A new study has revealed that Australian Football League (AFL), National Rugby League (NRL) and Cricket are promoting alcohol to children. Research from Monash University shows that Australian children and adolescents receive millions of exposures to alcohol advertising when watching AFL, NRL, and Cricket on TV. Almost half of the total amount of exposures (47%) are occurring during children’s daytime viewing.
The study found that there were 3544 alcohol adverts in free-to-air AFL, NRL, and Cricket, representing 60% of all alcohol advertising in sport TV. The AFL had the most alcohol adverts (1942) throughout the year, followed by Cricket (941) and the NRL (661), with children’s exposure to alcohol advertising greatest when watching AFL.
The study considerably underestimates children’s true exposure to alcohol advertising when watching sport, because the data do not include alcohol advertising on players uniforms, stadium signage, or on the playing surface, and was restricted to live sports.
What was striking was the extent of children’s exposure because of the clause allowing alcohol advertising in daytime sport. It’s banned in every other TV genre because it’s known to be harmful to children, so why is sport exempt,” said lead-author Sherilene Carr.
The alcohol industry’s job is to increase sales and consumption of alcohol, so they can’t be expected to protect young people’s health, but the professional sports leagues AFL, NRL, and Cricket, ought to do more than they apparently do for the wellbeing of Australian children and youth.
Along with other recent reports, the study suggests that removing a clause in current regulations that allows alcohol advertising during the daytime in sport, and preventing alcohol advertising before 9.30pm, could cut in halve children and adolescents exposure to alcohol advertising. The study is published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review.