Scientists call for ban on alcohol-industry sponsorship of sport

November 09, 2009

The alcohol industry's sponsorship of sport should be banned and replaced with a dedicated alcohol tax modelled on those employed by some countries for tobacco, say scientists.

Writing in the latest issue of the international journal Addiction, the authors have called on governments to outlaw the practice, citing their highly publicised 2008 study that showed alcohol-industry sponsorship of elite and community sport was associated with hazardous drinking among sport participants.

Dr Kypros Kypri, from Newcastle University in Australia, and Dr Kerry O'Brien, from The University of Manchester in Britain, claim alcohol industry representatives and sports administrators in the UK and Australia were dismissive of the 2008 research findings despite their publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

Both the Portman Group - a public relations body set up by the alcohol industry - and the European Sponsorship Association, whose members include leading alcohol producers, argued that there was no causal relationship between sponsorship and alcohol misuse, which the researchers suggest is reminiscent of arguments used by the tobacco industry's behaviour in the 1990s.

Dr Kypri said: "The latest moves by the major sporting codes in Australia to lobby against the regulation of alcohol sponsorship of sport show that these bodies remain in denial of alcohol-related problems in their sports.

"In addition, it is clear that these organisations have enormous vested interests in continuing to receive alcohol money and government should be careful to act in the public interest rather than to cave in to the sports and Big Booze."

Co-author, Dr O'Brien added: "Sport administrators are sending mixed messages to participants and fans when, on the one hand, they embrace and peddle alcohol via their sport, while on the other they punish individual sport stars and fans when they display loutish behaviour while intoxicated."

In place of industry sponsorship, the researchers suggest in their Addiction editorial that governments use the proceeds of alcohol taxation to sponsor sports via independent bodies. They say an opportunity exists in the UK, where a minimum unit price for alcohol is being considered, to 'ring-fence' revenue from any tax-driven increase in unit price for funding of sports and healthy community activities. This would allow elite and community sport to receive a dependable funding stream while ending the unhealthy relationship between the alcohol industry and sport.

Dr O'Brien added: "Sport is not only being used by the alcohol industry to encourage drinking among sportspeople and fans, it is also the primary vehicle for alcohol-industry marketing to the general public.

"For example, reports from the US show that for the first six months of 2009 Anheuser-Busch, one of the worlds biggest alcohol producers, spent more than US$194 million or around 80% of its US TV advertising budget on sport. That is a staggering amount and indicates the centrality of sport as a marketing tool for alcohol sales."

Calls for a complete ban on alcohol advertising and sponsorship were also made in September by the British Medical Association following the release of 'Under the Influence', a report showing the significant impact that alcohol marketing has on drinking and associated harm.
-end-
Notes for editors:

Kypri K., O'Brien K., Miller P. Time for precautionary action on alcohol industry funding of sporting bodies. Addiction 2009; 104: 1949-1950.

University of Manchester

Related Alcohol Articles from Brightsurf:

Alcohol use changed right after COVID-19 lockdown
One in four adults reported a change in alcohol use almost immediately after stay-at-home orders were issued: 14% reported drinking more alcohol and reported higher levels of stress and anxiety than those who did not drink and those whose use stayed the same.

Changes in hospitalizations for alcohol use disorder in US
Changes over nearly two decades in the rate of hospitalizations and in-hospital deaths from alcohol use disorder in the US were examined in this study.

Associations of alcohol consumption, alcohol-induced passing out with risk of dementia
The risk of future dementia associated with overall alcohol consumption and alcohol-induced loss of consciousness in a population of current drinkers was examined in this observational study with more than 131,000 adults.

New alcohol genes uncovered
Do you have what is known as problematic alcohol use?

Does estrogen influence alcohol use disorder?
A new study from researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago shows that high estrogen levels may make alcohol more rewarding to female mice.

Sobering new data on drinking and driving: 15% of US alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities involve alcohol under the legal limit
A new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, published by Elsevier, found that motor vehicle crashes involving drivers with blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) below the legal limit of 0.08 percent accounted for 15% of alcohol-involved crash deaths in the United States.

Alcohol-induced deaths in US
National vital statistics data from 2000 to 2016 were used to examine how rates of alcohol-induced deaths (defined as those deaths due to alcohol consumption that could be avoided if alcohol weren't involved) have changed in the US and to compare the results by demographic groups including sex, race/ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status and geographic location.

Cuts in alcohol duty linked to 2000 more alcohol-related deaths in England
Government cuts to alcohol taxes have had dramatic consequences for public health, including nearly 2000 more alcohol-related deaths in England since 2012, according to new research from the University of Sheffield's School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR).

Integrated stepped alcohol treatment for people in HIV care improves both HIV & alcohol outcomes
Increasing the intensity of treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD) over time improves alcohol-related outcomes among people with HIV, according to new clinical research supported by the National Institutes of Health.

The Lancet:Targets to reduce harmful alcohol use are likely to be missed as global alcohol intake increases
Increasing rates of alcohol use suggest that the world is not on track to achieve targets against harmful alcohol use, according to a study of 189 countries' alcohol intake between 1990-2017 and estimated intake up to 2030, published in The Lancet.

Read More: Alcohol News and Alcohol Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.