NRL fans see triple the alcohol ads of AFL fans during finals TV coverage


Posted

October 10, 2018 06:27:59

Fans watching the 2018 NRL grand final on TV were exposed to more than three times as much alcohol advertising as those who watched the AFL grand final, according to analysis of the weekend’s coverage by a research group.

Key points:

  • Analysis finds people who watched AFL and NRL grand finals exposed to nearly 500 instances of alcohol advertising
  • Beer company’s logo on both ends of NRL field appeared 215 times during TV coverage
  • Researchers renew push to ban alcohol advertising during televised sporting matches

The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) found there were 376 instances of alcohol advertising during the broadcast of the NRL grand final, and 120 instances of alcohol advertising during the AFL grand final coverage.

Researchers counted each new occasion an alcohol brand or alcohol-sponsored message appeared on the TV across the course of the match, including ad breaks and the 10 minutes of coverage before and after the games.

They found alcohol advertising appeared an average of 7 times every 10 minutes for AFL viewers, and 29 times every 10 minutes for NRL viewers.

Under the Australian Communications and Media Authority rules, alcohol advertisements cannot be shown on television until after 8:30pm on weekends when the media watchdog’s designated children’s viewing hours end, but an exemption exists for sporting matches.

Sport a ‘conduit’ for alcohol ads

FARE chief executive Michael Thorn said the “extraordinary levels” of “pernicious” alcohol advertising during two of Australia’s major sporting finals demonstrates the need to close the exemption.

“The problem with this, is that it’s alcohol advertising that is exposing young people to these alcohol brands,” Mr Thorn said.

“And we know from extensive research conducted here in Australia and internationally, that the more children are exposed to alcohol advertising, the greater the risk they will commence their drinking earlier and engage in more incidents of binge drinking.”

The majority of alcohol advertisements which appeared during the AFL grand final were in the form of rolling or electronic banners around the MCG oval, while Victoria Bitter logos displayed on the field at the NRL final accounted for 215 instances of alcohol advertising.

“The two on-field advertisements, for Victoria Bitter, were placed close to the try line on either end of the field,” the report said.

“As well as ensuring high exposure this also associated the alcohol brand with many of the key moments in the game, being visible as teams were in the penultimate, high stakes moments before scoring.”

By contrast, the analysis found there were only 11 appearances during the NRL grand final of a New South Wales Government advertisement warning of the dangers of drink driving.

FARE’s report concluded that “professional sport is currently being used as a highly effective conduit for mass population alcohol marketing during children’s viewing hours.”

Doctors and alcohol researchers have called for bans on alcohol advertising during sporting matches for several years, but major sporting codes argued last year that banning alcohol advertising during games could undermine the economics of professional sport.

“It’s clear that these major sports are addicted to these unhealthy commodities,” Mr Thorn said.

“It’s not just alcohol, it’s gambling, it’s junk food and this has got to come to an end.”

Mick Malthouse joins push to close exemption

Mr Thorn said FARE is using its analysis to launch a campaign to end alcohol advertising during sporting events.

“Our campaign objective is to end the exemption that allows alcohol brands to be shown on television before 8:30pm,” he said.

“The bigger issue here is the association with sporting heroes and these major sports.

“Young people associate the drinking and these alcohol brands with those sports and the behaviour of those sports people and those sports.”

AFL greats Mick Malthouse and Rod Butterss are backing the campaign, along with former cricketer Dr Ric Charlesworth.

“Kids should be able to watch sport and identify with just sport, not harmful advertising that impacts their health,” Malthouse said in a statement supporting the campaign.

The AFL and NRL were contacted for comment.

Topics:

alcohol,

health,

alcohol-education,

advertising,

information-and-communication,

nrl,

rugby-league,

sport,

australian-football-league,

australia,

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