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Alcohol advertising and abuse during sporting events
The relationship between alcohol and sports spectatorship is long-standing. Southern California is home to many popular sporting teams and their fans, to whom alcohol use, and sometimes abuse, is no stranger. Cracking open a cold beer while watching an Anaheim Angels game at a friend’s house or tailgating at Qualcomm Stadium before a San Diego Chargers game is common practice among many sports fans. However, medical professionals worldwide now urge leagues to put a ban on sponsorship from alcohol companies in an attempt to reduce alcohol abuse among minors and adults during sporting events.
Alcohol advertising during games or in association with specific teams and/or leagues is common in the United States. Bud Light’s parent company, Anheuser-Busch, is an official sponsor of the National Football League (NFL) and invests over $200 million each year in league advertising. Some medical professionals fear that the strong association between alcohol and sports spectatorship encourages underage drinking. Dr. Mark Porter, chair of council at the British Medical Association, co-wrote a letter with other medical field specialists on the effects of this advertising on youth. The letter, written to U.K. publication The Guardian, states, “Self-regulation of alcohol advertising isn’t working when it allows drink brands to dominate sporting events that attract children and adults, creating automatic associations between alcohol brands and sport that are cumulative, unconscious and built up over years.”
Measures have been taken by certain sports officials to reduce the presence of alcohol in the industry. The University of Iowa was the source of controversy in 2014 when it created more stringent laws on tailgating and enforcement of the open container law with regard to drunk driving near campus. Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich has been working toward stricter regulations on alcohol sales within Dodger Stadium since 2011, when two Dodgers fans attacked a Giants fan after a game and left him permanently disabled. The perpetrators, who fled the scene but were later caught, are believed to have been under the influence of alcohol purchased inside the stadium at the time of the attack. Within Anaheim, alcohol is no longer allowed in the parking lots of Angel Stadium or the Honda Center, home of the Anaheim Ducks, but is sold inside both venues.
If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol abuse and/or addiction, help is available. Call the 24/7 hotline for the Anaheim Drug Treatment Rehab Center at 714-589-2811 to be connected with a professional today.