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Pediatrics. 2018 Apr;141(4). pii: e20172822. doi: 10.1542/peds.2017-2822.

Sports Sponsorships of Food and Nonalcoholic Beverages.

Author information

1
Department of Population Health, School of Medicine, and marie.bragg@nyumc.org.
2
College of Global Public Health, New York University, New York, New York.
3
Department of Population Health, School of Medicine, and.
4
Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
5
Harvard Business School, Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts.
6
Division of Adolescent Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.
7
Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, University of Connecticut, Hartford, Connecticut; and.
8
Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Food and nonalcoholic beverage companies spend millions of dollars on professional sports sponsorships, yet this form of marketing is understudied. These sponsorships are valuable marketing tools but prompt concerns when unhealthy products are associated with popular sports organizations, especially those viewed by youth.

METHODS:

This descriptive study used Nielsen audience data to select 10 sports organizations with the most 2-17 year old viewers of 2015 televised events. Sponsors of these organizations were identified and assigned to product categories. We identified advertisements promoting food and/or nonalcoholic beverage sponsorships on television, YouTube, and sports organization Web sites from 2006 to 2016, and the number of YouTube advertisement views. The nutritional quality of advertised products was assessed.

RESULTS:

Youth watched telecasts associated with these sports organizations over 412 million times. These organizations had 44 food and/or nonalcoholic beverage sponsors (18.8% of sponsors), second to automotive sponsors (n = 46). The National Football League had the most food and/or nonalcoholic beverage sponsors (n = 10), followed by the National Hockey League (n = 7) and Little League (n = 7). We identified 273 advertisements that featured food and/or nonalcoholic beverage products 328 times and product logos 83 times (some advertisements showed multiple products). Seventy-six percent (n = 132) of foods had unhealthy nutrition scores, and 52.4% (n = 111) of nonalcoholic beverages were sugar-sweetened. YouTube sponsorship advertisements totaled 195.6 million views.

CONCLUSIONS:

Sports sponsorships are commonly used to market unhealthy food and nonalcoholic beverages, exposing millions of consumers to these advertisements.

PMID:
29581181
PMCID:
PMC5869328
DOI:
10.1542/peds.2017-2822
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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