66% claim sports don’t affect tipple of choice

More than two-thirds of consumers say their drink of choice is unaffected by alcohol sponsorship in sports.

A similar percentage (68%) also believe that a ban on alcohol sponsorship of sporting events would not lead to them spending less on alcohol.

Grocery magazine Checkout, which commissioned the survey, found opinion was divided as to whether a ban on alcohol sponsorship of sporting events would reduce the exposure of drink to children.

While 40% said it would reduce young people’s exposure, 39% said it would not.

Checkout editor Stephen Wynn-Jones, said it was clear from the survey that Government proposals to ban drinks’ companies from sponsoring events seemed misguided.

He pointed out that fewer than one in 10 people (9%) said they were likely to buy a drink because of its association with a particular sporting event.

Mr Wynn-Jones said sporting organisations had the most to lose from a ban, which would strip them of a vital means of funding.

Those taking part in the survey were asked if they agreed with the statement: ‘I am more likely to purchase certain alcoholic products due to alcohol brands sponsoring sporting events.’

More than three in four 35- to 44-year-olds disagreed with the statement, compared to 58% of 18- to 24-year-olds; 65% aged 25-34; and 68% of those aged 45-plus.

Around three-quarters of those aged 25-34 and 35-44 said their spending would be unaffected by an alcohol sports ban.

Just over half of those aged 18-24 and 68% aged 45-plus said the ban would not change their spending habits.

Last month, a Cabinet sub-committee agreed in principal that while a ban on sporting events by drinks companies would be welcome, it could not be implemented without the identification of alternative funding sources.

The matter is due to be raised again when the Government returns from its summer recess.

There is a proposal to phase in an alcohol sports ban over the next seven years with no new deals allowed after 2016.

Alcohol Action Ireland, said the drinks industry continued to spend vast amounts of money on advertising, including sports sponsorship.

Spokesman Conor Cullen claimed there was already a lot of evidence to show that children and young people were influenced by the advertising and sponsorship that increased the likelihood of them starting to drink and to drink more if already consuming alcohol.

“It’s not our sporting organisations that have the most to lose from a ban on alcohol sponsorship of sports, but an industry that uses those organisations and their positive, healthy activities as a vehicle to sell its unhealthy and harmful products to the people of Ireland,” he said.

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