Aims: The aim of the study was to explore the frequency of alcohol marketing (both formal commercials and otherwise) in televised top-class English professional football matches.
Methods: A purposive sample of six broadcasts (total = 1101 min) of televised top-class English club football matches were identified and recorded in full. A customized coding framework was used to identify and categorize all verbal and visual alcohol references in non-commercial broadcasting. The number and the duration of all formal alcohol commercials were also noted.
Results: A mean of 111 visual references and 2 verbal references to alcohol per hour of broadcast were identified. Nearly all visual references were to beer products and were primarily simple logos or branding. The majority of verbal alcohol references were related to title-sponsorship of competitions. A total of 17 formal alcohol commercials were identified, accounting for <1% of total broadcast time.
Conclusion: Visual alcohol references in televised top-class English football matches are common with an average of nearly two per minute. Verbal references are rare and formal alcohol commercials account for <1% of broadcast time. Restriction of all alcohol sports sponsorship, as seen for tobacco, may be justified.