Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Alcohol marketing in televised international football: frequency analysis

Jean Adams*, James Coleman and Martin White

Author Affiliations

Institute of Health & Society, Newcastle University, Baddiley-Clark Building, Richardson Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4HH, UK

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Public Health 2014, 14:473  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-473

Published: 20 May 2014



Alcohol marketing includes sponsorship of individuals, organisations and sporting events. Football (soccer) is one of the most popular spectator sports worldwide. No previous studies have quantified the frequency of alcohol marketing in a high profile international football tournament. The aims were to determine: the frequency and nature of visual references to alcohol in a representative sample of EURO2012 matches broadcast in the UK; and if frequency or nature varied between matches broadcast on public service and commercial channels, or between matches that did and did not feature England.


Eight matches selected by stratified random sampling were recorded. All visual references to alcohol were identified using a tool with high inter-rater reliability.


1846 visual references to alcohol were identified over 1487 minutes of broadcast - an average of 1.24 references per minute. The mean number of references per minute was higher in matches that did vs did not feature England (pā€‰=ā€‰0.004), but did not differ between matches broadcast on public service vs commercial channels (pā€‰=ā€‰0.92).


The frequency of visual references to alcohol was universally high and higher in matches featuring the only UK home team - England - suggesting that there may be targeting of particularly highly viewed matches. References were embedded in broadcasts, and not particular to commercial channels including paid-for advertising. New UK codes-of-conduct on alcohol marketing at sporting events will not reduce the level of marketing reported here.

Advertising; Sport; Media