Tuesday 20 February 2018

Why restricting alcohol sponsorship in sport makes sense

Denis Hickie
Denis Hickie

Andy Warhol once observed that people like to believe time changes things – whereas in reality we have to make changes ourselves. It's short-sighted to wait for the passage of years to do the heavy lifting for us.

Overturning the status quo can be a slow process, especially if powerful vested interest groups oppose it. I'm thinking of alcohol's tie-in with sport here. While tobacco sponsorship is now regarded as harmful, alcohol sponsorship remains tolerated – partly because lobbyists employed by drinks companies are effective at persuading politicians.

To date, the alcohol giants have successfully resisted efforts to dislodge their product names from pole position at sporting fixtures. Such events offer influential stages, and companies are unwilling to relinquish them without a fight. Sponsorship, by the way, is soft advertising – nothing else.

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