Pledge for Life endorses Campaign for Alcohol-Free Sports TV

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

The Pledge for Life Partnership is joining with more than 80 national, state and local groups in support of the Campaign for Alcohol-Free Sports TV – a nationwide movement calling upon colleges, universities, athletic conferences and the National Collegiate Athletic Association to end alcohol advertising on all sports-related broadcasts.

The Partnership is endorsing the campaign, which is a project of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), as part of its prevention activities in April during National Alcohol Awareness Month.

Drinking is the number one health problem on campuses today, said Debra Baron, director of the Pledge for Life Partnership. “It's inconsistent to discourage underage drinking and then turn around and promote it on your college sports broadcast.”

According to the National Institute Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), two out of five college students are binge drinkers; some 1,400 college students die each year from alcohol-related injuries; more than 70,000 students are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape; and 500,000 students are injured under the influence of alcohol each year.

In addition, 2.1 million students drove under the influence of alcohol last year and another 110,000 students were arrested for alcoholic-related violations.

In 2002, the alcoholic-beverage industry spent $58 million on commercials during college sports programs; $28 million of that was spent on 939 ads aired during that year's NCAA basketball tournament. That compares with the 925 ads aired during the Super Bowl, World Series, college bowl games, and Monday Night football combined Alcohol ads appeared twice as often, on average, during NCAA championship broadcasts than during other sports programs, and 16 times as often, on average, than during all other television programming.

Among the viewers of those alcohol ads were large concentrations of avid fans who are underage college or high school students. Studies report that approximately 93 percent of youth ages 8 to 17 are exposed to sports programming in the media (88 percent on television) annually.
Polling by the CSPI shows that 80 percent of adults support the elimination of alcohol ads at times when large numbers of teenagers are watching and 77 percent of parents say it is wrong for colleges o take money from beer companies that promote drinking while at the same time trying to discourage underage and binge drinking among their students.

In support of the campaign, more than 110 colleges and universities including Northwestern University in Evanston, Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and Augustana College in Rock Island, have pledged to promote alcohol-free telecasts of athletic games and programs involving their schools.

The Partnership is urging parents and other community leaders to make their support of the Campaign for Alcohol-Free Sports TV known by contacting their congressmen. For more information about the Campaign for Alcohol-Free Sports TV, contact the Partnership at 936-4606 or visit

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A Pledge for Life Partnership Initiative
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