Local campaigner, Aaron Schultz says not only are our sporting grounds riddled with alcohol and junk food advertising, but you can’t even pay the AFL or Cricket Australia to promote healthy living.
The claim follows his unsuccessful bid to buy advertising space at Bellerive Oval in Hobart, ahead of tomorrow’s clash between North Melbourne and the Sydney Swans.
Australia’s two largest sporting codes, Cricket Australia and the Australian Football League blocked Mr Schultz’s attempts to buy signage at the ground to launch his Game Changer campaign, an expanded initiative aimed at tackling unhealthy advertising in sport.
Mr Schultz has serious concerns about the way Australians are being targeted by alcohol and junk food advertising through sport. He had Cricket Australia in his sights earlier this year and is now taking the fight to Australia’s other alcohol-affiliated sporting codes.
Mr Schultz says the rejection of his attempts to buy vacant signage to promote Game Changer is a damning indictment of Australia’s leading sporting codes.
“The rejection of my campaign and its healthy messages by the AFL and Cricket Australia is nothing short of shameful. There is vacant available signage, yet the message from both the AFL and Cricket Australia is clear – you can’t even pay them to promote healthy living. I wasn’t asking for free signage and I haven’t been outbid by an advertiser with deeper pockets – I’ve been rejected by Australia’s two largest sporting codes because of their alignment with unhealthy products, and I think it’s fair to now ask these organisations what values they stand for,” Mr Schultz said.
Rejecting Mr Schultz’s request to purchase vacant signage at the ground, Cricket Tasmania’s Relationship Manager, Jason Iten wrote, “Unfortunately your campaign contradicts with some of Cricket Tasmania and Cricket Australia’s contracted partners so unfortunately we will not be able to offer any advertising space in this instance.”
Michael Moschogianis, North Melbourne Football Club General Manager, Tasmania, also rejected Mr Schultz’s application, saying “…upon advice from our Melbourne office and the AFL, we won’t be able to accommodate your advertisement or signage at our matches at Blundstone Arena.”
Mr Schultz says Australia’s biggest sporting codes are rejecting the very messages they should be promoting and choosing money over principle every time.
“Our nation’s top sporting organisations have learnt nothing from their days aligned with Big Tobacco. Sadly, they’re still happy to cosy up to whoever writes the biggest cheque, no matter how potentially harmful or dangerous their products are,” Mr Schultz said.
Mr Schultz takes some comfort from the AFL and Cricket Australia’s rejection of his campaign, and thinks the tide is slowly turning.
“Look around any major sporting stadium in the country. Alcohol and fast food advertising is everywhere you turn, as visible during the game, as it is on the ad breaks in between. Yet our nation’s sporting codes are fearful of one dad and a single bit of signage at one stadium in Hobart. Why? Because the AFL and Cricket Australia would prefer you just didn’t think about it, because they know that if you do, you’ll quickly realise that fast food, alcohol and elite sports just don’t mix,” Mr Schultz said.
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