find themselves exposed to potentially harmful advertising across a wide range of platforms, including social media channels, merchandise and playing kits.
TV was also highlighted as a major problem; owing to an exemption in commercial TV’s industry code of practice, alcohol advertising during children’s viewing hours is allowed if it is an accompaniment to a live sport broadcast or sport program.
This is exploited by the alcohol industry, according to the report, with 49.5% of all alcohol advertising is aired during the broadcast of live sports events.
A separate study that looked at each code’s grand final found almost one occurrence of alcohol marketing each minute in the AFL decider, and more than three a minute in the NRL’s, both of which are broadcast during children’s viewing hours.
The former NRL player and ambassador of the End Alcohol Advertising in Sport campaign, Steve Ella, said young fans of the game in Australia “deserve better”.
“The NRL made $46m profit last year and had more than 1 million viewers watching the NRL Telstra Premiership, which is great exposure for the sport – but not at the expense of kids who were exposed to three alcohol ads every minute of finals game,” Ella said.
The report found that alcohol advertising deals in women’s sport – the AFLW and NRLW in this case – are less prevalent than in the men’s leagues, although the AFLW counts a major wine producer as one of its sponsors.
Five of the eight AFL clubs which publish their corporate partnerships for their men’s and women’s teams separately do not now have advertising deals with the alcohol industry for their AFLW teams. None of the four NRLW teams listed their commercial partnership arrangements independently of the men’s teams.
Trish Hepworth, the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education’s director of research and policy, said sporting clubs were being paid to promote various harmful alcohol products to their youngest fans and called on those clubs to take a stand.
“These deals between alcohol multinationals and Australian sporting codes are toxic given that alcohol contributes to the three leading causes of death among adolescents – unintentional injuries, homicide and suicide,” she said.
“Alcohol is no ordinary commodity because of the high cost to the Australian community – $36bn a year. This is an unacceptable price to pay. Our sports clubs have a great opportunity to be part of the solution and model healthy sponsorship.”
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