Mumbrella, Australia, July 12, 2023 9:25; by 

Public health groups are lobbying for a change in advertising laws around major sporting events, as a new study finds 25% of State of Origin sponsorship this year is by companies who promote gambling, alcohol or unhealthy food. The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education found that during the current 2023 Origin series, seven alcohol companies, seven junk food brands and two gambling platforms are among the official sponsors. 

Tooheys and Jim Beam have prominent sponsorships in place with the New South Wales team, while Ned Whiskey and XXXX have deals with Queensland. The overall State of Origin Series is sponsored by Bundaberg and VB – as well as DrinkWise. McDonald’s sponsors both teams, while KFC and Solo sponsor the Origin series. The Star casino features on NSW jersey branding, while Sportsbet is a broadcast sponsor.

In addition, 11 of the 16 highlighted sponsors ran Facebook and Instagram ads in concert with Game One of the 2023 Origin series, with 135 unique ads showing during the game – 35.5 % of these directly related to sports. “Sporting events like the State of Origin have become one big ad for harmful products, like alcohol,” Caterina Giorgi, chief executive of the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, said of the findings.

“We know that the younger that children are exposed to alcohol marketing, the more likely they are to start drinking earlier and to drink at higher levels, putting them at risk of greater harm.” Royal Australian College of General Practitioners president Dr Nicole Higgins wants a ban on such advertising. “Australian families should be able to enjoy sport without having to be confronted with a barrage of ads and logos pushing alcohol, gambling and unhealthy foods,” Higgins said.

“Every day, as GPs, we see people whose health and wellbeing has been negatively impacted by these harmful industries. The multi-million-dollar marketing and sponsorship deals by these harmful, addictive and unhealthy companies have no place in sport. For the sake of the community’s health and wellbeing, these sponsorships need to end.” Carol Bennett, chief executive of the Alliance for Gambling, added: “There is no place for harmful product marketing, like gambling advertising and sponsorship, in sport.”

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