The notion of banning alcohol advertising during live sport has reared its head again, courtesy of a peak doctor’s group who is calling for a ban on the practice, along with demanding the end of alcohol sponsorships for sports teams and tournaments.
On the opening day of the National Rugby League season, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians has stressed that it’s time sporting codes call it quits when it comes to allowing the promotion of alcohol. Instead, they say, per Fairfax, sport should be promoting positive public health messages instead.
A survey by the RACP of over 2000 Aussies showed 61 per cent of people living in NSW were concerned that the influence of alcohol in our sporting nation was alive and well.
And the worst offenders, according to the group, are cricket and rugby league, where you can’t poke a stick at the many uniform brandings, naming rights, TV ads and conference backdrops there’s so many of them.
Per Fairfax, the president of RACP Nick Talley said a product that caused 5500 deaths and 15,000 hospitalisations every year should not be promoted during sport.
“You wouldn’t dream of doing this for cigarettes,” he said. “When you see alcohol in this setting being advertised, why wouldn’t you think it’s safe to drink as much as you want?
“Alcohol advertising is run within sports matches at times when children our watching and this is going to influence children.
“It’s not directly killing them, but it’s setting them up for alcohol dependence and alcohol problems that will damage them.”
The code of practice for the telly does not allow for the promotion of alcohol or gambling in the evening before 8.30pm, however sports programs on weekends and public holidays are the exception to the rule.
The RACP wants all alcohol advertising to be banned until 8.30pm and for sponsorships to be phased out.
Speaking to the SMH, Carlton United corporate affairs director Jeremy Griffiths said it was a strategic decision to tee up sponsorship deals with the NRL, AFL, and cricket, because that’s exactly where they’d find their target audience of men.
According to Griffiths, over 90 per cent of viewers who tuned in to the grand final last year were over 18.
“Bans on advertising are quite simple measures but they don’t address the underlying issue of providing children with the capacity to make informed decisions,” Griffiths said.
Last year, Premier Mike Baird was reported saying it was “incredible” that beer logos featured so prominently on the uniforms of the Aussie cricket team, and there has been research that shows boys find beer ads more appealing when they’re slotted in between sporting programs.
“I find it quite an incredible position where the captain of our cricket team sits there with a big VB on the middle,” Baird said.