Australian women’s attitudes towards alcohol industry sponsorship of women’s sport
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Deakin University, Australia
Cancer Council WA, Australia
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A794
The alcohol industry uses a range of tactics to align themselves with female friendly causes and events. These promotional strategies may influence women’s views about alcohol products and their subsequent consumption behaviours. While the alcohol industry has mainly sponsored male sports, there is evidence that they are increasingly sponsoring women’s sports. This study aims to explore how women interpret and support alcohol industry relationships within women sport.

An online panel survey was conducted with n=497 Australian women who had consumed alcohol in the past year. This presentation focuses on questions related to alcohol industry sponsorship of sport. This included questions about why participants thought the alcohol industry sponsored women’s sport, their support for this, and the perceived influence of these sponsorships on women’s alcohol attitudes. Reflexive thematic analysis was used.

Women perceived that the alcohol industry sponsored women’s sport for: a) the increased exposure of their brands, b) as a mechanism to increase their profits, and c) to normalise the consumption of alcohol use. About half of women were supportive of these sponsorship relationships, stating that the alcohol industry was a legitimate business and could be positive for women’s sport by increasing equality with men’s sport and providing much needed financial support. Women who were not supportive perceived that women’s sport was not an appropriate platform to promote alcohol, that children could be exposed to this marketing, and that it could ultimately increase women’s alcohol consumption.

Globally, women’s sport is rapidly growing and is arguably an increasingly attractive marketing space for unhealthy industries to increase their markets. Strategies should be developed to protect women’s sport from such promotions. This includes government intervention to restrict the alcohol industry’s ability to sponsor sporting teams and events and develop mechanisms to enable women’s sport to resist such sponsorship deals.

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