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Alcohol ads on-screen ‘every 15 seconds’ at rugby game

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The Aviva Stadium in Dublin

The Aviva Stadium in Dublin

The Aviva Stadium in Dublin

References to alcohol appeared on-screen every 15 seconds during one of Ireland’s Six Nations games at the Aviva stadium last year, a study has shown.

Research on marketing by drinks brands in the rugby tournament found 1,444 references to alcohol across the two matches played in Ireland last year.

There were 690 references (3.8 per minute or once every 16 seconds) during the clash with Scotland and 754 references (4.0 per minute or once every 15 seconds) in the Wales match.

New restrictions on alcohol advertising in sport will come into force on November 12 under the Public Health Alcohol Bill.

The authors of the study, Dr Richard Purves and Dr Nathan Critchlow of the University of Stirling, have asked how Ireland’s incoming rules “may influence alcohol marketing practice in future iterations of the tournament”.

In Scotland, the figures were higher, with 961 references observed during their clash with England at Murrayfield stadium in Edinburgh. This equated to, on average, 5.1 references per broadcast minute or once every 12 seconds.

In France, which already has similar restrictions to those Ireland will implement, there were 193 references in their fixture against England at the Stade de France in Paris. This equated, on average, to 1.2 references a minute across the broadcast, or once every 50 seconds.

However, researchers warned of a practice of “alibi marketing” that has grown prominent in France since the Evin Law, which regulates sport sponsorship, was introduced.

The study says this practice uses features that are linked to the brand without explicitly referring to it – a practice that has been used by tobacco companies in sport too.

“In France, the Six Nations lead sponsor, Guinness, uses the term ‘Greatness’ instead – with the same branding,” it says.

Researchers say the use of alibi marketing in France will raises questions for the new restrictions Ireland is set to introduce this year.

The Guinness Six Nations was contacted for comment.

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