A report published today by the Foundation for Alcohol Research & Education has found all but one club in the NRL and AFL receive direct corporate sponsorship from alcohol brands.
The Melbourne Storm and the Western Bulldogs were the only two across the 34 clubs examined that received no direct payment from alcohol companies.
The Foundation for Alcohol Research & Education (FARE) analysed the specifics of both codes’ club sponsors to determine a ranking based on the extent to which they receive money from the alcohol industry.
Among the Alcohol Industry Advertising Partnerships With AFL And NRL Teams 2019 report’s top offenders were the Geelong Cats, the West Coast Eagles, the Melbourne Demons and the North Queensland Cowboys, all of which feature multiple alcohol brands as major sponsors.
FARE’s Director of Policy and Research Trish Hapworth said some codes are better than others when it comes to minimising involvement with the alcohol industry.
“On the whole, definitely AFL and NRL codes themselves are highly complicit in promoting alcohol to kids,” Ms Hapworth said.
“It wasn’t that many years ago that the leagues were both awash with tobacco sponsorship. They did the right thing then, and I see no reason why they can’t do it now.”
FARE used the clubs’ official websites, social media pages, kits and merchandise to source the identities of their respective corporate partnerships.
This approach excluded sponsorships of TV stations, stadiums and leagues.
Using this method to analyse two other major sporting leagues in Australia, A-League and the Big Bash League, the prevalence of alcohol brand sponsorships is proportionally less.
In a statement made to The Shout, The Brewers Association of Australia has disputed FARE’s association between alcohol brand sponsorships and youth drinking.
The NRL and AFL have not yet made a comment on the report.