Should Sports Give Booze Ads The Boot?

Not too long ago, American lawmakers took action to prevent tobacco companies from advertising in certain formats (remember the Winston Cup?), and now a movement is under way Down Under and Across The Pond to do the same with the alcohol industry. Needless to say the issue has attracted some serious attention and stirred up a firestorm of debate from both sides. Should beer, wine & liquor ads be banned from sporting events?

On one hand, you’ve got the producers, distributors, and, yes, drinkers of the booze who point to studies showing no relationship between advertising and alcohol abuse. One large player in this bunch is The Portman Group, a public relations firm that represents numerous beverage companies such as Inbev, who recently acquired Anheuser-Bush and sells their suds in 30 countries worldwide, and Carlsberg, a Dutch brewing company. Portman’s estimates are that the drink industry spends between $250 million to $330 million annually on sponsorships and advertising in the UK alone. In the US… well, just think about that football game you watched on Sunday and how many beer commercials you saw…’nuff said.

On the other hand, medical experts, public safety officials and teetotalers in general have their own studies that show the opposite: the more pro-alcohol messages someone sees, the more likely they are to drink the stuff, and too many ads can contribute to creating a full-on drinking problem. (It’s obviously not as cut-and-dry as that, but you get the drift.) And with just about every sport and their stars being marketed to younger crowds, a major concern is the effect of these ads on teenagers and even younger children.

You don’t have to go any further than golfer John Daly to see what abuse of alcohol (among other vices) can do to a career. Daly has lost endorsements, teachers, fans, and untold prize money with his alcohol-soaked antics.

But would a ban on sponsorships and advertising really help keep kids from drinking? And how would leagues, teams and players make up for the missing revenue that beer ads are currently providing? That other major sports sponsor, car companies, has also pulled back on the ads and you can ask the folks at the Buick Open how that turned out!

What’cha think Rock Heads? Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments below, or shoot me a note on Twitter, FaceBook or MySpace to continue the debate!

~Scratch

PS: This Caveman is a long-time fan of John Daly and glad to see he seems to be on the right track these days! I’m happy to have his signature Grip It & Rip It golf gloves here in The Cave, and wish him the best of luck with his latest venture: recording an album of country tunes!

Golf Trivia: Why do golf courses have 18 holes, and not 20, 10 or an even dozen? Click here to see the answer!

 
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9 thoughts on “Should Sports Give Booze Ads The Boot?

  • November 13, 2009 at 8:08 pm
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    Seen any ads for pot? Herion? How ’bout cocaine? Another attempt by the Nanny state to make the world “safer” for the next gen. But at the rate we are spending money our descendants won’t have enough spare change to develop any bad habits. No more alcohol, drugs, tobacco or illicit sex. Thank God I’ll be dead.

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  • November 14, 2009 at 5:44 am
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    Trying to save the world has never worked. Leave responsible people alone. The ones that will drink too much will do that without a commercial being shown in a sports venue. If they don’t drink they’ll more than likely do some other form of drug. Save the whales or something.

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  • November 16, 2009 at 11:43 am
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    I am not going to argue the drinking in excess issues, as these are personal decisions, and people get their values from their parents and their home life, not from TV.

    Does golf need to lose any more sponsors or tournaments? Can it survive? I think not, I have no problem watching the Johnny Walker Open or the Mich Ultra at Kingsmill! We need to make the game stronger, not weaker!

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  • November 24, 2009 at 12:08 pm
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    Ban alcohol ads from golf? Those medical experts state the obvious when they say more ads leads to more drinking and contributes to drinking problems. What is not obvious is that those facts are significant enough to ban alcohol ads from golf. When I drive to work I “contribute” to traffic accidents caused by traffic congestion. So what? If golf received 75% of their sponsorship money from heroin ads, then it would be a good thing for golf to take one on the chin and ban the ads. But alcohol use has nowhere close to the level of negative impact that cigarettes or heroin do. The answer is no, regardless of the state of the economy.

    What we need to do is ban the mention of the term “4 hour erection” from those Viagra ads. Every time my girlfriend hears that, she gets excited, goes to the fridge and gets a 6 pack and then ruins a perfectly good afternoon of golf watching.

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