Alcohol sponsorship and sport

Twelve of the country’s leading sporting organisations agreed on Saturday to break their ties with alcohol sponsorship and instead receive funding totalling $24 million from the Australian National Health Prevention Agency (ANPHA).

Meanwhile the Australian Football League (AFL) has just extended their deal with Carlton United (CUB) for another five years. AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou said, “Both the AFL and CUB are committed to encouraging the responsible consumption of alcohol and through the Carlton Draught Substitute campaign where they will remind all patrons to consider their consumption at all AFL fixtures”1. But why didn’t the AFL mention that this should extend to all clubs at any level?

James Boag’s, on the other hand, is attempting to move into CUB’s territory by its latest marketing campaign to encourage community sporting clubs to buy more beer in return for rewards. Under the Boag’s sponsorship campaign clubs are eligible for greater rewards depending on the amount of beer they purchase—so clubs are encouraged to sell and drink more beer than they otherwise would.

A club can claim $2 worth of credit from every carton and $15 from every keg of beer bought by a club. The more clubs buy, the more credit earned by the club. Children have been given water bottles branded by James Boag’s beer with the message “Like it or not, there are times when you just can’t have a beer. That’s when you reach for the next best thing, Boag’s Pure Tasmanian Water”.

Research tells us that the more these brands are promoted to children, the more likely they are to start drinking earlier in life.

Sporting clubs should be a healthy environment with a focus on playing sport and developing sporting ability. Sporting clubs are resources for the whole community, including families, but they are less welcoming when taken over by excessive drinkers.

The Good Sports program has shown that clubs don’t need this type of sponsorship. In fact, increasing alcohol consumption risks reducing on-field performance and driving away members and supporters. Good Sports clubs have shown that by controlling alcohol consumption community clubs can generate more local sponsorships that increase their revenue.

So we welcome the $24 million funding for the 12 sporting organisations and we encourage more sporting clubs to reconsider sponsorships that encourage their members to drink more alcohol.
Julie Rae and Geoff Munro
Australian Drug Foundation

Sportsnewsfirst website 2012 “AFL substitutes to advertise beer”(accessed 15/06/12)

Search for more information on alcohol sponsorship and sport at the Australian Drug Information Network (ADIN).