How is drinking linked to sporting events?
Drinking alcohol has long been associated with sporting events, ironically. Particularly in the UK, there’s a drinking culture linked to watching or supporting sports, it’s become a natural part of the social aspect of sport. It seems strange that such heavy drinking would be directly associated with high level sporting events, but it filters through to amateur sports too.
The influence that big alcohol brands have with their sponsorship of high-profile sporting events is huge, as is their influence through advertising these events. There’s a clear connection between advertising alcohol at sporting events and consuming alcohol at sporting events, it’s a certain contributor to increased alcohol consumption. Whilst the UK has advertising legislation and broadcasting regulations in place to limit the exposure of alcohol adverts, sponsorship arrangements with certain cup finals can circumvent these regulations. To reduce the influence and exposure of alcohol brands advertising at sporting events, there needs to be an in-depth review of the current advertising and broadcasting controls to include sponsorship.
Here in the UK, our broadcast regulator is Ofcom who are responsible for restricting any representation of substances like alcohol from children’s programming. They’re also responsible for controlling any glamorisation of alcohol abuse shown on television before the watershed at 9pm. However, when it comes to cup finals and other big sporting events, particularly on a global scale with sponsorships, it can become more difficult to manage. Ofcom have no control over sponsorship at televised sporting events, nor are the advertisements regulated at the venue of televised sporting events; this essentially means that alcohol advertising through sponsorship at televised sporting events is surprisingly unregulated.
For many years now, advertising at sporting events is common practice and is actually the most dominant way to promote alcohol and drinking amongst the general population. Alcohol brands historically spend millions on advertising at these events, they clearly get a great response to continue this form of advertising at cup finals.
Regulating alcohol marketing
In a recent study conducted by WHO (2022), the highlight the increasing use of sophisticated online marketing techniques for alcohol and explain that young people and heavy drinkers are often targeted by alcohol advertising which is detrimental to their health. They go on to explain that sponsorship of major sporting events is a key strategy used by alcohol companies to significantly increase their brand awareness; this is often in addition to partnerships with sports leagues and clubs to reach more viewers and potential customers.
The lack of regulation in alcohol marketing is a major concern, particularly for children, adolescents, women, and heavy drinkers. Unfortunately, it’s been reported that alcohol-dependent people have frequently noted a stronger urge to consume alcohol when confronted with alcohol-related cues from advertising, yet they often don’t have an effective way to avoid this exposure from advertising or promotion, especially at sporting events.
What is alcohol addiction?
Alcohol addiction is a very common disease here in the UK. With alcohol readily available to purchase legally, it’s accessible to a huge group of people, negatively affecting millions across the world. It’s very common to consume alcohol socially as many people use it as an option to unwind, however, this social use has been known to develop into a dependency and in turn, into an alcohol addiction. As long as we view drinking and even binge drinking as the norm, it becomes very difficult to cut it out of your life.
Unfortunately, there’s still a stigma attached to alcoholism and those who are addicted to alcohol. Many people believe this to be a weakness and something they should be able to control which of course isn’t the case with people who are suffering from an alcohol addiction. The underlying reasons of an addiction to alcohol could be linked to trauma, mental health issues, environmental issues, grief, or high stress levels; it’s a completely involuntary illness.
Signs and symptoms of alcohol addiction
Excessive drinking can quickly become an addiction to alcohol which can be very difficult to overcome. Some signs and symptoms that could indicate the problem is becoming more severe include increased anxiety, depression, headaches, mood swings, vomiting, bloodshot eyes, and mood swings. You’ll likely notice a significant change in behaviour, you may be craving alcohol every day, you could experience physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms when you’re not consuming alcohol or feel as though your days are controlled by alcohol.
If you notice any of the above in your friends or family or feel as though you’re going through a similar experience yourself, then it’s essential that you seek out professional support from an alcohol rehabilitation centre as soon as possible.
Alcohol addiction rehabilitation
Societal factors can be a huge contributor to influencing people to believe that excessive drinking is the norm, especially when this is highlighted at major sporting events. WHO (2022) state that there are 3 million deaths worldwide every year as a result of alcohol abuse; this is a shocking 5.3% of all deaths. They go on to explain that alcohol consumption causes death and disability relatively early on in life, attributing approximately 13.5% of total deaths to alcohol in people aged 20-39 years old.
Here at Rehab Clinics Group, we want to help people overcome their battle with alcohol addiction. Whatever the cause of your addiction may be, we have fantastic facilities and an exceptional team who can help you every step of the way. With a personalised approach to all of our clients, you’ll benefit from following a tailored alcohol rehabilitation programme, receiving therapies and treatments will benefit your unique condition. We deliver relapse prevention sessions, cognitive behavioural therapy, stress management, and counselling, along with holistic therapies to improve your general well-being such as mindfulness, yoga, relaxation and sleep management, art therapy, music therapy, and low level laser therapy.