NFL Opens Floodgates For Big Alcohol
The National Football League (NFL) has opened further the floodgate for Big Alcohol to use NFL players for alcohol marketing and promotions. NFL has loosened its alcohol advertizing policies, including giving official sponsors the possibility to use active players in beer ads for the first time.
According to reports, while alcohol brands still cannot use active players in marketing, alcohol marketers can now promote themselves as the “official” product of teams they sponsor.
AB InBev, which is the NFL’s official beer sponsor, confirmed the changes. The NFL’s update follows a deal the world’s biggest beer brewer struck last year with pro baseball and basketball players unions that cleared the way for the brewer to use more active players in ads from those sports.
Anheuser-Busch’s landmark agreement with the players association for the NBA and MLB was a first for the alcohol industry. With the NFL’s recent announcement, we now have rights to partner with active players in the three biggest leagues in the U.S.,” said Marcel Marcondes, AB InBev U.S. chief marketing officer, as per AdAge.
U.S. Pro sports paves the way for Big Alcohol
Liquor brands had been banned from running ads of any kind during NFL games until the league lifted the ban in 2017. Beer brands have long been able to run ads during games, but marketers were barred from using active players, until now.
Big Alcohol is rejoicing and citing it as a win for sponsors, the NFL, and the players, while ignoring that this latest development is a major setback for public health and a serious loss for children, youth and the millions of people who are facing alcohol problems or who want to enjoy pro sports free from alcohol propaganda. Research has proven alcohol promotions in sports fuels the pervasive alcohol norm.
Further alcohol promotions in sports expose children to alcohol marketing which influences them to start using alcohol earlier, and more if they are already consuming it, having long-term adverse health and development consequences. Research shows that brand specific alcohol marketing such as done through sports, poses a great threat to youth.
Independent scientists and public health experts have been calling for alcohol ad and sponsorship bans in sports due to the health harms. It is irrational to market or link sports players with a health-harmful product when sports is seen as a healthy activity. This move by NFL completely disregards expert advice as well as the health and well-being of their fans and specially the young fans.