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TitleCommercial determinants of health in sport. The example of the English Premier League
AuthorIreland, Robin
AbstractIntroduction: Transnational alcohol, food, beverage and gambling industries market their unhealthy brands to sport’s global audiences. However, there has been little research on the commercial determinants of health in sport and the world’s most popular sport and competition - football’s English Premier League (EPL). Methods: I conducted four inter-linked studies to assess the commercial determinants of health in a case study of the EPL: 1) An internet scoping study of the sponsorship deals of EPL clubs in the 2018/19 and 2019/20 football seasons. 2) A content analysis of visual references to unhealthy brands during five EPL matches broadcast on subscription television in 2019. 3) The marketing strategies used by four EPL sponsors drawn from the gambling, food, beverage and alcohol industries. 4) A qualitative study capturing the stakeholders’ views about unhealthy brand sponsorship in football. Findings: The EPL and its member clubs have multiple partners drawn from the unhealthy commodity industries. Gambling brands are most prominent both in club sponsorships and during ‘live’ football programmes. The brands appear both on players’ shirts and in pitch perimeter advertising. Sophisticated marketing strategies then activate traditional and digital methods to engage fans as consumers. Stakeholders’ views on sponsorship reflect their level of economic and cultural capital. Discussion and Conclusions: This study has described the marketing practices of unhealthy commodity industries in the EPL. Given that it has been demonstrated by others that this marketing is likely to damage the health of football’s global audience of fanconsumers, a more ethical approach to sport sponsorship deserves consideration.
TypeThesis; NonPeerReviewed
Identifier Ireland, Robin (2021) Commercial determinants of health in sport. The example of the English Premier League. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.