Baseball Australia has pledged to ban alcohol advertising from its junior competitions and at the national representative level of the game.
The move sees the national sports body become the first code in Australia to outlaw alcohol advertising, and it is the first sports body to partner with the End Alcohol Advertising in Sport campaign.
The End Alcohol Advertising in Sport campaign launched in October in a bid to urge the government to ban alcohol ads during Australian sport. The campaign was supported by research which revealed 365 alcohol ads had aired during the NRL grand final, while 188 aired in the AFL grand final, accounting for three ads and one ad per minute of coverage, respectively.
Baseball Australia chief executive Cam Vale said the code’s decision was in response to community attitudes and aimed to help create a healthier, family-friendly sporting environment.
“Our junior players, and the kids and families who support Baseball in Australia are the future of our code. They are tomorrow’s players, superstars and fans of our sport, and in partnering with End Alcohol Advertising in Sport, we aspire to create a healthier sporting environment for them all to thrive.”
Vale said the sports body had already rejected a sponsorship proposal from an overseas alcohol brand.
However, the three-year partnership with the End Alcohol Advertising in Sport campaign will not apply to the eight Australian Baseball League teams which compete in the national professional league.
As part of the partnership the End Alcohol Advertising in Sport campaign will be promoted nationally at Little League games, as well as on Baseball Australia’s digital and media platforms, and to baseball clubs and members throughout Australia.
Michael Thorn, the spokesperson for End Alcohol Advertising in Sport and chief executive for the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, said: “Baseball Australia have today shown leadership that is sadly lacking in too many of our national sporting codes.
“Sport can and should be a powerful force for good. Rather than simply condemning player transgressions, sporting codes must show leadership, and that starts with walking away from alcohol advertising dollars, as Baseball Australia is doing.”
It follows similar moves to regulate alcohol advertising globally, in September alcohol brands including Diageo, Pernod Ricard, Carlsberg and AB InBev teamed with Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube and Twitter to form the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD) in a bid to encourage more "robust standards of responsibility’ on the tech platforms.