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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

BU Study Finds Sponsorships of Events Tied to Underage Alcohol Use

Alcohol brands that are the most popular among underage drinkers are more likely to engage in sponsorships of organizations and events, especially those related to sports, music, and entertainment, a new study co-authored by a Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researcher has found.

The findings of the study, published in the journal Addiction, show that sponsorship is “a significant strategy of alcohol marketers that generates brand capital through positive associations with integral aspects of culture and lifestyle,” the authors concluded. Problems of underage alcohol use, they said, “cannot be understood and addressed adequately without taking into account and . . . monitoring and measuring the impact of this highly prevalent form of alcohol marketing.”

The research team, led by Dr. Michael Siegel, professor of community health sciences at BUSPH, examined sponsorships of organizations and events in the U.S. from 2010 to 2013 by the top 75 brands of alcohol consumed by underage drinkers. The team identified 945 sponsorships during the study period.

“Our findings have important research, practice, and policy implications,” the authors wrote. “First, they suggest that more research is needed to examine the potential impact of alcohol sponsorship on youth alcohol-related attitudes and drinking behavior. Secondly, they suggest that, as has been the case with tobacco, public health campaigns may be needed to discourage organizations from accepting alcohol industry sponsorship.”

To read more about the study, go to: