The health risks associated with alcohol consumption are well documented in the Australia: the healthiest country by 2020 - National Preventative Health Strategy (2009), and the National Drug Strategy 2017-2026, Australian Government, Department of Health (2017) strategies. The overall burden of alcohol consumption on the health of Australians is substantial, and is summarised in this report:
- Alcohol’s burden of disease in Australia, Gao C, Ogeil R and Lloyd B, Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) and Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth) in collaboration with Turning Point, (2014). This report summarises current research using the most up-to-date methodology for estimating alcohol-related harm in the Australian community. Such estimates are needed to assess changing trends related to alcohol consumption and enable comparison of the impact of alcohol across different diseases and injuries. The estimates provided in this report were based on consumption and health services data from 2010. This report provides a resource for researchers, policy makers and health service workers who wish to gauge the impacts that alcohol has on Australian society. This study builds upon previous Australian work which has investigated the role of alcohol consumption.
The Alcohol and Drug Foundation provides Alcohol Facts about the short and long-term health effects of consumption, and the laws regarding the sale and distribution of alcohol. Many other ;government and private agencies, organisations and advocacy groups provide information about alcohol use and the potential health risks.
Current trends in alcohol consumption patterns may reflect the efforts of governments and advocacy groups to reduce alcohol consumption in the population, particularly among youth. Key findings from the '2019 National Drug Strategy Household Survey' indicate that consumption of alcohol in Australia is widespread and connected with many social and cultural activities. However, some of the survey trends indicate a moderation in alcohol use: (1) the percentage of the population considered to be ‘daily drinkers’ has declined since 2010, from 7.4% to 5.4%, among both males and females; (2) fewer young people, age 12 to 17 years, are drinking alcohol; and (3) more younger Australians are delaying starting drinking, the average age at which a person first tried alcohol has increased from 14.7 to 16.2 years of age since 2001.
- National Drug Strategy Household Survey, 2019, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2020). Summary of alcohol use, key findings.
Alcohol, unlike tobacco products, has not been subject to the same level of legislative control in advertising, or prohibited as a sponsor of sporting organisations, teams, and events. Conclusive medical evidence linking smoking with inherent health risks led to public policy that implies ‘every cigarette is doing damage’ and this signaled the end of tobacco sponsorship in sport. Similar evidence supports the conclusion that alcohol contributes (at some level) to health risks and may (in some cases) be associated with social harm. There is also substantial evidence that excessive short-term alcohol consumption, including binge drinking, can have detrimental physiological and psychological consequences. To date, risk management or minimisation strategies have dominated public policy related to alcohol advertising and marketing. Many sporting organisations have established sponsorship and advertising relationships with alcohol products, usually under the banner of 'responsible use'.
Reducing the risks associated with alcohol use
The World Health Organisation has defined risky alcohol consumption as what might reasonably be expected to lead to ‘short’ or ‘long-term’ harm. Indicators of short-term harm are injury or violence linked to impaired physical or mental capacity. Indicators of long-term harm include a long list of health problems associated with alcohol consumption.
Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol, Australian Government, National Health and Medical Research Council (2009). These guidelines provide evidence on the risks associated with consuming alcohol. They allow individuals to make informed decisions regarding the amount and frequency of alcohol consumption. Guidelines are provided in four different contexts:
- The lifetime risk of harm from drinking alcohol increases with the amount consumed. For healthy men and women, drinking no more than two standard drinks on any day reduces the lifetime risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury.
- On a single occasion of drinking, the risk of alcohol-related injury increases with the amount consumed. For healthy men and women, drinking no more than four standard drinks on a single occasion reduces the risk of alcohol-related injury arising from that occasion.
- For children and young people under 18 years of age, not drinking alcohol is the safest option. Parents and carers should be advised that children under 15 years of age are at the greatest risk of harm from drinking and that for this age group, not drinking alcohol is especially important. For young people aged 15−17 years, the safest option is to delay the initiation of drinking for as long as possible.
- Maternal alcohol consumption can harm the developing fetus or breastfeeding baby. For women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, or women who are breastfeeding, not drinking is the safest option.
National public health policy seeks to reduce the impact that chronic disease has on society by reducing risks. The strategy is incorporated in the Government report:
- Australia - The Healthiest Country by 2020 - National Preventative Health Strategy - Overview National Preventative Health Taskforce (2009).
Industry codes of practice for alcohol advertising
Within the alcohol manufacturing industry the major sector associations have come together to form a quasi-regulatory system for alcohol advertising known as the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code. The industry has produced this code of practice and the signatories include the Brewers Association, Spirits and Cocktails Australia, Australian Grape and Wine, as well as individual companies. The management committee for the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code regularly publishes information regarding the type of complaints received.
- Ad Standards. Australia has a co-regulatory system for alcohol advertising. Guidelines have been negotiated with government, consumer complaints are handled independently, but all costs are borne by industry. All alcohol complaints are lodged with Ad Standards. Ad Standards will assess the complaint under the AANA Code of Ethics. If the complaint raises issues under this Code, the Ad Standards Community Panel will make a decision as to whether to uphold or dismiss the complaints. Ad Standards also sends a copy of the complaint to the Alcoholic Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC) Chief Adjudicator. It is possible for Ad Standards or ABAC to arrive at different decisions about the same advertisement as each body assesses the advertisement using different Codes.
- Alcohol Advertising Review Board Content and Placement Code, (July 2012).
- Alcohol Advertising Review Board, Annual Report 2018-19, Public Health Advocacy Institute of Western Australia, (September 2019). This annual report captures the number of public complaints regarding alcohol product advertising and provides case studies of breaches of the industry Code of practice. The report highlights support for the 'End alcohol advertising in sport campaign' which was launched in 2018. A total of 87 complaints were received by the AARB, resulting in 70 determinations, of which 59 were upheld as breaches of the advertising Code and a further 9 were upheld in part.
- Alcohol advertising in sport and non-sport TV in Australia, during children’s viewing times, O’Brien K, Carr S, Ferris J, et.al., Plos One, (11 August 2015).
- Submission to the Review of the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice, Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE), April 2015. This submission offers the views of FARE regarding Free TV Australia’s Review of the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice. The submission examines the proposed changes to the Code, and makes eight recommendations for Free TV Australia to strengthen its Codes of Practice based on the evidence of effective advertising and sponsorship control.
- AMA submission to Review of the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice Australian Medical Association (2 April 2015). The AMA believes the proposed changes to the Code will put commercial interests of advertisers above the developmental needs of Australian children and young people. Therefore, it does not support any changes to the Code because free-to-air television remains the first choice of Australian audiences, with around 13.6 million viewers spending an average of 3 hours per day watching television. For health reasons, the AMA does not support the advertising of alcohol during sporting events.
- Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice Free TV Australia (2015). The updated Code was registered by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) on 10 November 2015, following widespread public consultation. The new Code became effective on 1 December 2015. Under the Code, advertisement for an alcoholic beverage may be broadcast at any of the following times: (1) any time in the M and MA15+ classification zones, except between 5.00-6.00 am, and 7.30-8.30 pm; (2) as an accompaniment to a sports program on a Weekend or a Public Holiday, and; (3) as an accompaniment to the broadcast of a live sporting event in Australia, broadcast simultaneously across more than one licence area.
- Ministerial Forum on Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship: Recommendations on Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship New Zealand Government, Ministry of Health (2014).
- To appeal or not to appeal: testing content restrictions in self-regulation codes European Centre for Monitoring Alcohol Marketing, Fact Sheet (January 2013).
- Alcohol advertising and sponsorship in Formula One: a dangerous cocktail European Alcohol Policy Alliance and Monash University (May 2015). A number of studies from countries that are ‘consumer economies’ conclude that exposure to alcohol sponsorship is associated with significantly increased rates of hazardous drinking amongst school-age children and adult sportspeople. The current EU policy framework for regulating alcohol marketing, the Audio Visual Media Services Directive (AVMSD), stipulates that alcohol advertising should not link alcohol consumption to driving. However, an analysis of the Formula One motorsport website identified three teams with alcohol company sponsorship agreements. In each of the three teams the sponsor’s alcohol brand is highly visible on driver and crew uniforms and on the team car. An Alcohol brand frequency analysis of audience exposure during the broadcast of the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix indicated that alcohol advertising was presented every five seconds over a two hour period. The race had a worldwide audience of 500 million people. The authors of this report concluded that F1 racing has the highest level of alcohol brand exposure of any sports event. They argue that such exposure contradicts the spirit of the current EU regulations on alcohol marketing.
- The 'Loi Evin': a French exception, Regaud A and Craplet M, Institute of Alcohol Studies, (2004). In 1991 the French Parliament passed the Loi Evin, legislation that controls the advertising of alcohol. Although the impact of advertising legislation (by itself) is difficult to assess, there has been an overall decline of average alcohol consumption among the adult French population from 30 litres of pure alcohol per capita in 1960 to 13 litres in 2004.
- Do UK television alcohol advertisements abide by the Code of Broadcast Advertising rules regarding the portrayal of alcohol?, Searle R, Alston D and French D, Alcohol and Alcoholism, Volume 49(4), (2014). This study assessed the extent to which members of the UK general public perceive television alcohol advertisements to comply with the existing code of practice (BCAP Code). Survey results from a large sample of adults indicated that 75% of the public felt that existing television advertising does, in fact, breach the BCAP Code. This suggests that the current alcohol and advertising industry self-regulatory system is inadequate.
- Digital Guiding Principles: Self-regulation of marketing communications for beverage alcohol International Center for Alcohol Policies, (2014). Marketing codes of practice vary according to country and product and reflect local culture, lifestyle, traditions, and national contexts. This document provides guidance for the alcohol beverage industry to develop responsible marketing and communications strategies which apply specifically to digital media.
- Defining strategies for promoting product through ‘drink responsibly’ messages in magazine ads for beer, spirits and alcopops, Clegg-Smith K, Cukier S, and Jernigan D, Drug and Alcohol Dependence , Volume 142, pp.168-173, (2014). In the United States, neither federal regulations nor industry voluntary codes require ‘responsibility’ statements in alcohol advertising. Public service campaigns may even contain subtle pro-drinking themes. This research analysed ‘responsibility statements’ placed in conventional alcohol advertising to consider how responsible drinking is presented, and potential communicative goals for responsibility messages. Analysis revealed that 87% of the alcohol advertisements included in national magazines from 2008 to 2010 had a responsibility message. However, messages never defined ‘responsible drinking’ or promoted abstinence. No link was made between warnings and activities conveyed in the advertisements. The authors concluded that ‘responsibility’ messages were overwhelmingly used to promote product rather than convey relevant public health information. Based on this analysis, existing responsibility messages are largely ineffective at conveying relevant public health information, and should be supplemented or replaced by cognitively tested warnings that do not reinforce marketing messages.
Alcohol in the sporting environment
Over time an underlying relationship has evolved (whether actual or perceived) between being a sports fan and a beer drinker. Breweries have capitalised on this tacit relationship and invested in sponsorship of sporting organisations, teams, and events.
Clubs Australia, representing over 4000 community based organisations, support a wide range of sporting organisations as part of their community activities. Most of these clubs also have a commercial interest in the provision of food and beverage (including alcohol). An even larger number of individual sports clubs, such as bowls clubs, tennis clubs, football clubs, etc. derive income from being licenced to serve alcohol. Therefore, the availability of alcohol within many sporting environments is the norm; alcoholic beverages are available to spectator and participants within legal limitations.
- Alcohol sponsorship of community football clubs: the current situation Sawyer A, Wolfenden L, Kennedy V, et.al, Health Promotion Journal of Australia, Volume 23, (2012). A common source of sponsorship for community football clubs in Australia involves in the sale or supply of alcohol. Given a high prevalence of excessive alcohol consumption among contact team sports, particularly among young male sports people; and the access sport settings provide to large numbers of adults, sporting clubs become a promising setting for the implementation of health promotion initiatives to reduce excessive alcohol consumption. This study explored the associations between community football club characteristics (e.g. football code, size, location and socioeconomic descriptors) and alcohol industry sponsorship and type of alcohol sponsorship (e.g. money, free or discounted alcohol).
- Is alcohol and community sport a good mix? Alcohol management, consumption and social capital in community sports clubs, Rowland B, Wolfenden L, Gillham K, Kingsland M, Richardson B and Wiggers J, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, Volume 39(3), (2015). This study assessed whether a sporting club's alcohol management strategies were related to risky alcohol consumption by members and the perception of safety within the club. A total of 723 sports club members from 33 community football clubs in New South Wales completed a survey and a management representative from each club reported on the club's implementation of 11 alcohol management practices. The results identified that having the bar open for more than four hours, having alcohol promotions, and serving intoxicated patrons were associated with increased risky alcohol consumption while at the club. This in turn was associated with the perception of lower levels of club safety and reduced member participation in club activities. The authors concluded that by changing alcohol management practices there could be benefits to the club, such as improved perception of safety and more inclusive participation.
- The Culture and Context of Alcohol use in Community Sporting Clubs in Australia: Research into ‘Attitudes’ and ‘Behaviour’ Duff C, Scealy M and Rowland B, Centre for Youth Drug Studies, Australian Drug Foundation, (2005). This study looked at the relationship between alcohol and sport in Australian society. It is the first of its kind to attempt a systematic audit of alcohol use in community level sporting clubs, as well as surveying the various attitudes that club members have in relation to alcohol use.
- Alcohol and community football in Australia, Nicholson M, Hoye R and Brown K, International Review for the Sociology of Sport, Volume 49, Number 3-4, (2014). This research looked at spectators’ alcohol use at a regional community football club (Australian Rules) in Victoria, in the context of a season-long trial to sell only mid-strength beer at the ground during home games. Qualitative data supported the idea that the trial had been successful in terms of supporter acceptance of reducing the consumption of full-strength beer. This also helped to support a ‘family friendly’ culture within the club. While the results of this evaluation are positive, the club’s particular culture and leadership suggest that similar results may not automatically transfer to other club settings where more ‘traditional’ drinking patterns (i.e. full-strength beer) are associated with ‘masculinity’ and alcohol use may be more persistent and prevalent.
- Alcohol consumption and sport: a cross-sectional study of alcohol management practices associated with at-risk alcohol consumption at community football clubs, Kingsland M, e.al., BMC Public Health, Volume 13, (16 August 2013). There has been limited research investigating the predictors of at-risk alcohol consumption in sporting settings, particularly at the non-elite level. The purpose of this study was to examine the association between the alcohol management practices and characteristics of community football clubs and at-risk alcohol consumption by club members. The findings of this study suggest that a number of modifiable alcohol management practices are associated with at-risk alcohol consumption by community sport club members, and that risky consumption is more likely to occur in small clubs and in specific football codes.
- Tackling risky alcohol consumption in sport: a cluster randomised controlled trial of an alcohol management intervention with community football clubs, Kingsland M, et.al., Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, (2 June 2015). Sports clubs and venues represent opportune settings to implement risk management strategies to reduce or manage alcohol consumption. This study examined the effectiveness of alcohol consumption intervention strategies in reducing risky alcohol consumption and the risk of alcohol-related harm. The assessment was conducted on non-elite community football clubs and their members in New South Wales.
The impact of alcohol advertising
Australians are now exposed to an extensive amount of alcohol advertising through a variety of traditional media, digital media, promotional activities, and sports sponsorships. Evidence indicates that Australian adolescents are exposed to almost the same level of alcohol advertising as adults.
VicHealth, among many other health promotion organisations, has highlighted the available evidence that looks at the volume of television advertising during sporting events and the potential exposure to 'unhealthy' products, such as alcoholic beverages.
- Alcohol and junk food advertising and promotion through sport – research highlights VicHealth, (2014). Major health risk factors for disease and the problems related to alcohol and junk food consumption are both considerable, and of global concern. There is also a large body of evidence that television advertising is a significant influence on the values, attitudes, and behaviours of children and young people. The findings of research undertaken in both Australia and abroad show that attitudes and assumptions about drinking alcohol are not only shaped by the content of advertising, but also by the sheer volume and variety of marketing. Key findings highlighted in this fact sheet:
1. television viewers are exposed to a higher volume of junk food and alcohol advertising during sports broadcasts than during other programming;
2. 45.7% of all junk food advertisements and 49.5% of all alcohol advertisements broadcast during the period July 2010 and January 2011 were shown during sports broadcasts; this is despite the fact that sports broadcasts made up just 29% of all programming;
3. when comparing in-game (ground and uniform signage) and TV-break advertising, it was clear that viewers had significantly more time exposure to alcohol, junk food and sugary drink products through in-game advertising than they did during TV-break advertising;
4. the average in-game advertising time of alcohol, junk food and sugary drink products was 8% during Test Cricket, 16.4% for One Day International Cricket and 61.3% for Twenty-20 Cricket broadcasts during the cricket season. The average in-game advertising time for these products during Australian Football League (AFL) broadcasts was 12%.
- Alcohol sponsorship and its impact on sports participants’ consumption, Kelly S, Ireland M and Mangan J, Sport in Society, (22 August 2016). This study investigated the impact of alcohol sponsorship on Australian sportspeople, using a national survey of 2367 persons representing a range of club and professional sports. The results show an association between alcohol sponsorship of sport and increased alcohol consumption, and a preference for the sponsored alcohol brands by those sportspeople.
- Association between alcohol sports sponsorship and consumption: A systematic review, Brown K, Alcohol and Alcoholism, 51(2), (2016). This review looks at published research on the relationship between exposure to alcohol sports sponsorship and alcohol consumption. Seven studies met inclusion criteria for this review, presenting data on 12,760 adult participants from Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Poland. All studies report positive associations between exposure to alcohol sports sponsorship and self-reported alcohol consumption, but the statistical significance of results varied. These findings corroborate the results of previous systematic reviews that reported a positive association between exposure to alcohol marketing and alcohol consumption. Because children watch sports where such sponsorship is evident, the relationship between alcohol sponsorship and consumption behaviour among adults also raises concerns about children’s behaviour formation. Further research into the effectiveness of restrictions on alcohol sports sponsorship in reducing harmful drinking is required.
- Child and adolescent exposure to alcohol advertising in Australia's major televised sports, Carr S, O’Brien K, Ferris J, Room R, Livingston M, Vandenberg B, Donovan R, Lynott D, Drug and Alcohol Review, (14 September 2015). This study examines child, adolescent and young adult exposure to alcohol advertising during 2012 for three televised sports: Australian Football League (AFL), Cricket and the National Rugby League (NRL). Exposure to alcohol advertising was captured during daytime programming (6:00am to 8:30pm) and at night (8:30-midnight). There were 3544 alcohol advertisements overall; 1942 in AFL, 941 in Cricket, and 661 in NRL programs. This represents 60% of all alcohol advertising in sport TV, and 15% of all alcohol advertisements on Australian TV. These programs had a cumulative audience of 26.9 million children and adolescents, and 32 million young adults. Children and adolescents received 51 million exposures to alcohol advertising, with 47% of this exposure occurring during the daytime. Children and adolescents exposure to alcohol advertising was similar to young adults and peaked after 8.30pm. The authors conclude that current voluntary alcohol advertising regulations are not protecting children and adolescents from exposure, particularly in prominent televised sports.
- 'Most men drink... especially like when they play sports' - alcohol advertising during sporting broadcasts and the potential impact on child audiences. Jones, S. C., Phillipson, L. and Barrie, L. R., Journal of Public Affairs, Volume 10(1-2), pp.59-73, (2010). This paper reviews the current alcohol advertising regulations in Australia, particularly in reference to the protection of children. It then details a pair of studies designed to examine the extent and nature of alcohol advertising during sporting telecasts, and the potential effects on young people. The authors conclude that although larger studies and more research are required the current evidence suggests that there is a need for a more comprehensive monitoring and review of alcohol advertising during sport, and consideration of a broader review of the current Commercial TV Code (2004) and the ABAC (2004). They also suggest that industry self-regulatory processes are not effective in limiting exposure of younger audiences to inappropriate alcohol advertising messages.
- Cued recall of alcohol advertising on television and underage drinking behavior, Tanski S, McClure A, Li Z, Jackson K, Morgenstern M and Sargent J, Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics (JAMA Pediatrics), (19 January 2015). This research examined the reach of television alcohol advertising and its effect on drinking behaviours among underage youth. Between 2011 and 2013, 2541 US adolescents, age 15 to 23, were surveyed and an ‘alcohol receptivity’ score was derived. The subjects were also surveyed on fast-food advertising to determine if differences occurred between alcohol and other advertising content. Among underage participants, the alcohol advertising receptivity score independently predicted the onset of drinking, the onset of binge drinking, and the onset of hazardous drinking. Fast-food advertising receptivity was not associated with any drinking outcome. The authors concluded that receptivity to television alcohol advertising predicted the transition to multiple drinking outcomes. The findings are consistent with the idea that marketing self-regulation has failed to keep television alcohol advertising from reaching large numbers of underage persons and affecting their drinking patterns and behaviours.
- The effect of alcohol advertising, marketing and portrayal on drinking behavior in young people: systematic review of prospective cohort studies, Smith L and Foxcroft D, BMC Public Health (2009). Seven cohort studies that followed-up on more than 13,000 young people aged 10 to 26 years old were reviewed. These studies evaluated a range of different alcohol advertisement and marketing exposures including print and broadcast media and looked at associated drinking behaviour. Data from these studies suggest there is an association between exposure to alcohol advertising or promotional activity and subsequent alcohol consumption in young people.
- Influences on how children and young people learn about and behave towards alcohol: A review of the literature for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (part one) Velleman R, University of Bath (2009). This review of literature looks at how families, and in particular children and young people, learn about and behave toward alcohol. The review of research focuses on (1) key family processes which influence the development of knowledge and attitudes toward alcohol; (2) the process of peer influence; (3) the influence of marketing and cultural representations of alcohol, and; (4) other forces, such as ethnicity, race, religion, school, community, socioeconomic status and other cultural factors. The general evidence indicates that direct advertising, media representations, and product placement of alcohol does influence the development of young people’s knowledge, attitudes, and subsequent behaviour. Research shows that young people develop alcohol expectancies (beliefs about the effects of alcohol) before ever having direct experience with alcohol; the formation of attitudes emerges very early. When looking at the relative weight of each of the four areas, there are contradictory results and less consensus in the literature on what factors (e.g. personal, social, religious, etc.) have the greatest influence.
- Annual Alcohol Poll 2020: attitudes and behaviours, Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE), (2020).
The impact of alcohol advertising National Foundation for Alcohol Prevention in the Netherlands, (2007). This report provides evidence to support stronger regulation to protect young people from the effects of exposure to alcohol advertising. The report concludes that alcohol advertising manipulates adolescents’ vulnerability by shaping their attitudes, perceptions and expectancies about alcohol use, which then influences their decision to drink. This vulnerability is exacerbated by the enormous exposure to commercial communications, not only through traditional media but through social media. The report concludes, “Alcohol advertisements increase the likelihood of young people starting to drink, the amount they drink, and the amount they drink on any one occasion." (p.11)
Other US-based studies concluded that the volume of advertisements and media exposure increase the likelihood of young people starting to drink, the amount they drink, and the amount they drink on any one occasion. These findings are similar to those which demonstrated the impact that tobacco advertising once had on smoking behaviour. It is not surprising, given that increased advertising exposure is intended to shape behaviour. US and Dutch research both emphasise that theoretical evidence would suggest that educational strategies designed to counteract the influence of advertising exposure may not be enough, because the environment contains so many competing messages.
- The relationship between brand-specific alcohol advertising on television and brand-specific consumption among underage youth, Ross C, et.al., Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, Volume 38(8), pp.2234-2242, (2014). This research from the USA investigated the relationship between underage drinkers' preferences for particular brands and their exposure to advertising for those brands on television. The conclusion was made that any exposure was associated with an increased likelihood of brand-specific consumption, after controlling for several individual and brand-level variables. When measured as a continuous variable, the relationship between advertising exposure and brand consumption was nonlinear, with a large association at lower levels of exposure and diminishing incremental effects as the level of exposure increased. There is a robust relationship between youth's brand-specific exposure to alcohol advertising on television and their consumption of those same alcohol brands during the past 30 days. This study provides further evidence of a strong association between alcohol advertising and youth drinking behaviour.
The effects of online marketing on drinking behaviour s of young people, European Centre for Monitoring Alcohol Marketing, (2013). This summary provides a review of literature of both short-term and longitudinal studies on the affects of alcohol sponsorship and advertising on the consumption habits and attitudes of youth. Some of the conclusions include:
- 12-year olds who are highly exposed to alcohol advertising are 50% more likely to start drinking a year later compared to 12 year olds who are lightly exposed to alcohol advertising;
- youngsters who watch 60% more alcohol advertisements on television than average are 44% more likely to have consumed beer, 34% more likely to have consumed wine or hard liquor, and 26% more likely to have consumed three or more drinks during a single occasion;
- youngsters who are highly exposed to alcohol commercials will drink more alcohol when they are in their twenties;
- the impulsivity and self-consciousness of youngsters make them more vulnerable to advertising, more eager to purchase heavily promoted products, and to choose products which are associated with a desired image.
Social media and alcohol advertising
Social media has become an increasingly important communication and promotion tool that sports have embraced. Sports fans (consumers) can follow and engage with their favourite sports and sportspeople via social media platforms. Sports sponsors have an opportunity to put their brand or products forward in the social media environment – one that is generally not regulated by legislation or voluntary practice.
- Merging sport and drinking cultures through social media, Smith A, Westberg K, Stavros C, Munro G and Argus K, Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, (2015). This study identifies and explores how alcohol brands are using social media to connect sport’s identity, culture, and camaraderie with alcohol consumption. It also identifies the main strategies used by alcohol companies to achieve interaction and social activation with consumers. The focus was primarily on the major alcohol brands sponsoring the Australian Football League (AFL), the National Rugby League (NRL), and Australian Cricket during the latter part of 2013 and throughout much of 2014. In total six beer brands, eight wine brands and three spirit brands were considered to be involved in sport sponsorship across the sports considered, although not all of these brands engaged in social media activities to leverage their association. The social media platforms most commonly used by the identified alcohol brands were Facebook and Twitter, but the complementary use of other forms of digital media, such as applications (‘apps’), to increase consumer engagement was noted. YouTube also featured in links from Facebook and Twitter to showcase advertisements created by the brands, having sport-relate themes that were used to promote their products.
- An examination of how alcohol brands use sport to engage consumers on social media, Kate Westberg, Constantino Stavros, Aaron C.T. Smith, et.al. Drug and Alcohol Review, Volume 37(1), pp.28-35, (January 2018). Sport-linked social media strategies utilised by alcohol brands extend beyond just promoting their product. They seek higher levels of engagement with the consumer to amplify and augment the connection between alcohol and the sport spectator experience. These sport-alcohol-social-media strategies are described as ‘calls to action’ because they seek to stimulate consumers to actively engage with the brand, rather than passively receiving a brand message. The calls to action are: (1) call to compete – leveraging the competitive nature of sport, this strategy attempts to engage consumers through promotional competitions often displaying both sport and alcohol branding; (2) call to collaborate – this strategy actively pursues a higher level of engagement with consumers through co-creation of content, using sport as a common language; (3) call to celebrate – using sporting victory and shared camaraderie, this strategy seeks to embed alcohol as an integral part of celebrating sporting achievement; and (4) call to consume – beyond celebration, this strategy seeks to normalise alcohol consumption as part of the overall sport experience. These strategies allow alcohol brands to extend their marketing efforts in a manner which can elude alcohol codes and prove difficult for regulators to identify and control.
The framework of social activation strategies used by alcohol brands in leveraging their associations with sport, and the messages they embed to maximise the effectiveness of these strategies, suggests that existing regulatory policies will struggle to interrupt the cultural blurring between drinking and sport. Because conventional advertising is unidirectional, it can be more easily controlled by codes of practice. However, social media actively seeks to diffuse messages and engage the consumer in the co-creation of content, making this medium invulnerable to most forms of existing market regulation.
Breaking the code: Alcohol, Facebook and self-regulation, Carah N, Brodmerkel S and Shaul M, Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, (May 2015). This report builds on other studies of the activity of the top twenty alcohol brands on Facebook in Australia during 2012 and the number of complaints made to the Advertising Standards Board about the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code. This report examines content posted by alcohol brands to Facebook following a landmark decision that upheld a complaint in 2012 to determine compliance with that decision. This report poses three key research questions: (1) are the breaches of the code seen in the 2012 ruling more widely evident on Australian Facebook pages of alcohol brands; (2) are alcohol brands complying with their own self-regulatory codes in light of the decisions by the ASB and ABAC in 2012; and (3) are the current regulatory codes appropriate for regulating alcohol brand activity on Facebook? This study found a total of 76 regulatory breaches which included:
- content which encouraged, normalised and even celebrated excessive alcohol consumption;
- use of highly inappropriate or offensive language;
- vilifying comments;
- sexist sentiments;
- content implying that alcohol consumption causes a significant change in mood or environment, and social prowess;
- images of consumers who appear to be under the age of 25 (the age recommended by alcohol advertising codes in Australia).
The study also examined Facebook content not currently covered by advertising codes, including the use of consumer participation that may prompt consumers to promote excessive consumption. The report makes seven recommendations for researchers, policy-makers and the industry to consider.
The ethics of alcohol advertising and sponsorship
There are two major questions confronting the sporting community regarding its current relationship with alcohol manufacturers and retailers as sponsors of sports organisations, teams, and events; or advertisers at sporting venues and within sporting broadcasts.
- Does the advertising of alcohol products within a sporting environment increase the likelihood of alcohol consumption; particularly among young people?
- Does alcohol sponsorship of sporting organisations represent an ethical dilemma in the delivery of health messages through sport?
Confounding the debate on alcohol sponsorship of sport, there are no clear criteria regarding which products should (or should not) be linked to the values of sport. Sporting organisations have traditionally seen themselves as positive agents for health, physical activity, and personal wellbeing. Any direct or indirect link between these sporting values and a brand image associated (to some degree) with negative health, physical activity, and personal wellbeing outcomes can be confusing.
- Unhealthy product sponsorship of Australian national and state sports organisations, Macniven R, Kelly B and King L, Health Promotion Journal of Australia, Volume 26, (2015). Marketing of products that (under some circumstances) may be harmful to the health of children occurs across multiple media platforms and in several settings, including organised sport. This potentially undermines the health benefits inherent in sports participation. This study investigated the nature and extent of unhealthy food, beverage, alcohol, and gambling sponsorship across peak Australian sporting organisations. There was a total of 413 websites operated by the 53 sports, with 1,975 company or product sponsors identified. Overall, 39 sports had at least one unhealthy sponsor, and 10% of all sponsors were rated as unhealthy. Cricket had the highest percent of unhealthy sponsors (27%) and the highest number of unhealthy food and beverage sponsors (n = 19). Rugby Union (n = 16) had the highest number of alcohol sponsors.
Some people may argue that sports sponsorship from the alcohol industry is disingenuous because of the adverse health outcomes related to alcohol consumption. There are inconsistencies that arise in messages that sports advertising and sponsorship seem to convey when unhealthy products, such as beer and junk food, are promoted by sports personalities, organisation, teams, or in a sporting environment. Sporting organisations that attract alcohol sponsorship may need to consider the health risks of the product in the same way they considered, and then rejected, tobacco sponsorship as an ethical decision. Public opinion is still mixed, but many people and organisations advocating good health view alcohol advertising in sport as an ethical issue and not solely an economic decision.
Because many community sports clubs rely on alcohol sales and product sponsorship for their financial wellbeing, there are complex financial and ethical considerations associated with alcohol sponsorship and advertising. In 2009 VicHealth conducted a survey of the wider community to determine attitudes about ethical sponsorship. Other research has supported the notion that public opinion does not favour the association between alcohol and sport.
- VicHealth Community Attitude Survey on Healthy Community Sporting Environments, (2010). This survey provided evidence that the Victorian community supports a reduction in sports clubs’ reliance on alcohol and junk food sales and sponsorship. The survey reported that 40% of respondents were opposed to the sale of alcohol at community sports clubs, and 83% would support the removal of alcohol sponsorship if adequate alternative support could be found.
- Aussie parents say no to alcohol advertising in sport, FARE media release, (23 January 2018). The poll, undertaken by YouGov Galaxy and commissioned by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) found that the majority of Australian parents (73 per cent) believe that alcohol advertising and sponsorship is reinforcing Australia’s harmful drinking culture.
- Time to cut the ties between alcohol and sport Donovan R, Professor of Behavioural Research, Curtin University, The Conversation, (21 June 2013). Momentum is growing for a ban on alcohol advertising during live sports broadcasts, after Western Australian Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan lambasted the alcohol industry at a national alcohol forum for exposing young viewers to dangerous levels of advertising that normalise and glamorise drinking.
- Alcohol industry sponsorship associated with more hazardous drinking among sportspeople, Deakin University Research Communications , (15 February 2011). Deakin University researcher, Dr Peter Miller, says that any sporting association serious about the well-being of young people should support calls for governments to provide alternative funding to sponsorships offered by the alcohol industry. His research provides evidence that receipt of alcohol industry sponsorship in various forms was associated with significantly higher levels of drinking among sports people. The research comes on the back of recent recommendations from the British Medical Association, Australian Preventative Health Taskforce, and New Zealand Law Commission to have alcohol advertising and sponsorship removed from sport in much the same way as tobacco was decades ago.
- Eat, drink and gamble: marketing messages about 'risky' products in an Australian major sporting series, Lindsay S, Thomas S, Lewis S, Westberg K, Moodie R and Jones S, BMC Public Health, Volume 13, (2013). Using the Australian National Rugby League 2012 State of Origin three-game series, the authors conducted a content analysis of the frequency, duration, placement and content of advertising strategies for alcohol, gambling, and unhealthy food products during a nationally televised, free to air, sporting series. During the 2012 State of Origin series the majority of advertising on free to air broadcasts featured alcohol products. The average per game exposure was 66.29 minutes of alcohol marketing; 8.72 minutes of gambling marketing; and 2.74 minutes of unhealthy food and beverage marketing. Content analysis revealed that there was a considerable embedding of product marketing within the match play, including within match commentary and replays. This study raises important ethical and health policy questions about the extent and impact of saturation and incidental marketing strategies on health and wellbeing, the transparency of embedded marketing strategies, and how these strategies may influence product consumption.
Ad Shame. This campaign represents the views of a coalition of groups that include: Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE); Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association (VAADA); Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC); The Parents' Jury; Alcohol Advertising Review Board (AARB); McCusker Centre for Alcohol on Alcohol and Youth (MCAAY); Cancer Council Victoria, and; Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre. The Ad Shame campaign is intended to showcase the ways in which the alcohol and junk-food industries regularly flout the rules when it comes to responsible advertising. The stated aim of the group is to show that self-regulation is not working, and changes are needed to ensure that regulation is introduced to protect children and young people from the harmful effects of alcohol and unhealthy food advertising.
End Alcohol Advertising in Sport. This campaign calls for alcohol advertising to be phased out of professional sports. It is an initiative by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE), supported by health organisations across Australia.
Alcohol use by athletes
There is ample evidence that alcohol consumption does not contribute to sporting performance. Alcohol consumption immediately before, during, or after exercise (depending upon the quantity consumed) may actually impair the performance and adaptation of most athletes. Alcohol consumption following exercise has been shown in many studies to inhibit recovery, and heavy alcohol consumption is likely to have a negative effect on general health and therefore, long-term sporting performance.
- Alcohol ingestion impairs maximal post-exercise rates of myofibrillar protein synthesis following a single bout of concurrent training, Parr E, Camera D, Areta J, Burke L, Phillips S, Hawley J and Coffey V, PLOS One, (12 February 2014). The culture in many team sports involves consumption of large amounts of alcohol after training or competition. The effect of such a practice on recovery processes underlying protein turnover in human skeletal muscle was the focus of this study. This study determined the effect of alcohol intake on rates of myofibrillar protein synthesis (MPS) following strenuous exercise, with the post-exercise consumption of either a protein drink or energy-matched carbohydrate drink, containing alcohol. This study demonstrated that alcohol consumption reduces rates of MPS following a bout of exercise, even when co-ingested with protein. The researchers concluded that alcohol ingestion suppresses the anabolic response in skeletal muscle and may therefore impair recovery and adaptation to training and/or subsequent performance.
- Effects of heavy episodic drinking on physical performance in club level rugby union players, Prentice C, Stannard S and Barnes M, Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, (26 April 2014). This study investigated the effects of acute alcohol consumption, in a natural setting, on exercise performance in the two days after the drinking episode. Reported alcohol consumption ranged from 6 to >20 standard drinks. A significant decrease in sleep hours was reported after the drinking episode with participants reporting only 1-3 hours for the night. A significant reduction in counter movement jump the morning after the drinking episode was observed compared to baseline. For this group, it was determined that regular alcohol consumption was at a hazardous level. Heavy episodic alcohol use, and associated reduced sleep hours, results in a reduction in lower body power output, but other measures of anaerobic performance were not affected. Full recovery from this behaviour was achieved two days post drinking episode.
There is also research looking at the dose-response of 'moderate' beer consumption during rehydration following non-exhaustive exercise in a hot environment; as well as research linking physical activity (generally) and alcohol consumption among adults.
- Effects of a moderate intake of beer on markers of hydration after exercise in the heat: a crossover study, Jimenez-Pavon D, Cervantes-Borunda M, Diaz L, et.al., Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, Volume 12, (2015). Alcohol may represent a serious drawback that can blunt beer’s rehydrating capacity and negatively affect the restoration of fluid balance, increasing the diuretic response in the body. However, a moderate intake of alcohol (2 drinks per day) has been shown in some studies to have health benefits. This study investigated the dose-response effect of consuming a ‘moderate’ amount of beer as part of a rehydration protocol following a short (less than one hour running at 60% of VO2max) bout of exercise in a hot laboratory setting. During the two hours following exercise, subjects used one of two hydration protocols; either consumption of mineral water alone or 660ml of standard strength beer (4.5% alcohol) and water; the study used a cross-over design with multiple trials. This study found that after exercise and subsequent water losses, a moderate beer intake (over a two hour rehydration period) had no deleterious effects on markers of hydration.
- Daily physical activity and alcohol use across the adult lifespan, Conroy D, Ram N, Pincus A, Coffman D, et.al., Health Psychology , Volume 34(6), (2015). While it is acknowledged that both physical activity (PA) and alcohol consumption can vary on a day-to-day basis, this study looked at whether established associations between PA and alcohol consumption represented coupled behaviours. A sample (N=150) of adults representing the lifespan (ages 19 to 89 years) completed a daily diary during a three week period. After controlling for age, sex, and seasonal influences; daily deviations in PA were significantly associated with daily total alcohol use. Once the within-person process linking PA and alcohol use was controlled, the results indicate that PA and alcohol consumption (particularly beer) are linked. The present study also suggests that daily within-person process linking PA and alcohol use, in a generally low-to-moderate risk population of drinkers, may be based on many criteria.
There is no conclusive evidence to suggest that alcohol consumption and sports participation are inextricability linked. Stainback, in his book Alcohol and Sport (1997), reported that extensive research in the US suggests athletes and non-athletes are similar in their attitudes toward alcohol use; alcohol use was seen as a social phenomenon and not a consequence of sports participation.
The Australian Drug Foundation publication, The Culture and Context of Alcohol Use in Community Sporting Clubs in Australia, reports that a number of studies suggest that risky levels of alcohol consumption are present within certain sports settings. The typical celebratory drinking session, team ‘bonding’, and other forms of social interaction lend themselves to the ethos of sport (particularly team sports). Many surveys and anecdotal reports suggest that drinking is part of Australian sporting culture, although inconsistencies exist in how quantity and frequency of alcohol consumption are measured and reported. Duff suggests that drinking behaviour is influenced by many sociological factors. “One factor that has been given particular attention is the implementation of a formal alcohol policy. It has been suggested that the lack of a formal alcohol policy in recreation settings nurtures a culture of excessive alcohol consumption, usually because the club has few established guidelines or expectations regarding more responsible alcohol consumption” (p. 21). Many of the strategies used by sporting organisations to deal with the detrimental influence of alcohol focus on developing guidelines for ‘acceptable’ alcohol use by athletes, based upon a harm minimisation and risk management approach. Sociological factors contributing to a positive ‘team culture’ are seen as supporting responsible alcohol use policies in a sporting environment.
The association between sports participation, alcohol use and aggression and violence: a systematic review, Sønderlund A, et. al., Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, Volume 17(1), (2014). This article reviewed the research literature on alcohol consumption patterns among sports participants and non-participants. The majority of the studies were from the US and focused on collegiate athletes, adolescents, and professional athletes. The available evidence indicates there are higher rates of alcohol use in some athlete populations. However, the relationship between sport participation and alcohol use appears to be contingent, to a degree, on many other contextual factors. This is likely due to the specific drinking culture, norms and expectations that exist within a certain sport, club or team. An over emphasis on masculinity and antisocial norms within a sport’s culture will stand out as potential risk factors that may impact upon the association between sport and alcohol consumption. Further, in research on alcohol-related violence among adolescents, high-frequency alcohol consumption (i.e. excess of 9 days per month) and high-volume alcohol consumption (at a single occasion) among athletes were significant predictors of alcohol-related violence.
Therefore, the culture that exists within a sport, club, or team may determine whether alcohol consumption by sportspeople becomes problematic.
Both the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) and Paralympics Australia (PA) have taken a position on the consumption of alcohol by athletes under their jurisdiction. The consumption of alcohol by athletes is restricted through the Team Agreement an athlete consents to, as a member of an Olympic/Paralympic Team.
- The Australian Olympic Team and alcohol, Position Statement, Australian Olympic Committee (adopted 14 November, 2013). The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) is committed to creating an Olympic Team environment which supports high performance and ensures that the highest standards of conduct are maintained by all Team members (athletes and officials) throughout the entire Games period. For all Team members selected on future Olympic Teams and Youth Olympic Teams, both Summer and Winter, the following restrictions will apply with respect of alcohol during the Games Period (as defined in the relevant Team Membership Agreement): (1) Team members are not permitted to be present in the Olympic Village or other designated Team locations if they are intoxicated and displaying conduct which may be inappropriate or disruptive to others; (2) The possession, service or consumption of alcohol by any Team member within the Olympic Village or other designated Team locations is not permitted. This includes the consumption of alcohol served by a third party such as other Olympic Teams; and (3) The consumption of alcohol on the Team Charter Flight returning to Australia is not permitted, a Team member who is intoxicated may be refused permission to board the Team Charter Flight. Prior to each edition of the Olympic Games (summer and winter) and Youth Olympic Games (summer and winter), the respective Chef de Mission will issue a direction to all Team members regarding the restrictions which will apply to the possession or consumption of alcohol. Each direction will include details of any sanctions to be applied. Failure to comply with the Chef de Mission’s direction will be regarded as a breach of the Team Membership Agreement. The Chef de Mission will determine in their sole and absolute discretion the sanction(s) to be applied to the offending Team member. These restrictions have been implemented to ensure that Australia’s Olympic athletes are given the opportunity to compete to the best of their ability and with distinction.
Programs to reduce alcohol related harm
- Good Sports helps sporting clubs manage alcohol responsibly and reduce alcohol related problems such as binge and underage drinking. One of the key benefits to clubs of registering in the free program is the support that they receive in changing the club culture. A Good Sports Project Officer can assist club committee members through the entire process.
- A New Game Plan: changing the alcohol focus in Australian sport, Australian Drug Foundation, (2012). In Australia, the prevalent culture of drinking in sporting clubs has impeded sport’s potential to make a difference. This culture really contradicts the purpose of sport – that is, to promote healthy people and strong communities. This publication is designed to help sports leaders, administrators and volunteers to implement a new game plan when it comes to alcohol – to truly realise their potential for success and minimise the harm that alcohol can cause. It uses a selection of case studies drawn from sport as best practice evidence of the efficacy of the Australian Drug Foundation’s programs.
Resources and reading
Access to resources
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- Alcohol and your performance, Calder A, Sports Official, Volume 8(2), (2010).
- 'Clinical Sports Nutrition', Burke L and Deakin V (fourth edition), McGraw-Hill, (2010). The authors note that alcohol is not an essential component of an athlete’s diet, but that there is a lack of evidence to suggest that very small amounts of alcohol consumption (in sensible quantities as a lifestyle choice) impaired performance.
- Australia: The healthiest country by 2020, Australian Government, Preventive Health Taskforce (2008). This discussion paper looks at the challenges facing Australian society in achieving major reductions in the diseases caused by obesity, tobacco and alcohol.
- The Impact of Alcohol Advertising: ELSA project report on the evidence to strengthen regulation to protect young people, Peter Anderson, National Foundation for Alcohol Prevention, the Netherlands, (2007). This report focuses on alcohol advertising. It shows that alcohol advertising is effective, it increases consumption and it contributes to a widespread problem for European societies: increasing consumption of alcohol by children and adolescents and a rising number of victims from the use of alcoholic beverages.
- The Royal Australasian College of Physicians and The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists Alcohol Policy, RACP and RANZCP (2016). This revised policy document provides evidence about the potential harmful effects of alcohol consumption and makes a number of recommendations, including these recommendations concerning sponsorship and advertising: (1) that the current self-regulatory approach to alcohol advertising in Australia and New Zealand should be changed to include statutory restrictions, including the enforcement of costly sanctions for breaches of the advertising code; (2) that the sponsorship of sporting events by the alcohol industry should be prohibited in Australia and New Zealand as a first step towards a model of alcohol advertising regulations which would phase out all alcohol promotions to young people, and; (3) that the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code should be amended to introduce mandatory warning label requirements for alcoholic beverages.
- Western Australian Health Promotion Strategic Framework 2012–2016, Government of Western Australia, Department of Health (2012). Alcohol use is embedded in the national culture and the majority of Western Australians consume alcohol at some level. Research shows that the greatest number of alcohol-related problems occur in people who often drink moderately but occasionally drink to harmful levels. Among WA secondary school children surveyed in 2011, 36% reported having consumed some amount of alcohol in the previous week, and 43% of those who drank reported that they drank alcohol with the aim of getting drunk. Community attitudes to drinking, alcohol availability, price, advertising, and role-modelling all influence the drinking behaviour of young people. Among the range of options for government to counter-act the influence of alcohol on young people are: pricing; regulation of access, advertising and promotion; public education; and appropriate treatment options.
- Alcohol consumption in sport: the influence of sporting idols, friends, and normative drinking practices, O’Brien K, Kolt G, Webber K. Kypri K, and Hunter J, Drug and Alcohol Review, Volume 29(6) (2010). Sports stars are touted as negative role models when it comes to drinking. Contrary to expectations high‐profile sportspeople were not perceived to be heavy drinkers and their perceived drinking was not predictive of others drinking.
- Alcohol and sport: can we have one without the other? Jones S, Phillipson L, and Lynch M, University of Wollongong, Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, (2006). This paper examines the nature and effects of alcohol advertising and promotion of sporting events and teams. It concludes that in Australia it remains difficult to have any involvement in sport – as a participant or a fan – without being exposed to a strong message that alcohol and sport are inextricably linked.
- Alcohol industry sponsorship and hazardous drinking among sportspeople, O'Brien K and Kypri K, Addiction, Volume 103 (2008). A sample of participants representing various sporting codes were asked whether they personally or their team or club received free and/or discounted alcohol or sponsorship from an alcohol industry body (e.g. pub, brewery, wholesaler); how much they received; and whether they felt they should drink their sponsor's product. Drinking behaviour was assessed with the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test. This study found that alcohol industry sponsorship of sportspeople, and in particular the provision of free or discounted alcoholic beverages, is associated with hazardous drinking behaviours.
- Alcohol industry sponsorship and hazardous drinking in UK university sport, O'Brien K, Alcohol Research UK (2014). This research looked at whether alcohol industry sponsorship was associated with problematic drinking among university sportspeople in the United Kingdom. A sample of over 2000 sportspeople representing 15 different sports were surveyed to determine their drinking behaviours. The results showed that participants who received alcohol-related sponsorship in their university sports were more likely to consume more alcohol than sportspeople not receiving such sponsorship. Receipt of alcohol sponsorship was also associated with more hazardous drinking behaviour and alcohol dependence. Within the sporting group receiving alcohol sponsorship, some sports actively approached sponsors and some were offered unsolicited sponsorship from the industry. There were no statistical differences in alcohol consumption or hazardous drinking behaviour between these two groups receiving alcohol sponsorship.
- Alcohol-related aggression and antisocial behaviour in sportspeople/athletes, O’Brien K, Kolt G, Martens M, Ruffmane T, Millerf P and Lynott D, Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, Volume 15(4) (2011). This study collected data from male Australian university sportspeople. Participants and a suitable non-athlete control group completed questionnaires on alcohol consumption and aggressive, antisocial behaviours when intoxicated. Participants also reported whether they had been the victim of similar aggressive or antisocial behaviours. Consistent with studies from the US, alcohol-related aggressive and antisocial behaviours were greater in male Australian university sportspeople/athletes when compared to non-sporting counterparts. The researchers suggested a need for further research to determine the interaction between alcohol, contextual and cultural aspects of sport, and sport participants.
- Drinking by professional Australian Football League (AFL) players: prevalence and correlates of risk, Dietze P, Fitzgerald J and Jenkinson R, Medical Journal of Australia, Volume 189(9), pp.479-483, (2008). This study examined the self-reported patterns of alcohol consumption and the experience of alcohol-related harms among professional Australian Football League (AFL) players. Alcohol consumption varied at different times of the year. During the playing season (approximately 22 weeks), the level of risky alcohol consumption was typically lower than in age-matched Australian men in the general population. However, risky consumption patterns were higher in AFL players during the off-season period as compared to the population controls. Formal club rules on alcohol consumption had little effect on outcome measures.
- The Impact of Alcohol Sponsorship in Sport Upon University Sportspeople, Kelly S, Ireland M, Alpert F and Mangan J, Journal of Sport Management, Volume 28 (2014). An online survey was conducted to examine the possible association between alcohol sponsorship of sports and Australian university sportspeople’s alcohol consumption patterns and attitudes toward sponsoring brands. Positive attitudes towards alcohol sponsorship in sport correlated with dangerously excessive (i.e. binge) drinking. Key findings: (1) one-third (33%) of sportspeople surveyed reported that they were sponsored by the alcohol industry; (2) direct-to-user alcohol industry sponsorship in the form of vouchers, prizes and product was associated with alcohol use; (3) sportspeople reported that they were more likely to consume the sponsors’ products; and (4) some social norms associated with sport, such as pressure to drink with teammates were also associated with disordered consumption.
- The Regulation of Alcohol Marketing: From Research to Public Health Policy.& Addiction, Volume 112, Supplement S1, pp.1-127 (January 2017). This supplement was published with financial support from Alcohol Research UK and the Institute of Alcohol Studies. Using a broad public health perspective to describe the issues surrounding the marketing of alcoholic beverages, the papers in this Supplement provide a wealth of information to support renewed action by governments to control alcohol marketing with statutory measures, independent of the alcohol industry's self-regulatory programs, implemented and monitored by governments and/or civil society organizations with a primary interest in public health and the prevention of alcohol problems. To the extent that remedial action is needed urgently, the way forward is described clearly in the concluding paper to this Supplement.
- Restricting or banning alcohol advertising to reduce alcohol consumption in adults and adolescents, Siegfried N, Pienaar D, Ataguba J, et.al., Cochrane Library , Drugs and Alcohol Group, (4 November 2014). This review looks at the question of whether banning or restricting the advertising of alcohol in all forms will lead to people drinking less alcohol. The form of the ban could include all media platforms. There is also the question of whether banning advertisements may cause harm if governments lose tax revenue due to the reduced sale of alcohol. The overall quality of available evidence was considered low, there were few random controlled trials and other methodological problems existed in the studies examined in this review. Most studies included men only and results were not precise. This review cannot recommend for or against banning alcohol advertising based upon the evidence. More suitable research is required to build the evidence base over time.
- Sport participation and alcohol and illicit drug use in adolescents and young adults: A systematic review of longitudinal studies, Kwan M, Bobko S, Faulkner G, et.al., Addictive Behaviors, Volume 39(3), pp.497-506, (2014). A systematic review of 17 longitudinal studies was conducted, examining the relationship between sport participation and alcohol and drug use among adolescents. Analysis of the data indicated that sport participation is associated with alcohol use, with 82% of the studies showing a significant positive relationship. However, sport participation appears to be related to reduced illicit drug use, especially use of non-cannabis related drugs.
- Sporting clubs, alcohol and young people: Enduring tensions and emerging possibilities, Hickey C, Kelly, P, Cormack, S, et. al. ACHPER Healthy Lifestyles Journal, Volume 56(1), pp.17-21, (2009). This qualitative, interview-based project examined two separate but related aspects of young people's alcohol use: the roles played by sporting clubs, as community hubs, in shaping young people's use of alcohol: and young people's drinking biographies over different phases of their lives. This paper will focus on the sporting club study to discuss issues related to the positioning and serving of alcohol in the relation to young people. As part of the study, we conducted interviews with club administrators and young people in a range of sporting clubs. Insights from the study give rise to the potential for clubs to play an active and influential role in helping young people create positive/responsible approaches to alcohol consumption.
- Tackling risky alcohol consumption in sport: a cluster randomised controlled trial of an alcohol management intervention with community football clubs, Kingsland M, Wolfenden L, Tindall J, Rowland B, et.al., Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, (2 June 2015). Some research has identified the increased prevalence of risky alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm by members of sporting groups and at sporting venues, compared with non-sporting populations. This study examined the effectiveness of an alcohol management intervention in reducing risky alcohol consumption and the risk of alcohol-related harm among community football club members in New South Wales. The intervention program used in this study was based on an existing alcohol management intervention program, Good Sports. Eighty-eight clubs participated in the trial; 43 clubs receiving an intervention program and 45 clubs serving as a control. Separate cross-sectional samples of club members were surveyed pre and post intervention (N=1411). The results indicated that the intervention group showed a significantly lower proportion of club members reporting risky alcohol consumption at the club, a reduced risk of alcohol-related harm, reduced ‘risky’ alcohol consumption and possible alcohol dependence.
- An Unhealthy Co-Dependence: The Relationship between Alcohol Sponsorship and Cricket in Australia, Jones S, University of Wollongong, Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, (2007). Originally published in the Proceedings of the Australian and New Zealand Marketing Academy (ANZMAC) Conference, 2007. This paper examines the effects of the alcohol industry sponsorship in the sport of Cricket.
- Vested interests in addiction research and policy. Alcohol brand sponsorship of events, organizations and causes in the United States, 2010-2013, Belt O, Stamatakos K, Ayers A, Fryer V, et.al., Addiction, Volume 109(12), pp.1977-1985, (2014). This study looked at the alcohol industry's use of corporate sponsorship as a marketing tool; the nature and extent of alcohol sponsorship at the brand level in the United States. The top 75 brands of alcohol consumed by underage drinkers were identified based on a previously conducted national survey. For each of these brands, a systematic search for sponsorships was conducted. This study identified 945 sponsorships during the study period for these brands. The most popular youth brands were far more likely to engage in sponsorship of sports, music, the arts and entertainment. Therefore, alcohol brand sponsorship must be viewed as a major alcohol marketing strategy that generates brand capital through positive associations with integral aspects of culture, creation of attractive brand personalities, and identification with specific market segments.
- Lessons from the removal of tobacco sponsorship from sport. FARE Australia, YouTube, (17 September 2017). A couple of decades back tobacco advertising was plastered across Australian sports events. Then a rugby league club President spoke out. David Hill led the North Sydney Bears, and wanted an end to tobacco sponsorship. He told Di Martin it’s a story of power, influence and bullying by an industry that controlled the way we thought about sport. Like the name of the rugby league competition.