Alcohol Sponsorship and Advertising in Sport

Alcohol Sponsorship and Advertising in Sport        
Prepared by  Prepared by: Dr Ralph Richards and Christine May, Senior Research Consultants, Clearinghouse for Sport, Sport Australia
evaluated by  Evaluation by: Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth), Alcohol Programs Group (July 2016)
Reviewed by  Reviewed by network: Australian Sport Information Network (AUSPIN)
Last updated  Last updated: 18 October 2018
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Alcohol sponsorship of sporting organisations, teams and events—as well as advertising of alcohol products during sporting events (including venue and broadcast advertising)—pose unresolved ethical questions because of the health and social risks associated with alcohol consumption. 

Key Messages 


Alcohol product sponsorship of sporting organisations, teams, and events can be viewed from an ethical and a health perspective.


The association of alcohol products with sports and sportspeople can influence public perceptions and individual behaviour.


Industry codes of practice are viewed by some groups as ineffective.

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). 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 (PDF  - 3.5 MB), 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 2016 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 7.2% to 5.9%, 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 14.4 to 16.1 years of age since 1998.

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'.

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 (PDF  - 2.3 MB) 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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:

Alcohol marketing and advertising

The Australian Medical Association believes that the exposure of children and young people to alcohol marketing must be curtailed and has published a report that presents evidence on the risk factors associated with alcohol consumption and how the contemporary marketing environment has impacted upon the consumption patterns of Australian youth.  The report also reviews the current regulatory mechanisms and offers policy options.

Alcohol Marketing and Young People: Time for a new policy agenda (PDF  - 1.0 MB) Dobson C, Australian Medical Association (2012). Addressing the marketing and promotion of alcohol to young people is critical to formulating overall policies and strategy to deal with the risks.  Marketing efforts are increasingly sophisticated and multidimensional, integrating online and offline promotions, particularly in the sponsorship of music and sporting events, the distribution of branded merchandise, and the proliferation of new alcoholic brands and drink products. An extensive body of research indicates that alcohol marketing shapes young people’s attitudes and behaviours, encouraging them to take up drinking, and to drink more once they do. The findings of research undertaken in both Australia and abroad show that attitudes and assumptions about drinking are not only shaped by the content of advertising, but also by the sheer volume and variety of marketing. Existing policy and regulatory responses in Australia have proven inadequate and have failed to keep up with the pace and scope of change in the media and marketing environment. This report offers ten recommendations:

  1. The regulation of alcohol marketing and promotion, including as it relates to children and young people, should be statutory and independent of the alcohol and advertising industries. Experience in Australia and overseas demonstrates that self-regulation is not the answer.
  2. Meaningful sanctions for serious or persistent non-compliance with marketing regulations should be introduced, particularly where those regulations relate to children and young people.
  3. The sponsorship of sport by alcohol companies and brands should be phased out, with organisations encouraged and assisted to source socially responsible alternative funding.
  4. Sponsorship by alcohol companies and brands should be prohibited at youth, cultural, and musical events.
  5. Given the cumulative effects of marketing, regulations need to limit the volume or amount of alcohol marketing, as well as its content.
  6. The regulation of alcohol marketing should be expanded to incorporate point-of-sale promotions, branded merchandise, and new media and digital marketing, including marketing through social media, viral campaigns, mobile phones, and the use of data collection and behavioural profiling. Regulations should be sufficiently flexible to incorporate new and evolving digital marketing activities.
  7. The amount spent annually on marketing by leading alcohol companies should be publicly disclosed, including expenditure on social media, online video, mobile campaigns, events sponsorship, and product placement.
  8. Continuing research into the extent and impact of online and digital marketing, and the effectiveness of different regulatory approaches to this form of marketing.
  9. Options to develop a cross-border, international response to alcohol marketing should be pursued. The Framework Convention of Tobacco Control provides a possible model for global governance to control alcohol marketing. Examples of possible standard-setting mechanisms include World Health Organisation regulations, ISO standards and Codex Alimentarius Standards.
  10. Health education addressing alcohol consumption should build the critical media literacy of young people. 

Advocating for change in alcohol marketing and advertising

Many Australian organisations advocate for policies that demonstrate improved public health outcomes, particularly those policies that involve a reduction in alcohol consumption.

It's not fair play: why alcohol must leave sport (PDF  - 475 KB). McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth and Cancer Council Western Australia a report for Alcohol Advertising Review Board (AARB), (September 2017). In its five years of operation, the AARB received a substantial number of complaints about alcohol marketing related to sport, comprising around one-third of all complaints. This report highlights the extent of community concern around alcohol marketing and sport, and calls on the Federal Government to address this unhealthy association to protect children and young people. Some key findings include: 

  • Nine of the top 10 programs watched by children aged 0 – 17 years between April 2016 and March 2017 were sports-related. This included the AFL Grand Final, Rugby League Grand Final and matches/events from the Big Bash Cricket, and the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. 
  • Recent analysis found rugby league and cricket to have the highest visibility of alcohol promotion through sponsorship, naming rights, and alcohol logos on uniforms, fields/stadiums, and press conference backdrops. In 2017, 15 of the 18 AFL teams were sponsored by alcohol companies.
  • Based on a nationally representative sample of 1,050 Australian adults: 
    • 60% of Australian adults think it is not acceptable for alcohol to be promoted in connection with sport; only 20% think it is acceptable. 
    • 71% of Australian adults think it is not appropriate for alcohol ads to feature sport stars that are popular with children; only 12% think it is appropriate. 
    • 30% of Australian adults think popular sports such as AFL, NRL, and cricket are doing enough to promote healthy messages to the community.
    • 71% of Australian adults support using legal controls to reduce children’s exposure to alcohol promotion, with only 6% opposed.
    • 77% of Australian adults support phasing out TV ads for alcohol during sports broadcasts in children’s viewing times, with only 7% opposed.
    • 63% of Australian adults support phasing out the promotion of alcohol through sports sponsorship, with only 13% opposed.
    • Around two-thirds of the sport-related advertising complaints were about alcohol sponsorship of sport. 
The AARB report also calls on the Federal Government to:
  1. Phase out alcohol sponsorship of sport that exposes young people to alcohol promotion. A replacement fund to support sporting codes could be introduced using proceeds of alcohol tax reform.
  2. Amend the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice to prohibit alcohol advertising during sports broadcasts before 8.30pm on free-to-air TV. Equivalent controls should apply to subscription TV.
  3. Replace the current system of industry self-regulation with an independent, legislative framework for regulating all forms of alcohol marketing. 
It’s just not cricket: Alcohol sponsorships impacting children, Royal Australian College of Physicians (RACP), Media Release (22 January 2017). The RACP is calling for an end to alcohol sponsorships in cricket, with more than 20 alcohol-related sponsorships currently in effect across the sport in Australia. The RACP is concerned about the impact that alcohol promotion has on young cricket fans. Surveys have shown that 61% of Australians are concerned about the exposure of children to alcohol promotions in sport. RACP Paediatrics & Child Health Division President, Dr Sarah Dalton, says it’s unacceptable that young children are being bombarded with alcohol promotion both at the ground and at home watching on TV. “It is time for a national conversation to discuss how big brewers are using sport as a channel to market their product, leaving our children as the collateral damage,” explained Dr Dalton. Dr Dalton also criticised the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) who she says need to do more to ensure children are protected during sports broadcasts. “Sports are the only programs allowed to broadcast alcohol advertisements before 8:30pm, on weekends and public holidays, at times when children are most likely to be watching television. Because of this it’s estimated that children under the age of 18 are exposed to 50 million alcohol advertisements each year.”

Regulation of alcohol advertising: Policy options for Australia (PDF  - 475 KB), Jones S and Gordon R, Faculty of Social Sciences Papers, University of Wollongong Research Online (2013). Australian research has found that alcohol advertisements contain imagery and messages that young people interpret as suggesting that alcohol consumption will have positive psychological and social outcomes. This paper aims to provide clear information for policy makers on the effectiveness of Australia’s current system of regulating the content of alcohol advertising; and on how this differs from (or is consistent with) the systems of New Zealand, Canada, and the UK. This review suggests that given the wealth of evidence identifying associations between alcohol advertising and drinking behaviours, and the apparent limitations of the co-regulatory system operating in Australia and several other countries, policy makers in Australia and New Zealand should seriously consider the introduction of a comprehensive system of statutory regulation.

Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance. ACDPA is an organisation made up of five non-government health organisations who are working together to prevent chronic disease, with particular emphasis on the shared risk factors of poor nutrition, alcohol consumption, tobacco use, physical inactivity, overweight, and obesity.  Member organisations of the ACDPA are: Cancer Council Australia, Diabetes Australia. Kidney Health Australia, National Heart Foundation of Australia, and the National Stroke Foundation. One of five major recommendations made by the Alliance is a phase-out of alcohol sponsorship of sporting and cultural events. The Alliance also recommends that regulatory intervention is necessary because of the strong influence that advertising has on shaping young people’s attitudes toward drinking.

Alcohol Policy Coalition. The APC is made up of organisations having a shared concern about the harmful effects of alcohol, members of the Coalition include: Australian Drug Foundation, Cancer Council Victoria, Heart Foundation, and Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre. The Coalition advocates for evidence based policy development that may prevent or reduce the harms caused by alcohol.  The Coalition has also issued a policy statement.

The APC advocates for the introduction of legislation to restrict alcohol sponsorship of sporting and cultural events where those events appeal primarily to persons under the age of 25.  Such legislation would be phased-in over time; permitting existing sponsorship agreements to run their course and allowing event organisers to seek alternative sources of sponsorship.

Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education. FARE was established in 2001 through a grant from the Australian Government.  The Foundation’s aim is to distribute funding for programs and research targeting the harms caused by alcohol and illicit substance misuse.  FARE contributes to the evidence base by supporting research and advocates action to prevent alcohol-related harms. FARE maintains a research library of information on how alcohol impacts upon various segments of the population. The Foundation supports the need to replace the current quasi-regulatory system on alcohol advertising with an independent regulatory framework. They also advocate for reform of the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice and support the establishment of data collection on the alcohol industry's expenditure on marketing and sponsorship.

  • Alcohol Marketing During the 2018 Australian Football Grand Finals (PDF  - 747 KB),Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE), (October 2018). This report investigated the amount and type of alcohol marketing during the Australian Football League (AFL) grand final, played on 29 September 2018, and the National Rugby League (NRL) grand final, played on 30 September 2018. In the AFL grand final, 121 occurrences of alcohol marketing were identified across the 181 minutes of pre-game, game and post-game coverage analysed. This amounted to 0.7 occurrences per minute. In the NRL grand final, 376 occurrences of alcohol marketing were identified. This amounted to 2.9 per minute across the 131 minutes of pre-game, game and post-game coverage analysed. Saturation of alcohol advertising during the NRL grand final was just over three times higher than during the AFL grand final. This difference was largely driven by the on-field advertising during the NRL which was visually pervasive during game play.

National Alliance for Action on Alcohol. NAAA is a coalition of health and community organisations established in 2009 with the goal of reducing alcohol-related harm.  The Alliance has over 50 member organisations, including the Australian Medical Association, Public Health Association of Australia, VicHealth, Australian Drug Foundation, and the Alcohol and Other Drugs Council of Australia.  The NAAA recommends that the current exemption permitting alcohol advertising during live sporting broadcasts before 8:30 pm on commercial free-to-air television should be removed as a way of reducing children’s exposure to alcohol marketing and promotions.

Centre for Alcohol Policy Research. CAPR is actively involved in promoting awareness of issues and facilitating research about alcohol use. CAPR serves as a vital resource for evidence-base information about alcohol for use by the public health community, social and government agencies, the media, and various community organisations.

The Australian National Preventive Health Agency (ANPHA) was established in the Australian National Preventive Health Agency Act 2010 and abolished by repeal of the Act in 2014; with transfer of responsibilities to the Department of Health. The ANPHA was tasked with examining the current system of regulation around alcohol marketing and advertising.  A Draft Report describes this system, which consists of self-regulatory, co-regulatory and legislative elements, and evaluates the effectiveness of the this regulatory scheme. Through a process of open submissions from interested parties and a comprehensive analysis of current research, the ANPHA sought to assess whether the current mix of provisions can adequately protect children and adolescents from adverse exposure to alcohol advertising. Considerable public debate exists about the impact that marketing and advertising of alcoholic beverages has on the alcohol consumption patterns of young Australians. The ANPHA Final Report concludes that alcohol advertising and marketing is reaching children and adolescents and influencing them, and that the current system for protecting adolescents and children from exposure to alcohol advertising is inadequate.

  • Alcohol Advertising: the effectiveness of current regulatory codes in addressing community concern, Australian National Preventive Health Agency, Draft Report, Australian Policy Online (February 2014). This Draft Report was published to enable stakeholders to input into the Review of the Effectiveness of Current Regulatory Codes on alcohol advertising in addressing community concerns about harmful consumption of alcohol. Section 6.2.9 of this draft report outlines the current industry regulation. There are currently no restrictions on the sponsoring of sport by alcohol companies in Australia. Sponsorship by the alcohol industry in Australian sport involves a wide range of advertising, marketing and promotion strategies, including links to broadcast deals for alcohol advertising using the live sports exemption on free-to-air television; at-venue advertising (e.g. on-ground/court, fixed and digital signage; video advertisements, public address announcements, etc.); logo placement on uniforms; rights to use athletes for promotional appearances in advertising and at other events; access to the digital media platforms and audiences of the sport to promote the product using digital advertising and promotions; at-event promotions and give-aways; and linking sponsorship to in-stadium pourage rights. While not a regulatory strategy, government health promotion sponsors have replaced alcohol sponsorship for some sports in some jurisdictions (Healthway in WA, and ANPHA at the national level with 16 national sporting organisation partners), replicating earlier tobacco sponsorship buyout strategies pioneered by VicHealth. In addition, some Australian sporting organisations and sporting media voluntarily do not accept alcohol sponsorship or advertising.
  • Alcohol Advertising: The effectiveness of current regulatory codes in addressing community concern (PDF  - 1.8 MB), Australian National Preventive Health Agency, Final Report (April 2014). This review of the effectiveness of alcohol advertising regulation in Australia makes several recommendations intended to achieve greater protection of children and adolescents from alcohol promotion and marketing. The Agency finds the current system to be inadequate. A large body of Australian and international research, including several systematic reviews of longitudinal studies, shows that exposure to alcohol advertising and promotions, through a range of media, tends to influence adolescents’ awareness of alcohol brands and their readiness to adopt alcohol consumption as a normal activity. The evidence implies causality, although it is very difficult to separate the effects of advertising from the many social factors affecting adolescents’ drinking behaviours. There is considerable concern within the community that marketing and advertising of alcoholic beverages has an influence on Australian children and adolescents, promoting their earlier initiation of alcohol use (i.e. age at first drink) and contributing significantly to patterns of harmful drinking. There are strong community views that young Australians should be protected from exposure to alcohol advertising.

#BoozeFreeSport is a campaign endorsed and supported by the Public Health Association of Australia, McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth, St Vincent’s Health Australia, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, the Australian Health Promotion Association and the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education. The campaign calls for an end to alcohol sponsorship in sport and advocates directly contacting government ministers and sports organisations to encourage them to do so. 

End Alcohol Advertising in Sport. Launched in October 2018 this campaign calls for alcohol advertising to be phased out of professional sports. This is an initiative by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, supported by health organisations across Australia.

  • Legends rally to 'red card' alcohol ads in sport (PDF  - 455 KB), End Alcohol Advertising in Sport media release, (10 October 2018). AFL identities Mick Malthouse and Rod Butterss, Australian cricketing hero John Inverarity, dual Olympian Clover Maitland, extreme sportswoman and mountaineer Cheryl Bart, NRL great Steve Ella, and hockey legend Ric Charlesworth are among an elite group of sporting greats calling for a lifetime ban on alcohol advertising in sport. 

Advocacy groups, as well as industry representatives, have provided numerous submissions and responses to the ANHPA Draft Report. Generally, industry groups felt that the current system of voluntary codes of practice and co-regulation by government and industry represented an acceptable model. On the other hand, advocacy groups support greater government regulation of the advertising industry, that would replace industry codes of practice.

  • AANA Submission in response to Australian National Preventative Health Agency Issues Paper, Alcohol Advertising: The effectiveness of current regulatory codes in addressing community concerns (PDF  - 191 KB), Australian Association of National Advertisers (March 2013). The AANA self-regulatory model sits alongside a comprehensive range of other self- and co-regulatory schemes that operate to control both the messaging and placement of alcohol advertising in Australian media. The Advertising Standards Bureau records show that alcohol advertising accounted for just 3% of all advertising complaints in 2012. Given that a comprehensive system of advertising regulation exists in Australia, it is AANA’s recommendation that further regulation is unnecessary to provide appropriate community safeguards. AANA believes that advertising provides powerful messages, and this is why brands spend a significant portion of their budgets on the promotion of their products. However, advertising drives brand choice and not consumption.
  • Alcohol Advertising – The Effectiveness of Current Regulatory Codes in Addressing Community Concerns (PDF  - 527 KB), Free TV Australia Ltd., submission to the Australian National Preventative Health Agency (March 2013). 
  • Response to the Draft Report by the ANPHA – Alcohol Advertising: The effectiveness of current regulatory codes in addressing community concern, Australian Drug Foundation (March 2014). The Australian Drug Foundation (ADF) is concerned by the contribution alcohol advertising makes to Australia’s problematic culture of unsafe drinking, which costs the Australian economy at least $15.3 billion per annum. Marketing strategies for alcoholic beverages have become increasingly complex and innovative, involving campaigns that combine multiple technologies, and sponsorship is another means by which alcohol brands target consumers. Research in Australia and overseas has provided growing evidence that alcohol marketing influences young people’s decisions about drinking and their expectations related to alcohol use. Young people are considered to be more susceptible to advertising messages and more likely to experience harm as an immediate result of risky drinking behaviour. Therefore, ADF has made a number of responses to the Issues Paper released by the Australian National Preventive Health Agency (ANPHA).
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 of Australia and New Zealand, the Distilled Spirits Industry Council of Australia, and the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia. The management committee for the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code regularly publishes information regarding the type of complaints received.

Because the manufacturers and retailers of alcohol products in Australia are often major sponsors of Australian sports, this self-regulatory system is considered by many people to be potentially biased and ineffective.  The current definition of ‘advertising’ used by the industry’s self-regulatory code excludes some major forms of advertising, such as sports sponsorship.

All forms of advertising (including alcohol products) are subject to review. The Advertising Standards Bureau is an independent body that works with various industry groups to assess public concerns about advertising standards.

  • Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB). Australia has a co-regulatory system for alcohol advertising, consumer complaints are handled independently by the Advertising Standards Bureau, but all costs are borne by the industry. The Bureau determines whether a complaint raises issues solely under the Bureau’s jurisdiction or jointly under the Alcoholic Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC); both regulation bodies may assess alcohol complaints. It is possible for ASB or ABAC to arrive at different decisions about the same advertisement as each body assesses the advertisement using different Codes. 

In response to conflicting self-regulatory interpretation, the Alcohol Advertising Review Board (AARB) has been created.  The AARB operates independently of government and industry and works under the auspices of the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth and the Cancer Council in Western Australia. The AARB has produced an independent code for alcohol advertising and product placement.

  • Alcohol Advertising Review Board Content and Placement Code (PDF  - 159 KB).
  • Alcohol Advertising Review Board, Annual Report 2015-16 (PDF - 99 KB), AARB, McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth (November 2016). 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. Although previous AARB reports have highlighted the sponsorship by alcohol products of sport, including Australian Cricket, National Rugby League, and the Australian Football League, this current report is more general, although the number of complaints had increased, which suggests it is likely that sport was still implicated in many. During 2015-16 the largest number of complaints were related to beer products, followed by spirit products and liquor retailers. Public transport advertisements and online advertisements (including social media) were the most likely sources of advertising that breached the Code. A total of 194 complaints were received by the AARB, resulting in 110 determinations, of which 96 were upheld as breaches of the advertising Code and a further 12 were upheld in part.

Research at Monash University looked at two relevant questions regarding the effectiveness of the advertising regulatory Code to protect children from exposure to alcohol advertising. First, do children under the legal drinking age (i.e. 17 years and younger) watch more free-to-air TV during daytime or evening hours? Second, is there a difference in the frequency of alcohol advertising on sport programs versus non-sport programs on free-to-air TV? 

  • Alcohol advertising in sport and non-sport TV in Australia, during children’s viewing times, O’Brien K, Carr S, Ferris J, Room R, Miller P, Livingston M, Kypri K and Lynott D, Plos One (11 August 2015). This study estimates the amount of alcohol advertising in sport versus non-sport programming in Australian free-to-air TV and identifes children’s viewing audience composition at different times of the day. The researchers counted alcohol advertisements in sport and non-sport TV in daytime hours (6am to 8.29pm) and evening periods (8.30pm to 11.59pm) and estimated viewing audiences for children and young adults; three age categories for children, 0–4 years; 5–13 years; 14–17 years, and; young adults 18–29 years of age. During daytime, 87% of the alcohol advertising was on sport TV. In the evening, 86% of alcohol advertising was in non-sport TV. There was little difference in the mean number of children, 17 years and under, viewing TV in the evening compared with the daytime. In programs containing alcohol advertising, sport TV had 1.74 (mean) adverts per hour, compared to 1.35 (mean) adverts per hour on non-sport TV; the difference was statistically significant. Alcohol advertising during the daytime, when large numbers of children are watching TV, is predominantly on free-to-air sport TV. By permitting day-time advertising in sport programs and in any programs from 8.30pm, when many children are still watching TV, current regulations do not protect children from exposure to alcohol advertising.

The effectiveness of any voluntary code of practice for alcohol advertising will be the subject of ongoing debate. During 2015 there was considerable public discussion about proposed changes to the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice, that seeks to control the content and delivery of advertising on free-to-air television. Alcohol is one of several products that comes under the broadcaster's code of practice. The proposed changes were intended to broaden the viewing times and conditions for alcohol advertising.

  • 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 Broadcasting Services Act 1992 includes within its objects the need to ‘ensure that providers of broadcasting services place a high priority on the protection of children from exposure to program material which may be harmful to them.’ To this end, FARE believes that current regulatory practices do not adequately protect young people from exposure to alcohol product advertising. Free TV Australia is proposing changes to the Code that will allow alcohol advertising to be shown at times when children are likely to be viewing; thus, extending the time during which alcohol advertising can be shown during sporting events. Some of the proposed changes include bringing the ‘M’ classification zone forward one hour, removing the requirement for a sporting broadcast to be live in order to allow alcohol advertising, and changes to the complaints processes. FARE believes these proposed changes represent a regressive step. Among a number of recommendations made by FARE in this submission, five policy objectives are put forward:
    1. Alcohol advertising regulation must aim to reduce the overall volume of alcohol advertising.
    2. Alcohol advertising regulation must ensure that activities are not targeted at young people.
    3. Alcohol advertising regulation must cover all communication formats including advertising, sponsorship, and print and digital, including social media.
    4. Alcohol advertising must be independently regulated and have clear and consistent penalties for non-compliance.
    5. The alcohol industry should be required to report their annual expenditure on alcohol marketing activities to government.
    This submission specifically addresses FARE’s position regarding alcohol advertising during sporting events. There is evidence to suggest that alcohol sponsorship of sporting events can result in children and young people associating alcohol with sport. Research from several Australian Universities has shown that the volume of alcohol advertising during sporting events is substantial and the impact of alcohol advertising on children is real. The prolific amount of alcohol advertising during sports broadcasts further cements the intrinsic associations between alcohol and sports.
  • AMA submission to Review of the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice (PDF  - 117 KB), 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. The proposition that alcohol advertising is appropriate because children watch sport in the company of adults, fails to recognise the underlying impacts such advertising has on young people. A high level of recall and recognition of specific alcohol ads and associated brands have been observed among children who view sporting events.

The current regulatory framework for broadcasters applies only to free-to-air television. This Code was revised at the end of 2015. However, many of the recommendations made by advocacy groups were not adopted. In addition, the diversification of communication and broadcast platforms, including various pay-TV options and online streaming, do not come under the revised Code. The rapidly changing sport broadcasting environment, because of new broadcasting technologies, will offer new challenges in the alcohol advertising debate about regulation. 

  • Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice (PDF  - 682 KB), 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.

The New Zealand Government established a Ministerial Forum on Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship in 2014 to consult with the community and sports stakeholders to consider whether further restrictions on alcohol advertising and sponsorship are needed to reduce alcohol-related harm, particularly among youth. The Forum completed its review and provided its report to the Minister of Health and the Minister of Justice. This report makes 14 recommendations to further restrict alcohol advertising and sponsorship. These recommendations support three objectives: (1) reducing youth exposure to alcohol through sponsorship; (2) reducing youth exposure through advertising; and (3) strengthening the current system of industry and government co-regulation. Much of the research is focused on the impact of exposure of young people to alcohol advertising via television, print and radio. Since 2010 an increasing number of published papers have focused on describing the relationship between alcohol sponsorship of sport and alcohol-related harm. In addition, research has focused on understanding how marketing mechanisms blend social media with traditional advertising approaches to engage and influence consumers. In particular, there is a strong focus on young people as primary consumers of online media. One of the long-term recommendations made by the Forum was to work toward eliminating alcohol sponsorship from New Zealand sport, replacing it with alternative funding.

The regulatory controls on alcohol sponsorship and advertising in most European countries are similar to Australia, an industry code of conduct is in place. 

Much of the regulation of alcohol advertising in Europe has been created and is enforced by the alcohol industry itself. The Alcohol Marketing Monitoring in Europe (AMMIE) project evaluated the effectiveness of existing self-regulation codes in five European countries.  The study found that 72% of community complaints were rejected by the industry self-regulatory body on the argument that ads target adults and are therefore not specifically aimed at young people. The difficulty in monitoring adherence leads to the conclusion that self-regulation for alcohol advertising does not work in Europe.

  • Alcohol advertising and sponsorship in Formula One: a dangerous cocktail (PDF  - 283 KB), 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.

Unlike most European countries the advertising of alcohol in France does not depend on self-regulation or voluntary codes of practice; it is controlled by law and illegal advertisements can be brought before the courts. Significant components of the legislation include: (1) a clear definition of alcoholic drinks; all beverages containing 1.2% alcohol by volume are covered by the legislation; (2) no advertising can be targeted at young people; (3) no advertising is allowed on television or in cinemas; (4) no sponsorship of cultural or sporting events; and (5) advertising is permitted only in publications intended for adults, on billboards, on radio (under precise conditions), and at special events such as wine fairs. When advertising is permitted, its content is controlled in two ways: (i) messages and images should refer only to the qualities of the products, its origin, composition, means of production, and patterns of consumption; and (ii) a health message must be included on each advertisement to the effect that ‘alcohol abuse is dangerous for health’.

  • 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. 

This law made it impossible for the American brewer Anheuser Busch to sponsor the 1998 Football World Cup in France, in spite of heavy lobbying of the French government. However, since the introduction of this law, a number of amendments have been made; for example, alcohol advertising is again permitted in sports grounds if there is no television coverage of the sporting events at that venue. To work around the legal advertising restrictions for the broadcast of the 2016 Euro Football Championships, the Euro 2016 sponsor Carlsberg replaced its brand name with venue advertising containing well-known slogans associated with the brand. As a result, TV viewers frequently saw the slogan of tournament sponsor Carlsberg throughout televised matches. 

Within the United Kingdom the Advertising Standards Authority's 'Code of Broadcast Advertising' (BCAP Code) places certain restrictions on television advertising of alcohol products. The effectiveness of any voluntary code of practice may be questioned; various lobby groups in Australia have reached similar conclusion to studies conducted in Britain.

  • 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, Issue 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.

Internationally, alcohol beverage manufacturers in Europe and the United States have recognized a shift in the advertising environment, from mainstream television and radio to various forms of digital media. Some industy guidelines, based upon self-regulation, have also been developed for other broadcast and communication platforms.

  • Digital Guiding Principles: Self-regulation of marketing communications for beverage alcohol (PDF  - 686 KB), 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.

Industry codes that advocate 'responsible drinking' behaviour have also been examined. Because opinion is divided on what is (or is not) a safe level of alcohol consumption, a single definition for responsible drinking has not been agreed upon.

  • 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 & Alcohol Dependence, Volume 142, p168-173 (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.

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 (PDF  - 666 KB), 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, published online (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, Issue 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, published online (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. & Barrie, L. R., Journal of Public Affairs, Volume 10(1-2), (2010), pp.59-73. 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 selfregulatory processes are not effective in limiting exposure of younger audiences to inappropriate alcohol advertising messages.

Does alcohol advertising promote adolescent drinking?  A number of studies have looked at the relationship between exposure to different forms of alcohol advertising and subsequent drinking behaviour.  Research has also focused on whether exposure to an alcohol prevention program would alter such relationships. 

  • Cue 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), published online 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), (PDF  - 452 KB), 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.

The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) conducts an annual survey of attitudes toward alcohol advertising and promotion. FARE believes that alcohol advertising and promotions are pervasive in Australian sport, ranging from alcohol logos on sporting uniforms to advertisements in the media and at sporting venues. Of particular concern to FARE is the influence that alcohol advertising and sponsorship may have on young people’s perceptions of alcohol and their drinking intentions. A survey by FARE found that 69% of Australians believe that alcohol advertising and promotions influence the behaviour of people under 18 years, and 64% of Australians support a ban on alcohol advertising on weekdays and weekends before 8.30pm. When survey participants were asked about their knowledge of a complaints procedure for alcohol advertising, only 4% correctly identified the Advertising Standard Bureau.

Alcohol beverage advertising in mainstream Australian media 2005‐2007: Expenditure and Exposure (PDF  - 208 KB), Victorian Department of Human Services for the Monitoring of Alcohol Advertising Committee (2009). This report highlights the fact that sports sponsorship and advertising is a major avenue of alcohol promotion in Australia. An estimated $50 million is spent by alcohol companies each year on commercial advertising (not including sponsorship and ground signage) to accompany live sports broadcasts on weekends and public holidays that are exempt from the daytime advertising restrictions which normally apply.  In 2007, 44% of alcohol advertisements on free to air television in major metropolitan markets were placed during daytime slots, up from 38% in 2005.

The impact of alcohol advertising (PDF  - 1.2 MB), 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. The US research and the 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,, Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, Volume 38, Issue 8, p2234-2242 (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.
  • Alcohol advertising and alcohol consumption by adolescents (PDF  - 228 KB), Saffer H and Dhaval D, National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper No. 9676 (May 2003).  The purpose of this paper was to empirically estimate the effects of alcohol advertising on adolescent alcohol consumption in the US.  Data from two major studies was used in the analysis; Monitoring the Future and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth.  Since the data sets were independent, the consistent findings increase the confidence in the results.  A comparison of advertising impact by gender shows that price had greater affect on females; as the cost of alcohol products increased, consumption decreased. The data suggest that a complete ban on all alcohol advertising could reduce adolescent monthly alcohol consumption by about 24 percent and binge participation by about 42 percent. The past month price-participation elasticity was estimated at about -0.28 and the price-binge participation elasticity was estimated at about -0.51. Both advertising and price policies are shown to have the potential to substantially reduce adolescent alcohol consumption.

Research reported in the journal Addiction indicated that exposure to alcohol advertising at age 13/14 could predict alcohol consumption behaviour two years later. The research showed that exposure to beer advertising while attending sports and music events increased the likelihood of beer drinking at age 15/16, which was still below the legal age for alcohol consumption in the United States. The research also highlighted several non-advertising influences that significantly increased risk factors associated with adolescent drinking behaviour; such as adult approval of drinking, poor communication with parents about drinking behaviour, and insufficient monitoring of under-age drinking by adults. This research noted that alcohol prevention programs that included adults (primarily parents, but also significant others) were more effective in changing the alcohol consumption behaviours of adolescents.

The effects of online marketing on drinking behaviour s of young peopleEuropean 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.

Why are young people in particular vulnerable to alcohol advertising and promotion? European Centre for Monitoring Alcohol Marketing (2009). This fact sheet summarises the various reasons found in the literature regarding why adolescents are vulnerable to alcohol advertising and promotion.  There is a growing body of evidence that exposure to alcohol marketing is one of the environmental factors that has a moderate but significant influence on the drinking behaviour of adolescents. Although variation in the strength of association was found in different studies, alcohol marketing is associated with the likelihood that adolescents will start to drink alcohol earlier and with increased regularity.  Adolescents may respond differently to advertisements, due to the late maturing of the brain system; possible reasons for vulnerability to marketing of harmful products include greater impulsiveness and self-consciousness among adolescents.

Most men drink... especially like when they play sports - alcohol advertising during sporting broadcasts and the potential impact on child audiences  Jones S, Phillipson L, and Barrie L, University of Wollongong, Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences Papers (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 first study found that alcohol advertising, particularly during a sporting competition with alcohol company sponsors, is extensive.  Alcohol advertising contained both features known to be appealing to children and messages which could be interpreted as associating alcohol consumption with social and sporting success.  The second study involved grade 5 and 6 primary school students, it found that young people have a high awareness of the alcohol sponsors and alcohol brands advertised during sporting telecasts.  The children in the study associated alcohol products with sport and with positive personal characteristics and outcomes.

Research from the United States points out that the availability of alcohol, particularly beer, at professional sporting venues is commonplace. This pattern is also the case in Australia.  Over time an underlying relationship has evolved (whether actual or perceived) between being a sports fan and a beer consumer.  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 beverage is available to spectator and participants within legal limitations.

  • Alcohol sponsorship of community football clubs: the current situation (PDF  - 72 KB), Sawyer A, Wolfenden L, Kennedy V, Kingsland M, Young K, Tindall J, Rowland B, Colbran R and Wiggers J, 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). Eighty-eight per cent of clubs reported receiving sponsorship from the alcohol industry, and most clubs were supported by a licensed premises. There were no significant associations between club characteristics and source of alcohol industry sponsorship. However, small clubs were found to be significantly more likely to receive free or discounted alcohol as part of their sponsorship. Forgoing alcohol industry sponsorship is likely to represent a considerable challenge to community sports clubs given their dependence on alcohol sponsorship for support. Health promotion practitioners and policy makers need to ensure that any interventions to reduce such sponsorship consider club viability.
  • 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, Issue 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’ (PDF  - 120 KB), 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. The relationship between alcohol consumption and sport is well established in Australian society. Many professional and amateur sporting clubs are sponsored by alcohol companies, as well as high profile national and international sporting events such as the Melbourne Cup horse race, the Formula One Grand Prix.The associations between elite level sport and the consumption of alcohol undoubtedly affect the way alcohol is consumed in more ‘grass-roots’ settings. A number of studies now suggest that alcohol misuse is too common within community level sporting clubs around Australia. Of the 1742 survey respondents in this study, 72.2% were men and 27.8% were women. The vast majority of survey participants reported that they drink alcohol at their sporting club on a regular basis; 53.8% reported that they drink between one and four standard drinks per visit; 15% reported drinking 5 or 6 standard drinks per club visit; 12% reported consumption of between 7 and 10 standard drinks per visit, and: 7% of participants reported that they drink 11 or more standard drinks per club visit. Thus, a substantial number of persons are drinking at risky if not dangerous levels. Given the widespread prevalence of alcohol consumption within sporting clubs and the significant risks and harms associated with this use, it is vital that effective harm minimisation strategies are implemented within community level sporting clubs.

Rather than banning alcohol from the sporting environment as was done with tobacco, the prevailing strategy used by sporting organisations is to manage the detrimental effects of alcohol consumption within their environment. Management strategies also address ‘at risk’ groups within the sporting population.

  • 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,, BMC Public Health, Volume 13, published online 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.  A cross sectional survey of Australian football clubs’ (i.e. representing different football codes) management practices was used to determine the association between the alcohol management practices (including policy, alcohol-related sponsorship, availability of low and non-alcoholic drinks, alcohol-related promotions, awards and prizes) and characteristics (football code, size and location) of sporting 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.  Service of alcohol to intoxicated people, happy hour promotions (where alcohol is provided at a discounted rate for a defined period of time) and alcohol-only awards or prizes were found to be associated with club members being more than twice as likely to consume alcohol to excess. These findings confirm the need and the opportunity for the development and implementation of alcohol harm reduction interventions in these settings. 
  • Tackling risky alcohol consumption in sport: a cluster randomised controlled trial of an alcohol management intervention with community football clubs, Kingsland M,, Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, published online (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. Risky alcohol consumption was classified as more than five drinks at the club and risk of alcohol-related harm was assessed using the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT). Data was collected at baseline and after the implementation of a risk management program (intervention). The results of this study showed that post intervention, a significantly lower proportion of club members reported risky alcohol consumption at the club, and this reduced their risk of alcohol-related harm and possible alcohol dependence.

The Australian Institute of Criminology has produced a fact sheet on Spectator Violence: Professional Sporting Events. One of the key recommendations from the available evidence is that reducing alcohol availability at sporting events can help reduce the frequency of spectator violence. The Institute also recommends that providing adequate signage of policies regarding liquor consumption and codes of conduct, serving low-strength alcohol, and ensuring policies are enforced can also reduce the risk of crowd violence.  


There is ample evidence that alcohol consumption does not contribute to sporting performance. Burke and Deakin in their book, Clinical Sports Nutrition, note that alcohol is not an essential component of an athlete’s diet, but they also note a lack of evidence to suggest that very small amounts of alcohol consumption (in sensible quantities as a lifestyle choice) impaired 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, published online (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, published online (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, Marcos A and Castillo M, 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, Lorek A, Rebar A and Roche M, Health Psychology, Volume 34, Number 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. A number of reasons have been offered to explain the counterintuitive, positive association found in this study. Many explanations emphasise between-person differences in the sample. For example, in younger persons, sport participation is thought to increase peer influence and opportunities for experimenting with new behaviors such as alcohol use. However, in the present study, the daily within-person process linking PA and alcohol use did not differ systematically across age or sex. Alternatively, PA and alcohol use could be influenced by common third variables such as personality factors. Unfortunately, these explanations may not be sufficient to account for the within-person process identified in the present study. A more viable explanation may be that PA and alcohol consumption have a compensatory relationship. Alcohol may serve as a reward for being physically active, and PA may help to offset the caloric intake associated with alcohol use. Alcohol use may even serve a rehydration function following exercise despite its adverse effects on recovery. Efforts to self-regulate one’s PA may be ego depleting and reduce self-control for other temptations such as alcohol use. Understanding the timing of PA within ‘active drinking days’ would help to clarify the relationship; this was outside the scope of this study. 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.

Alcohol consumption as a drug, under the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Code, is prohibited in competition by only a few sports (at blood concentration of 0.10 g/L). These sports are principally the ‘motor’ sports using aircraft, cars, motorcycles, and power boats.

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 (PDF  - 121 KB), 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 (PDF  - 668 KB), Sønderlund A, et. al., Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, Volume 17, Issue 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. 

The misuse or abuse of alcohol by some ‘high profile’ sportspersons can have a devastating impact on the integrity of sport, the club, and the individual.  Alcohol abuse by athletes creates negative role models and builds a culture of acceptance of inappropriate behaviour. Many sports now recognise the risk associated with alcohol use, particularly during public functions supported by the sporting organisation. In 2011 the National Rugby League (NRL) adopted the Australian Drug Foundation's guidelines contained in the Good Hosts (PDF  - 314 KB) program for its' annual Dally M Awards night. The strategies adopted by the NRL have helped to ensure that high profile events are less likely to encounter alcohol related problems.

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, (PDF  - 97 KB), 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. 

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.

  1. Does the advertising of alcohol products within a sporting environment increase the likelihood of alcohol consumption; particularly among adolescents?
  2. 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. 

  • Australia: The healthiest country by 2020. Technical Paper 3: Preventing alcohol-related harm in Australia, a window of opportunity, Australian Government, Preventive Health Taskforce (2009). This paper has been prepared for Taskforce to provide up-to-date and evidence-based information on policies and programs designed to prevent alcohol-related harm in Australia. A range of interventions are reviewed, including commentary on their effectiveness. Possible interventions include regulating the physical availability and promotion of alcohol products, and education programs. An emerging theme from the paper is that there currently exists a unique window of opportunity in Australia for a significant expansion of activity in the prevention of alcohol-related harm. In part, this opportunity grows from increased community awareness and concern about the harmful consumption of alcohol, especially focused on youth drinking.
  • Unhealthy product sponsorship of Australian national and state sports organisations (PDF  - 100 KB), 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.

More information can be found in the Clearinghouse for Sport topic, Ethical Sponsorship and Advertising in Sport.
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 (previously Galaxy Research) 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 1013). 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 advertising in sports under fire for 'grooming child drinkers', Stevens S, Health & Fitness (18 April 2013). Doctors in Ireland are demanding a ban on alcohol sponsorship of sporting events, warning the beverage and alcohol industry is ‘grooming child drinkers’.  The College of Psychiatrists of Ireland have taken the position that the alcohol industry was targeting adolescent children and advertising was linked to the early onset of alcohol use disorders.
  • Alcohol industry sponsorship associated with more hazardous drinking among sportspeople, Deakin University Research Communications, published online (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 (PDF  - 180 KB), 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 & 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 & 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.

The Australian Government, through the Department of Health, provides extensive information about alcohol use and the associated health and safety risks. This statement has been posted on their website, “Due to the different ways that alcohol can affect people, there is no amount of alcohol that can be said to be safe for everyone. People choosing to drink must realise that there will always be some risk to their health and social well-being. However, there are ways to minimise the risks.” The Government's strategy has been to provide information, education, and support to organisations and programs targeting a reduction in alcohol consumption and advocating a risk management strategy for alcohol use.

Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol, National Health and Medical Research Council (March 2009). The Department of Health has developed a range of communication materials to inform key target audiences about these guidelines, and to assist Australians in making informed choices about alcohol consumption. A frequently asked questions (PDF  - 491 KB) resource is available.

The Australian Drug Foundation has developed the ‘Good Sports’ program to assist sporting clubs in developing and implementing alcohol policies within a sporting environment. The Australian Drug Foundation also provides advocacy, position statements, and information to inform and assist in public policy decisions on alcohol and drugs.

  • 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 (PDF  - 1.5 MB), 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. 

In 2008, the government commissioned the National Preventative Health Taskforce (NPHT) to provide advice on strategies for reducing the incidence, harms, and costs to the community of alcohol, tobacco, and obesity. The NPHT report, Australia: The Healthiest Country by 2020, was the result. As part of its commitment to changing Australia's drinking culture, the Commonwealth Government also developed a National Binge Drinking Strategy (NBDS) to address binge drinking behaviour among young people.

The NBDS created a Community Sponsorship Fund, to provide sponsorship support over three years to National Sporting Organisations as an alternative to alcohol sponsorship. Each sponsorship agreement covered a range of activities and events, such as: national team sponsorship; promotions at Australia-wide competitions and community sporting events; and using high profile athletes as role models to deliver messages about alcohol consumption. The sponsorship programs were administered by the Australian National Preventive Health Agency as one of many programs.  As announced in the 2014-15 Federal Budget, the ANPHA was discontinued, essential functions of the Agency were transferred to the Department of Health and the signature program 'Be the Influence' has completed its funding cycle.

  • Be the Influence – tackling binge drinking. From June 2012 through December 2013, Be the Influence - Tackling Binge Drinking messaging was delivered in a national television advertising campaign. Sixteen National Sporting Organisations (NSOs) signed on to ‘Be the Influence’ as part of their Community Sponsorship Fund agreement. These NSOs tackled binge drinking by providing environments, from national through to community level sport, that were 'alcohol-free' promotion zones. 

Since the end of 'Be the Influence', Surfing Australia (originally committed to the program) has taken on a major alcohol sponsor. The alcohol sponsorship may conflict with Surfing Australia's Code of Conduct governing the staging of the prestigious 'Original Source Australian Boardriders Battle' event.

  • XXXX Summer Bright Lager supporting Surfing Australia, Surfing Australia, Media Release (10 August 2015). XXXX Summer Bright Lager becomes the official beer of Surfing Australia and sponsor of the prestigious Australian Surfing Awards and the Original Source Australian Boardriders Battle. Surfing Australia will also see the Drinkwise campaign, ‘You won’t miss a moment’ activated across a number of platforms. This initiative continues the DrinkWise approach of showcasing the benefits of moderation and to encourage people to drink safely and properly.
  • Surfing Australia turns to Lion lager after anti-alcohol ad funding dries up, Melissa Davey, The Guardian (14 August 2015). Surfing Australia has turned to the alcohol industry for sponsorship, after funding from the federal government’s anti-alcohol health promotion organisation dried up.
  • Surfing Australia Code of Conduct, Surfing Australia Original Source Boardriders Battle, event information. Surfing Australia and all of our partners want to encourage all of the Boardriders Clubs to compete in a professional manner, and we require your support in providing an alcohol and smoke free environment at the State and National events. No alcohol is to be brought into the event area of any State event or the National Final. No alcohol branding on any club items is allowed to be brought into event area such as tents, towels, t-shirts, eskies or hats etc. All areas of the event sites are alcohol and smoke-free. No alcohol at presentation ceremonies, do not hand winners any alcoholic drinks in celebrations and no references to alcohol during any acceptance speeches. Any breaches of the above will result in the disqualification of the surfer and/or club.

Say When. This is a free and confidential online tool that gives Victorian adults a chance to assess their drinking and what it means for their health and wellbeing. This Victorian Government initiative is supported by the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth), the Australian Football League (AFL), and other sporting and community clubs. The campaign has distributed resources to general medical practitioners, Victoria’s sporting clubs, pharmacists, workplaces and the primary health care sector to inform the public of this online resource.

Healthy Sporting Environments. Another VicHealth program to assist sports clubs in providing healthier and more inclusive environments. The program has six major themes: reducing harmful alcohol use, improving eating options, reducing over-exposure to harmful ultra violet sunlight, reducing smoking in and around the club grounds, managing injury risks, and increasing the number of women (particularly among culturally and linguistically diverse people and Indigenous people) in local sport.

Alcohol and Sport. This program provides information for Clubs and is supported by the NSW Office of Communities, Sport and Recreation on their website. Frequent articles on this topic appear in Sportshorts, an online newsletter to the NSW sport sector; links to the Good Sports NSW office are provided.

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 Facebook and Twitter. 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 (PDF  - 5.0 MB), Smith A, Westberg K, Stavros C, Munro G and Argus K, Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (2015). There is considerable evidence about the public health implications of alcohol consumption. There is also significant research on the potential impact of traditional alcohol advertising and sponsorship in sport. 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, Drug & 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. The discussion highlights the powerful combination of sport and social media as a mechanism by which these brands seek to interact with consumers and encourage them to both create and promote content to their social networks. 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 real-time communication offered by social media during the broadcast of sports events was used to create a shared experience and camaraderie among consumers. There was also the potential for significant ‘second screen’ experiences by consumers who engaged in conversations via mobile devices (Twitter, Instagram). These experiences engaged consumers throughout an event, either in or away from the sport stadium. Four main strategies were identified that used the association with sport to create opportunities for alcohol brands to interact with consumers, and to immerse the brands in the sport consumption 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.

The results from this exploratory study highlight an emerging practice of alcohol brands to engage with a new (possibly younger) generation of social media users; a generation that views social media as an integral aspect of their social identities. 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 (PDF  - 1.5 MB), 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.

Where possible, direct links to full-text and online resources are provided. However, where links are not available, you may be able to access documents directly by searching our licenced full-text databases (note: user access restrictions apply). Alternatively, you can ask your institutional, university, or local library for assistance—or purchase documents directly from the publisher. You may also find the information you’re seeking by searching Google Scholar.

resources iconResources

  • Australia: The healthiest country by 2020 (PDF  - 1.0 MB), 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.
  • Developing an Alcohol Policy, Government of Western Australia, Department of Sport and Recreation.
  • Good Sports. Healthy clubs and strong communities.
  • 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 (PDF  - 5.6 MB), 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.

Research iconResearch

  •  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 (PDF  - 683 KB), 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, Issue 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.
  • Effects of moderate beer consumption on health and disease: A consensus document, de Gaetano G, Costanzo S, De Castelnuovo A,, Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, Volume 26, Issue 6 (June 2016). A large evidence-based review on the effects of moderate consumption (up to 1 drink/day for women and 2 drinks/day for men) of beer on human health has been conducted by an international panel of experts. Epidemiological studies suggest that moderate, non-binge consumption of beer and wine (at comparable alcohol amounts) may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Although specific data on beer are not conclusive, observational studies seem to indicate that low alcohol consumption is associated with a reduced risk of developing neurodegenerative disease. There is no evidence that beer drinking is different from other types of alcoholic beverages in respect to risk for some cancers. Evidence consistently suggests a J-shaped relationship between alcohol consumption (including beer) and all-cause mortality, with lower risk for moderate alcohol consumers than for abstainers or heavy drinkers. Consumption of beer, at any dosage, is not recommended for children, adolescents, pregnant women, individuals at risk to develop alcoholism, those with cardiomyopathy, cardiac arrhythmias, depression, liver and pancreatic diseases, or anyone engaged in actions that require concentration, skill or coordination. Heavy and excessive beer consumption exerts deleterious effects on the human body, with increased disease risks on many organs and is associated to significant social problems such as addiction, accidents, violence and crime.
  • The Impact of Alcohol Sponsorship in Sport Upon University Sportspeople (PDF  - 270 KB), 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, (January 2017), pp. 1-127. 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.
  • 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, Lecathe4linais C, Gillham K, Dodds P, Sidey M, Rogerson J, McElduff P, Crundall I and Wiggers J, Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, published online (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.


  • 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, Number 6 (2010).
  • 'Alcohol: No Ordinary Commodity. Research and Public Policy' (book), Babor T, Caetano R, Casswell S, Edwards G, Giesbrecht N, Graham K, Grube J, Gruenewald P, Hill L, Holder H, Homel R, Osterberg E, Rehm J, Room R and Rossow I, Oxford University Press (2003). A large number of contributing authors confront the multiplicity of issues that alcohol use has within social, population, behavioural and medical domains. 
  • 'Alcohol and Sport' (book), Stainback R, Human Kinetics (1997).
  • 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 and your performance (PDF  - 59 KB), Calder A, Sports Official, Volume 8, Number 2 (2010).
  • Australian Guidelines to Reduced Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol (PDF  - 2.0 MB), Commonwealth of Australia, National Health and Medical Research Council (2009).
  • 'Celebrating your win or drowning your losses', Cort M, Modern Athlete and Coach, Volume 47, Issue 2 (2009).
  • 'Clinical Sports Nutrition', Burke L and Deakin V (fourth edition) McGraw-Hill (2010).
  • 'Consultation Paper: Expansion of the National Binge Drinking Strategy', Community Sponsorship Fund, Department of Health and Ageing (2010).
  • 'Does alcohol advertising promote adolescent drinking, results from a longitudinal assessment', Ellickson P, et. al., Addiction, Volume 100 (2005).
  • '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, Number 9 (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.
  • ‘Early adolescent exposure to alcohol advertising and its relationship to underage drinking’ Collins R, Ellickson P, McCaffrey D, and Hambarsoomians K, Journal of Adolescent Health, Volume 40, Number 6 (2007).
  • A historical analysis of alcohol advertising in print media 1989-2009 (PDF  - 649 KB), Wilson I, Munro G, Hedwards B, and Cameron S,  Victorian Health Promotion Foundation report (2012).
  • 'The Impact of Alcohol Advertising, ELSA Project, National Foundation for Alcohol Prevention, the Netherlands (2007).
  • Pub sports - where alcohol fits in Australian sports (PDF  - 64 KB), Cox G, Sports Coach, Volume 27, Number 2 (2004).
  • 'Research into Spectator Behaviour', Sport and Recreation Victoria and LaTrobe University (2005).
  • Restricting or banning alcohol advertising to reduce alcohol consumption in adults and adolescents, Siegfried N, Pienaar D, Ataguba J, Volmink J, Kredo T, Jere M and Parry C, Cochrane Library, Drugs and Alcohol Group, published online 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' Kwana M, Bobkoc S, Faulknerd G, Donnelly P and Cairney J, Addictive Behaviors, published online (10 November 2013). 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, et. al. ACHPER Healthy Lifestyles Journal, Volume 56, Number 1 (2009).
  • Sportspeople warned, alcohol will affect recoverySports Medicine Australia, press release (27 April 2010).
  • 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, Jernigan D and Siegel M, Addiction, Volume 109, Issue 12 (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.
  • West Australia Liquor Control Act Review, McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth. The West Australia Liquor Licensing Act 1988 (‘the Act’) came into operation in 1989 and effectively remained unchanged for ten years, significant amendments were made in 1998 and 2007. This report captures the outcome of an extensive consultation process and makes recommendations about the Act, including provisions covering the advertising and marketing of liquor products.
  • 'Young Consumers’ Responses to Event Sponsorship Advertisements of Unhealthy Products: Implications of Schema-triggered Affect Theory', McDaniel S and Heald G, Sport Management Review, Volume 2 (2000).

Video iconVideo / Audio

  • 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. 
  • Good Sports Works. The Australian Drug Foundation (2015). The ADF's Good Sports community program has released a video highlight reel that features sports stars, politicians and community sports club members. The video provides a snapshot of what the program means to people, both in terms of these recent results as well as on a day-to-day basis.
  • What are kids really learning? Australian Drug Foundation (2015). The Good Sports community program has released a confronting television commercial, designed to provoke questions about what kids learn around sporting clubs and alcohol consumption.
  • Alcohol marketing and young people, David Jernigan, podcast (audio recording), Australian Drug Foundation, posted 18 November 2014. This is the first podcast in a series that discusses alcohol marketing and young people. An interview with David Jernigan, PhD, Director of the Centre on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, USA. Dr Jernigan discusses the efficacy of industry self-regulation.
  • Culture, Clea Smith and Paul Heptonstall, Play by the Rules Forum (2012) - Poor player behaviour is what hits the headlines, but the days of providing annual alcohol education sessions, ticking the box and crossing fingers things will improve are over. Changing the drinking culture across a sport needs more than bandaids.
  • AMA fights alcohol advertising. The Australian Medical Association is getting behind the campaign to stop kids being saturated by alcohol advertising during live sport.

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