Armchair football fans bombarded with alcohol ads

17 September, 2013

Researchers urged the Government to ban alcohol firms from sponsoring football matches after finding armchair fans are bombarded by more than 100 images of beer, wine and spirits every hour.

The study was conducted by Newcastle University in conjunction with the NHS, and the team analysed six matches spread over 18 hours and 21 minutes on the BBC, ITV and Sky.

In that time there were 2,042 visual references to alcohol – mainly beer – from billboards surrounding the pitch to logos on kits.

That equates to 111.3 visual references an hour.

Dr Jean Adams, senior lecturer in public health at Newcastle University, said: “Alcohol–related hospital admission are continuing to rise, despite alcohol consumption falling overall because the heaviest drinkers are consuming more.

“This type of study has never been done before in the UK, looking at alcohol marketing during televised football matches. We wanted as broad a picture as possible, which is why we chose the matches from different broadcasters and from different competitions.”

The university said that £202.5 million is spent every year on advertising alcohol, while over £800 million goes on overall marketing, and argued that this increases the likelihood that young people will drink more.

Andy Graham, speciality registrar in public health with the NHS, said: “Our findings show that young people are likely to be hugely exposed to alcohol marketing during televised football matches, and this is likely to have an influence on their attitudes to alcohol.

“We were surprised by just how many images there were during these games, it was a constant bombardment.

“We believe a similar restriction to that imposed on tobacco products may be justified.”

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