The final siren of the 2019 AFL Premiership Season isn’t due to sound until Saturday afternoon, but in the eyes of one competition, the Richmond Tigers are already the winners.
The Tigers – who are favourites to take out the grand final – are also the only team that does not accept any “unhealthy” sponsorship deals.
It makes them back-to-back winners, according to the research compiled by Curtin University’s Public Health Advocacy Institute of WA.
The institute studied each of the 18 AFL clubs’ sponsors, and sorted them into traffic light strains, examining those sponsors who promoted alcohol, gambling and junk food.
Red lights were given to alcohol and gambling promotion, and amber to junk food sponsors.
Richmond was the only club to have a clear run, and the Adelaide Crows were ranked bottom of the ladder with eight red sponsors and two amber.
Our 2019 sponsorship ladder created in partnership with @CancerCouncilWA has been released! This year 17/18 @AFL teams have an unhealthy sponsor. With so many young viewers its time more teams followed in the footsteps of @Richmond_FC being role models on and off the field. pic.twitter.com/Kclry8lg76
— PHAIWA (@PHAIWA) September 25, 2019
The institute’s Julia Stafford, who works as a research fellow within its alcohol programs team, said the ladder findings showed the growing issue with unhealthy alcohol advertising and sponsorship in Australian sport.
Sixteen clubs had sponsorships from alcohol companies.
“Previous research has shown that exposure to alcohol marketing can have a significant impact on young people and the close connection between alcohol and sport is damaging,” Ms Stafford said in a statement.
“AFL is a major part of the Australian lifestyle and we know hundreds of thousands of Australian kids watch AFL each year.”
Drowning in ‘dirty’ dollars
Unfortunately, the country’s best-known sporting codes are no strangers to accepting advertising money from alcohol companies.
The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education earlier this year released its own findings into booze ads in the AFL and NRL.
Across both codes, in less than 20 days, six clubs had a minimum of one major alcohol advertising deal. Another 11 AFL clubs and nine NRL teams spouted at least one minor deal.