Baseball Australia has pledged to no longer accept alcohol advertising in its junior competitions and at the national representative level of the game.
In doing so, Baseball Australia has become the first Australian sporting code to partner with the national campaign, End Alcohol Advertising in Sport.
It comes as an effort from the league to send a message that Baseball Australia is proactively building a more family-friendly and healthier sporting environment.
— Baseball Australia (@BaseballAust) February 25, 2019
Baseball Australia chief executive Cam Vale said at the announcement today that their decision reflects community attitudes.
“Baseball Australia is proud to partner with the End Alcohol Advertising in Sport campaign,” Vale said.
“Our junior players, and the kids and families who support Baseball in Australia are the future of our code.
“They are tomorrow’s players, superstars and fans of our sport, and in partnering with End Alcohol Advertising in Sport, we aspire to create a healthier sporting environment for them all to thrive”.
Vale went on to reveal that Baseball Australia recently rejected a sponsorship proposal with an overseas alcohol brand.
“Sport is a competitive market in Australia and we are not alone in positioning our particular game as being focused on junior participation and development; however, better leadership from sporting administrators is required.
“Our Little League program, which is part of the broader Little League International platform, promotes values of citizenship, discipline, teamwork and physical well-being, which perfectly align with the values and spirit of this particular partnership”.
Baseball Australia’s decision does not extend to, or impact, the operations of the eight independently owned and operated Australian Baseball League teams competing in the professional domestic competition.
The three-year partnership with End Alcohol Advertising in Sport will see the campaign promoted nationally at Little League games and promoted on Baseball Australia’s digital and media platforms and distributed to the baseball clubs and members throughout Australia.
Melbourne’s Mitch Edwards, currently playing in the farm system of Major League Baseball’s Philadelphia Phillies, commented on the partnership.
“It’s really exciting that we get to step up, be the leader, and show the other codes the way,” Edwards said.
“Baseball Australia is the first national sporting code in Australia to join the campaign to end alcohol advertising in sports, so it’s massive and I’m really proud to be involved”.
End Alcohol Advertising in Sport campaign spokesman and chief executive for the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education Michael Thorn said: “Baseball Australia have today shown leadership that is sadly lacking in too many of our national sporting codes.
“Sport can and should be a powerful force for good. Rather than simply condemning player transgressions, sporting codes must show leadership, and that starts with walking away from alcohol advertising dollars, as Baseball Australia is doing”.