Alcohol sponsorship linked to hazardous drinking in sportspeople

Nov 18, 2008

A new study provides the first evidence of a link between alcohol-industry sponsorship and hazardous drinking among sportspeople.

Researchers from The University of Manchester and the University of Newcastle in Australia quizzed nearly 1,300 sportspeople and found alcohol-related companies sponsored almost half of them.

The sponsorship ranged from financial incentives, such as payment of competition fees and the supply of sports kit, but nearly half of the sponsorship deals included free or discounted alcohol for sporting functions and post-match celebrations.

The study, published in the December edition of the journal Addiction, found that sportspeople sponsored by the alcohol industry were more likely to engage in binge drinking than those with no alcohol sponsor.

This figure increased significantly when the sponsorship deal included free or discounted booze, and among those sportspeople who believed there was an obligation for them to drink the sponsor's products or attend their establishments.

"Alcohol consumption is a leading cause of mortality, responsible for 9.2% of the disease burden in developed countries," said the study's author, Dr Kerry O'Brien, who is based in Manchester's School of Psychological Sciences.

"Heavy episodic drinking is particularly harmful. It is common among sportspeople and is associated with other risky behaviour, such as drink-driving, unprotected sex and antisocial behaviour."

A growing body of research has detailed the drinking behaviour of sportspeople, including peer pressure and the increased opportunities for consumption, but this is the first time a link between sport sponsorship and hazardous drinking by sportspeople has been investigated.

"Sportspeople receiving direct alcohol-industry sponsorship of any kind, including payment of competition fees, costs for uniforms and the provision of alcoholic beverages, reported more hazardous drinking than those not receiving sponsorship," said Dr O'Brien.

"Similarly, those receiving free or discounted drinks from sponsors and those sportspeople that felt they were required to drink their sponsor's alcohol product at their establishments reported even higher levels of drinking.

"While finding that provision of free or discounted alcohol is linked to higher-reported drinking seems common sense, we needed to show clearly that this form of sponsorship occurs, and that it is actually associated with hazardous drinking."

The research, say the authors, raises serious ethical issues for sports administrators concerned with the health of sportspeople. Dr O'Brien added: "We suggest that health and governmental organisations need to work with sporting organisations and clubs to find ways to sever links with the alcohol industry, while still ensuring sports groups have sufficient financial support."

Source: University of Manchester

Explore further: Experts: Chopin's heart shows signs of TB

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Sports stars are no role models, say scientists

Apr 21, 2010

The loutish and drunken behaviour of some of our sporting heroes - routinely reported in the media - has little or no effect on the drinking habits of young people, new research has found.

Recommended for you

The argument in favor of doping

8 hours ago

Ahead of Friday's court ruling on whether ASADA's investigation into the Essendon Football Club was lawful, world leader in practical and medical ethics Professor Julian Savulescu, looks at whether there is a role for performance-enhancing ...

Errata frequently seen in medical literature

Sep 16, 2014

(HealthDay)—Errata, including those that may materially change the interpretation of data, are frequent in medical publications, according to a study published in the August issue of The American Journal of ...

User comments : 0