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25 Sep, 2015

Monash University Research: Australian Sports Help Drown Kids In Alcohol Ads

(Source: IOGT International) 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.

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 September 2015 issue of the journal Drug and Alcohol Review (2015) DOI: 10.1111/dar.12326

Key points:

Exposure to alcohol advertising is associated with greater alcohol consumption in children and adolescents, and alcohol advertising is common in Australian sport. The study examined child, adolescent and young adult exposure to alcohol advertising during three televised sports in Australia: Australian Football League (AFL), cricket and the National Rugby League (NRL).

Methods. Alcohol advertising and audience viewing data were purchased for all AFL, cricket and NRL TV programs in Australia for 2012. The study estimated children and adolescents (0–17 years) and young adults (18–29 years) exposure to alcohol advertising during AFL, cricket and NRL programs in the daytime (06:00–20:29 h), and night-time (20:30–23:59 h).


There were 3544 alcohol advertisements in AFL (1942), cricket (941) and NRL programs (661), representing 60% of all alcohol advertising in sport TV, and 15% of all alcohol advertisements on Australian TV.These programs had a cumulative audience of 26.9 million children and adolescents, and 32 million young adults. Children and adolescents received 51 million exposures to alcohol advertising, with 47% of this exposure occurring during the daytime.

Children and adolescents exposure to alcohol advertising was similar to young adults and peaked after 8.30pm. Discussion and Conclusions. Child and adolescent and young adult’s exposure to alcohol advertising is high when viewing sport TV in Australia in the daytime and night-time. Current alcohol advertising regulations are not protecting children and adolescents from exposure, particularly in prominent televised sports.The regulations should be changed to reduce children and adolescent excessive exposure to alcohol advertising when watching sport.