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Sponsorship by food and beverage companies in soccer: an analysis of the 2019 Copa América

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE

To identify the sponsorship by food and beverage companies of the teams participating in the 2019 Copa América Soccer Cup and associate this sponsorship with characteristics of the teams and their respective countries.

METHODS

The sponsors of the 10 teams participating in the 46th edition of the Copa América were identified. These entities were classified into (i) food companies, (ii) alcoholic beverage companies, and (iii) other segments. The food companies were classified according to their products, according to the NOVA classification. In addition, data on the number of titles previously won by the teams in the Copa America and the World Cup were obtained, as well as data on the countries’ Human Development Index, annual per capita sales of ultra-processed foods, and annual per capita consumption of alcoholic beverages.

RESULTS

A total of 89 sponsorships were identified for the 10 teams studied, some of these supporting two or more teams. Eighteen percent of the sponsors were food companies, with 12.4% being ultra-processed foods. The alcoholic beverage category represented 7.9% of the sponsors. Ultra-processed beverage and alcoholic beverage companies sponsored seven of the 10 teams studied. We noted higher participation of ultra-processed foods company sponsors in teams from countries with higher Human Development Index, sales of ultra-processed foods, and number of Copa América and World Cup titles. The sponsorship by alcoholic beverage companies was higher for teams from countries with lower Human Development Index, alcohol consumption, and number of Copa América and World Cup titles.

CONCLUSION

A significant presence of ultra-processed food and alcoholic beverage companies as sponsors of South American soccer teams was noted, along with the fact that sport performance characteristics of the teams and socioeconomic and market issues of the countries are associated with the occurrence of sponsorship.

Soccer; Food Industry; Financial Support; Food and Beverages; Marketing

RESUMO

OBJETIVO

Identificar o patrocínio por empresas do setor de alimentos e bebidas das seleções participantes da Copa América de Futebol 2019 e associar esse patrocínio a características das seleções e de seus respectivos países.

MÉTODOS

Foram identificados os patrocinadores das 10 seleções participantes da 46ª edição da Copa América de Futebol. Essas entidades foram classificadas em empresas i) de alimentos, ii) de bebidas alcoólicas e iii) de outros segmentos. As empresas de alimentos foram classificadas de acordo com seus produtos, segundo a classificação NOVA. Além disso, dados sobre o número de títulos anteriormente conquistados pelas seleções na Copa América e na Copa do Mundo foram obtidos, assim como dados do índice de desenvolvimento humano, de venda anual per capita de alimentos ultraprocessados e de consumo anual per capita de bebidas alcoólicas dos países.

RESULTADOS

Um total de 89 patrocínios foram identificados para as 10 seleções estudadas, alguns desses apoiando duas ou mais equipes. Dezoito por cento dos patrocinadores eram empresas de alimentos, sendo 12,4% de alimentos ultraprocessados. A categoria de bebidas alcoólicas representou 7,9% dos patrocinadores. As empresas de bebidas ultraprocessadas e as de bebidas alcoólicas patrocinaram sete das 10 seleções estudadas. Notou-se maior participação de patrocinadores de empresas de alimentos ultraprocessados em seleções de países com maior índice de desenvolvimento humano, venda de alimentos ultraprocessados e número de títulos de Copa América e Copa do Mundo. Já o patrocínio por empresas de bebidas alcoólicas foi maior em seleções de países com menor índice de desenvolvimento humano, consumo de álcool e número de títulos em Copa América e Copa do Mundo.

CONCLUSÃO

Evidenciou-se uma presença significativa de empresas de alimentos ultraprocessados e de bebidas alcoólicas como patrocinadores das seleções sul-americanas de futebol e que as características de desempenho esportivo das seleções e questões socioeconômicas e de mercado dos países se associam à ocorrência do patrocínio.

Futebol; Apoio Financeiro; Indústria Alimentícia; Alimentos e Bebidas; Marketing

INTRODUCTION

In Latin America and the Caribbean, one in four adults are obese and chronic non-communicable diseases are responsible for three out of every four deaths11 Organización de las Naciones Unidas para la Alimentación y la Agricultura; Programa Mundial de Alimentos; Fondo de las Naciones Unidas para la Infancia; Organización Panamericana de la Salud. Panorama de la seguridad alimentaria y nutricional en América Latina y el Caribe 2019. Santiago de Chile; 2019 [cited 2020 Dec 3]. Available from: https://iris.paho.org/handle/10665.2/51685
https://iris.paho.org/handle/10665.2/516...
. In parallel, sales of ultra-processed foods (UPF) have grown in all countries of this region22 Organização Pan-Americana da Saúde, Departamento de Doenças não Transmissíveis e Saúde Mental. Alimentos e bebidas ultraprocessados na América Latina: tendências, efeito na obesidade e implicações para políticas públicas. Brasília, DF; 2018 [cited 2020 Dec 3]. Available from: https://iris.paho.org/bitstream/handle/10665.2/34918/9789275718643-por.pdf?sequence=5&isAllowed=y
https://iris.paho.org/bitstream/handle/1...
, and the average annual per capita consumption of alcohol in the continent is the second highest in the world33 World Health Organization. Global status report on alcohol and health 2018. Geneva (CH): WHO; 2018 [cited 2020 Dec 3]. Available from: https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/274603/9789241565639-eng.pdf
https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/hand...
. This epidemiological scenario is favored by the marketing of UPFs and alcoholic beverages, promoted, among others, by the sponsorship of sports organizations44 Dixon H, Lee A, Scully M. Sports sponsorship as a cause of obesity. Curr Obes Rep. 2019;8(4):480-94. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13679-019-00363-z
https://doi.org/10.1007/s13679-019-00363...
.

Sponsorship by UPF and alcoholic beverage companies in the sports scene has been described in Brazil55 Matos JP, Araújo LCM, Horta PM. O patrocínio de empresas do setor de alimentação e bebidas no futebol brasileiro: um obstáculo para a promoção da alimentação saudável. Cad Saude Publica. 2020;36(12):e00219719. https://doi.org/10.1590/0102-311x00219719
https://doi.org/10.1590/0102-311x0021971...
, Argentina66 Piaggio LR. Sugar-sweetened beverages and sports sponsorship: the right to health of children and adolescents at stake. Arch Argent Pediatr. 2019;117(1):e8-13. https://doi.org/10.5546/aap.2019.eng.e8
https://doi.org/10.5546/aap.2019.eng.e8...
, the United States77 Bragg MA, Miller AN, Roberto CA, Sam R, Sarda V, Harris JL, et al. Sports Sports sponsorships of food and nonalcoholic beverages. Pediatrics. 2018;141(4):e20172822. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2017-2822
https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2017-2822...
, New Zealand88 Carter M, Signal L, Edwards R, Hoek J, Maher A. Food, fizzy, and football: promoting unhealthy food and beverages through sport - a New Zealand case study. BMC Public Health. 2013;13:126. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-13-126
https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-13-126...
, Australia99 Lindsay S, Thomas S, Lewis S, Westberg K, Moodie R, Jones S. Eat, drink and gamble: marketing messages about ‘risky’ products in an Australian major sporting series. BMC Public Health. 2013;13:719. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-13-719
https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-13-719...
, and in European countries1010 Adams J, Coleman J, White M. Alcohol marketing in televised international football: frequency analysis. BMC Public Health. 2014;14:473. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-14-473
https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-14-473...
. These companies use sponsorship as a way to expose their brands, printed on uniforms, banners, and scoreboards on the field during a game, for product licensing and naming rights, and to promote advertisements during television broadcasts, etc.44 Dixon H, Lee A, Scully M. Sports sponsorship as a cause of obesity. Curr Obes Rep. 2019;8(4):480-94. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13679-019-00363-z
https://doi.org/10.1007/s13679-019-00363...
, 1111 Dixon H, Scully M, Wakefield M, Kelly B, Pettigrew S, Chapman K, et al. The impact of unhealthy food sponsorship vs. pro-health sponsorship models on young adults’ food preferences: a randomised controlled trial. BMC Public Health. 2018;18(1):1399. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-018-6298-4
https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-018-6298-...

Sports sponsorship is a recurrent and attractive practice for sponsoring companies, which achieve greater recognition of their brands by the fan public and thus influence the consumers’ buying decision1212 Ireland R, Boyland E. Sports sponsorship and young people: good or bad for health? BMJ Paediatrics Open. 2019;3:e000446. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjpo-2019-000446
https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjpo-2019-00044...
. This practice is also interesting for federations and sports clubs, which increase their revenues and gain more visibility88 Carter M, Signal L, Edwards R, Hoek J, Maher A. Food, fizzy, and football: promoting unhealthy food and beverages through sport - a New Zealand case study. BMC Public Health. 2013;13:126. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-13-126
https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-13-126...
. However, from a public health point of view, sports sponsorship by UPF and alcoholic beverage companies is seen as critical, since it is a violation of the human right to adequate food and promotes health externalities44 Dixon H, Lee A, Scully M. Sports sponsorship as a cause of obesity. Curr Obes Rep. 2019;8(4):480-94. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13679-019-00363-z
https://doi.org/10.1007/s13679-019-00363...
.

It is important to pay special attention to the abusive character of this practice when directed to children and adolescents, due to the greater vulnerability of this public to recognize the commercial appeal of sponsorship. Thus, the effects of exposure of children and adolescents to sports marketing by UPF and alcoholic beverage companies is more pronounced, putting them at greater risk of consuming these products1313 World Cancer Research Fund International. Lessons on implementing robust restrictions of food and non-alcoholic beverage marketing to children. London (UK): WCRFI; 2020 [cited 2021 May 5]. (Building Momentum Series; nº 3). Available from: https://www.wcrf.org/policy/our-publications/building-momentum-series/lessons-implementing-robust-restrictions-marketing-children/
https://www.wcrf.org/policy/our-publicat...
, 1414 United Nations Children’s Fund. A child rights-based approach to food marketing: a guide for policy makers. New York: UNICEF; 2018 [cited 2021 May 5]. Available from: https://sites.unicef.org/csr/files/A_Child_Rights-Based_Approach_to_Food_Marketing_Report.pdf
https://sites.unicef.org/csr/files/A_Chi...
. As a way to reduce this commercial practice and aiming to ensure the fulfillment of the human right to adequate food, the regulation of sports marketing is pointed out as a dimension to be worked on1515 World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe. Evaluating implementation of the WHO set of recommendations on the marketing of foods and non-alcoholic beverages to children. Copenhagen (DK): WHO Regional Office for Europe; 2018 [cited 2021 May 9]. Available from: https://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/384015/food-marketing-kids-eng.pdf
https://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/p...
.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, especially for countries in the Southern region where sports competitions are frequent, understanding how commercial partnerships between sponsoring companies and sporting organizations take place is an important step in designing actions to restrict food and beverage marketing and to reduce consumption of UPFs and alcoholic beverages on the continent.

This study aims to advance this field of knowledge by identifying the profile of companies in the food and beverage industry that sponsor the teams participating in the 2019 Copa América, the world’s oldest national soccer tournament and the largest competition among national teams in South America1616 Confederação Sul-Americana de Futebol. CONMEBOL Copa América: história. Brasília, DF: CONMEBOL, c2021 [cited 2020 Dec 3]. Available from: https://copaamerica.com/pt/historia
https://copaamerica.com/pt/historia...
, as well as associating the occurrence of this sponsorship with characteristics of the teams and their respective countries.

METHODS

Exploratory study of sponsors of the 10 South American teams participating in the 46th edition of the Copa America Soccer Cup in 2019, listed below in alphabetical order: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

The official sponsors were identified on the official websites of the soccer teams in August 2019 under the terminologies of official sponsors, partners, supporters, collaborators or suppliers. These entities were further classified into (i) food companies (food brands and food establishment) (ii) alcoholic beverages and (iii) other segments (consumer goods, communication and finance).

The food company category was sub-classified according to the food profile most predominantly offered55 Matos JP, Araújo LCM, Horta PM. O patrocínio de empresas do setor de alimentação e bebidas no futebol brasileiro: um obstáculo para a promoção da alimentação saudável. Cad Saude Publica. 2020;36(12):e00219719. https://doi.org/10.1590/0102-311x00219719
https://doi.org/10.1590/0102-311x0021971...
. For this the NOVA1717 Monteiro CA, Cannon G, Levy R, Moubarac JC, Jaime P, Martins AP, et al. NOVA. The star shines bright. World Nutr. 2016;7(1-3):28-38. classification was used, which considers nature, extent, purpose, and degree of industrial processing of food. Thus, the foods were identified as: fresh, minimally processed, and ultra-processed (UPF). UPFs were further sub-classified into: ultra-processed beverages and other UPFs. No brands of culinary ingredients or processed products were identified among the companies sponsoring the teams.

The sponsorship data were associated with the characteristics of the teams and their respective countries, including: (i) number of titles won in previous editions of Copa América and World Cup, according to information obtained from the official website of Copa América and in websites of journalistic soccer content (ii) Human Development Index (HDI)1818 Programa das Nações Unidas para o Desenvolvimento - PNUD. Relatório do Desenvolvimento Humano 2019: Além do rendimento, além das médias, além do presente: as desigualdades no desenvolvimento humano no século XXI. Brasília, DF: PNUD Brasil; 2019 [cited 2020 Dec 3]. Available from: https://www.br.undp.org/content/brazil/pt/home/library/relatorio-do-desenvolvimento-humano-2019.html
https://www.br.undp.org/content/brazil/p...
; (iii) annual per capita sales of UPF (kg)22 Organização Pan-Americana da Saúde, Departamento de Doenças não Transmissíveis e Saúde Mental. Alimentos e bebidas ultraprocessados na América Latina: tendências, efeito na obesidade e implicações para políticas públicas. Brasília, DF; 2018 [cited 2020 Dec 3]. Available from: https://iris.paho.org/bitstream/handle/10665.2/34918/9789275718643-por.pdf?sequence=5&isAllowed=y
https://iris.paho.org/bitstream/handle/1...
; and (iv) annual per capita consumption of alcoholic beverages (L of pure ethanol)33 World Health Organization. Global status report on alcohol and health 2018. Geneva (CH): WHO; 2018 [cited 2020 Dec 3]. Available from: https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/274603/9789241565639-eng.pdf
https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/hand...
.

The data analysis included the description, in absolute and relative frequency, of the sponsoring companies, according to product subcategories, and of the variables that characterize the teams/countries (stratified in medians). Pearson’s correlation test was applied to assess correlation between the characteristics of the teams and the percentage of sponsorship by food and UPF-specific companies at the 5% significance level (p < 0.05). The data were tabulated in Excel and analyzed in Stata software version 12.0.

RESULTS

A total of 89 sponsorships were identified for the 10 teams studied, some of them sharing the same sponsor; 18.0% (n = 16) were from food companies, with 3.4% (n = 3) from fresh or minimally processed foods and 2.2% (n = 2) from food establishments. UPF firms were most prevalent in the food segment (n = 11; 12.4%), with the ultra-processed beverage category (n = 10; 11.2%) standing out. The alcoholic beverage category accounted for 7.9% (n = 7) of the sponsorships, and other sponsorship segments were noted in 74.2% (n = 66) of the sample.

The teams from Uruguay, Peru, and Argentina had the highest participation of sponsoring food companies: 33.3% (n = 3), 28.6% (n = 2), and 26.3% (n = 5), respectively. Ecuador stood out as the team with the highest percentage of sponsorship by alcoholic beverage companies (n = 1; 25.0%) ( Table 1 ).

Table 1
Sponsorship characteristics, title history, ultra-processed food market, alcohol consumption, and socioeconomic development of the teams’ countries. Copa América, 2019.

Ultra-processed beverage and alcoholic beverage companies sponsored seven of the 10 teams studied. For this first category, Coca-Cola was the company that sponsored the most teams: five out of the 10 studied. As for alcoholic beverages, the beer segment was the most prevalent, sponsoring six of the 10 teams studied ( Table 2 ).

Table 2
Description of the food and alcoholic beverage companies sponsoring the teams. Copa América, 2019.

We noticed a higher participation of sponsoring food companies, especially UPF, in teams from countries with higher HDI, UPF sales, and number of World Cup ( Table 3 ) and Copa America ( Table 3 and Figure ) titles. The sponsorship by alcoholic beverage companies was higher for teams from countries with lower HDI, alcohol consumption, and number of Copa América and World Cup titles ( Table 4 ).

Table 3
Characteristics of teams and countries, according to sponsorship by food companies. Copa América, 2019.

Figure
Relationship between the percentage of food company sponsorships and Copa América titles, 2019.

Table 4
Characteristics of teams and countries, according to sponsorship by alcoholic beverage companies. Copa América, 2019.

DISCUSSION

This study reveals the high participation of food and alcoholic beverage companies in sports sponsorships of the teams participating in the 2019 Copa América Soccer Cup and signals characteristics associated with this practice. In this sense, we noticed a higher participation of sponsorship by UPF companies among teams with better sports performance history and from countries with higher socioeconomic development and higher participation in the ultra-processed food market. On the other hand, support from alcoholic beverage companies was higher among teams with a lower sports performance record and from countries with lower socioeconomic development and alcoholic beverage market share.

The high presence of UPF companies as sports sponsors has been documented in studies conducted in various parts of the world55 Matos JP, Araújo LCM, Horta PM. O patrocínio de empresas do setor de alimentação e bebidas no futebol brasileiro: um obstáculo para a promoção da alimentação saudável. Cad Saude Publica. 2020;36(12):e00219719. https://doi.org/10.1590/0102-311x00219719
https://doi.org/10.1590/0102-311x0021971...
. Among Latin American countries, in Brazil, food companies represent 13.5% of the total sponsorships of soccer clubs, with 9.4% being UPF companies55 Matos JP, Araújo LCM, Horta PM. O patrocínio de empresas do setor de alimentação e bebidas no futebol brasileiro: um obstáculo para a promoção da alimentação saudável. Cad Saude Publica. 2020;36(12):e00219719. https://doi.org/10.1590/0102-311x00219719
https://doi.org/10.1590/0102-311x0021971...
. In Argentina, the country’s leading soft drink company sponsors children’s sporting events and distributes its products to the public during the tournaments66 Piaggio LR. Sugar-sweetened beverages and sports sponsorship: the right to health of children and adolescents at stake. Arch Argent Pediatr. 2019;117(1):e8-13. https://doi.org/10.5546/aap.2019.eng.e8
https://doi.org/10.5546/aap.2019.eng.e8...
. In countries outside of Latin America, a recent systematic review showed that both children and adults are frequently exposed to marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages through sports sponsorship44 Dixon H, Lee A, Scully M. Sports sponsorship as a cause of obesity. Curr Obes Rep. 2019;8(4):480-94. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13679-019-00363-z
https://doi.org/10.1007/s13679-019-00363...
.

Among the ultra-processed beverage brands that sponsored the teams participating in Copa América 2019, Coca-Cola was the leader in the number of teams sponsored. This brand has a tradition in sports sponsorship, as it has also supported the Olympics since 192877 Bragg MA, Miller AN, Roberto CA, Sam R, Sarda V, Harris JL, et al. Sports Sports sponsorships of food and nonalcoholic beverages. Pediatrics. 2018;141(4):e20172822. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2017-2822
https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2017-2822...
and the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) World Cup since 19781919 Coca Cola Brasil. Linha do tempo: a história da Coca-Cola na Copa do Mundo da FIFA™. Rio de Janeiro; 2018 [cited 2020 Jul 28]. Available from: https://www.cocacolabrasil.com.br/historias/linha-do-tempo-a-historia-da-coca-cola-na-copa-do-mundo-fifa
https://www.cocacolabrasil.com.br/histor...
. In these competitions, the brand invests large amounts of money in the sports clubs and in different marketing actions77 Bragg MA, Miller AN, Roberto CA, Sam R, Sarda V, Harris JL, et al. Sports Sports sponsorships of food and nonalcoholic beverages. Pediatrics. 2018;141(4):e20172822. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2017-2822
https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2017-2822...
.

This study also reveals that the commercial partnership between sponsors and teams is not random, and teams from countries with higher UPF sales volume and better socioeconomic development are more often sponsored by ultra-processed food companies. Local market demand for UPF can justify these relationships. Argentina and Uruguay, for example, are countries with better socioeconomic development, with higher UPF22 Organização Pan-Americana da Saúde, Departamento de Doenças não Transmissíveis e Saúde Mental. Alimentos e bebidas ultraprocessados na América Latina: tendências, efeito na obesidade e implicações para políticas públicas. Brasília, DF; 2018 [cited 2020 Dec 3]. Available from: https://iris.paho.org/bitstream/handle/10665.2/34918/9789275718643-por.pdf?sequence=5&isAllowed=y
https://iris.paho.org/bitstream/handle/1...
sales per capita , and their national teams have the highest percentage of food sponsorships in South America. In this context, the strategic involvement of UPF companies in sports sponsorship is pointed out, in order to maintain their space in the local market, taking advantage of the context of favoritism and devotion to the sport to promote themselves.

Furthermore, it was found that the decision of UPF brands to sponsor teams also involves the history of winning competitions, which is directly related to the popularity of the team55 Matos JP, Araújo LCM, Horta PM. O patrocínio de empresas do setor de alimentação e bebidas no futebol brasileiro: um obstáculo para a promoção da alimentação saudável. Cad Saude Publica. 2020;36(12):e00219719. https://doi.org/10.1590/0102-311x00219719
https://doi.org/10.1590/0102-311x0021971...
. The national teams of Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil have the longest history of winning championships in South America and are among the top 10 teams in the world in competition performance2020 FIFA Associations. FIFA/Coca-Cola World ranking: men’s ranking. Zurich (CH); FIFA; 2019 [cited 2020 Jan 13]. Available from: https://www.fifa.com/fifa-world-ranking/ranking-table/men/rank/id12770/
https://www.fifa.com/fifa-world-ranking/...
. Thus, the sponsorship practiced by UPF companies in this context is also strategic, due to the broad brand visibility provided by these sports organizations compared to those of lower performance.

The study also shows the large participation of alcoholic beverage companies as sponsors of South American teams, especially for the beer segment. In contrast to sponsorship by UPF companies, alcoholic beverage companies are focused on teams from countries with lower socioeconomic development and lower per capita alcohol consumption. In fact, in the last decades, the alcohol industry has expanded in many low- and middle-income countries, mainly through its influence on local governments to minimize impacts and prevent the creation of policies to control and prevent its abusive consumption. Moreover, in these countries, large alcoholic beverage brands develop corporate social responsibility practices with the intention of camouflaging their externalities on the populations’ health2121 Delobelle P. Big Tobacco, alcohol, and food and NCDS in LMICS: an inconvenient truth and call to action comment on “addressing NCDS: challenges from industry market promotion and interferences”. Int J Health Policy Manag. 2019;8(12):727-31. https://doi.org/10.15171/ijhpm.2019.74
https://doi.org/10.15171/ijhpm.2019.74...
.

Thus, given the influence of sports sponsorship on the consumption of health-damaging products, regulation of this practice is necessary to reduce its impact on public health44 Dixon H, Lee A, Scully M. Sports sponsorship as a cause of obesity. Curr Obes Rep. 2019;8(4):480-94. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13679-019-00363-z
https://doi.org/10.1007/s13679-019-00363...
. In terms of marketing of unhealthy foods, some of these countries, such as Peru, Brazil and Chile, have legislation that limits its targeting to children or that makes it mandatory to link a warning to the advertising piece about the risk of excessive consumption of unhealthy foods in different media. However, in none of the regulatory codes of these countries are there any restrictions on the association of unhealthy food companies with sports sponsorship2222 World Cancer Research Fund International. Restrict food advertising and other forms of commercial promotion. London (UK): WCRFI; 2020 [cited 2021 Jan 13]. Available from: https://policydatabase.wcrf.org/level_one?page=nourishing-level-one#step2=3
https://policydatabase.wcrf.org/level_on...
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Regarding the marketing of alcoholic beverages, Argentina and Chile have laws that impose restrictions on the content of advertising messages directed at minors that encourage abusive consumption. However, there is also no restriction on the practice of sports sponsorship by these companies2323 Argentina. Ley 24.788 de Mar 1997. Ley Nacional de Lucha Contra el Alcoholismo. Prohíbese en todo el territorio nacional, el expendio a menores de dieciocho años, de todo tipo de bebidas alcohólicas. Créase el Programa Nacional de Prevención y Lucha contra el Consumo Excesivo de Alcohol. Buenos Ayres (AR); 1997 [cited 2020 Jul 28]. Available from: https://www.argentina.gob.ar/normativa/nacional/ley-24788-42480/texto
https://www.argentina.gob.ar/normativa/n...
, 2424 Ministerio del Interior (CH). Ley Nº 19.925, de 19 Dic 2003. Regula el expendio de bebidas alcohólicas, su etiquetado y normas sobre publicidad; las medidas de prevención y rehabilitación del alcoholismo, y las sanciones y los procedimientos aplicables a quienes infrinjan las disposiciones pertinentes. Santiago de Chile; 2004 [cited 2020 Jul 28]. Available from: https://www.bcn.cl/leychile/navegar?idNorma=220208
https://www.bcn.cl/leychile/navegar?idNo...
. Brazil, on the other hand, has a more restrictive legislation compared to the previous countries, since it prohibits, in the advertising of these drinks, their association with Olympic or competition sports. Nevertheless, as far as sports sponsorship is concerned, there is a ban only on advertising beverages with an alcohol content above 13 degrees Gay Lussac ; that is, beverages with lower alcohol content, such as beer and wine, are not regulated2525 Brasil. Lei Nº. 9.294, de 15 de julho de 1996. Dispõe sobre as restrições ao uso e à propaganda de produtos fumígeros, bebidas alcoólicas, medicamentos, terapias e defensivos agrícolas, nos termos do § 4° do art. 220 da Constituição Federal. Brasília, DF; 1996 [cited 2020 Jul 28]. Available from: https://www2.camara.leg.br/legin/fed/lei/1996/lei-9294-15-julho-1996-349045-publicacaooriginal-1-pl.html
https://www2.camara.leg.br/legin/fed/lei...
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In this sense, it is necessary to increase the scope of these laws to limit the sponsorship of cultural and sporting events by unhealthy food and beverage companies, and to promote the replacement of these sponsors by companies with healthier product portfolios, minimizing the negative impacts of the former on the consumer public1111 Dixon H, Scully M, Wakefield M, Kelly B, Pettigrew S, Chapman K, et al. The impact of unhealthy food sponsorship vs. pro-health sponsorship models on young adults’ food preferences: a randomised controlled trial. BMC Public Health. 2018;18(1):1399. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-018-6298-4
https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-018-6298-...
. In parallel, the advancement of this agenda also involves limiting the benefits that companies achieve by executing sponsorship actions, discouraging this practice. In Brazil, for example, tax benefits were granted to sponsors of the 2016 Olympic Games2626 Brasil. Lei Nº 12.780, de 9 de janeiro de 2013. Dispõe sobre medidas tributárias referentes à realização, no Brasil, dos Jogos Olímpicos de 2016 e dos Jogos Paraolímpicos de 2016. Brasília, DF; 2013 [cited 2020 May 5]. Available from: http://www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil_03/_ato2011-2014/2013/lei/L12780.htm
http://www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil_03/_at...
, 2727 Brasil. Decreto Nº 8.463, de 5 de junho de 2015. Regulamenta as medidas tributárias referentes à realização, no Brasil, dos Jogos Olímpicos de 2016 e dos Jogos Paraolímpicos de 2016 [...]. Brasília, DF; 2015 [cited 2021 May 5]. Available from: https://www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil_03/_ato2015-2018/2015/decreto/d8463.htm.
https://www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil_03/_a...
.

However, restrictions on the marketing of ultra-processed foods and alcoholic beverages face strong opposition from companies, which lobby in Congress and regulatory agencies to block the implementation of regulatory policies. They use as argument information about the economic importance of these sectors for the generation of jobs and for the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of countries, without also presenting the costs of externalities and health impacts associated with the consumption of these products by the population2828 Mialon M, Gomes FS. Public health and the ultra-processed food and drink products industry: corporate political activity of major transnationals in Latin America and the Caribbean. Public Health Nutr. 2019;22(10):1898-908. https://doi.org/10.1017/s1368980019000417
https://doi.org/10.1017/s136898001900041...
. In this sense, it is worth exemplifying the tobacco control agenda in Brazil, which, despite having presented advances, faced significant interference from the industry in regulatory actions, using the fallacy of the impact of national tobacco production as an opportunity for Brazil in foreign trade to try to influence political systems2929 Cavalcante TM, Pinho MCM, Perez CA, Teixeira APL, Mendes FL, Vargas RR, Carvalho AOR, et al. Brasil: balanço da Política Nacional de Controle do Tabaco na última década e dilemas. Cad Saude Publica. 2017;33 Supl 3:e00138. https://doi.org/10.1590/0102-311x00138315
https://doi.org/10.1590/0102-311x0013831...
.

Despite the novelty and the potential implications of the study results, some limitations are highlighted, such as: the exclusive analysis of the presence of the sponsors’ logos on the teams’ official websites, without evaluating other strategies, such as the sponsored contents of the teams’ social media, for example. In addition, it was not possible to obtain other data about the teams, such as the amount received by each of the identified sponsors and the number of consumers reached by the sponsorship, characteristics that may also influence the practice of sponsorship. Nevertheless, the results obtained describe, for the first time, the sponsorship profile of food and beverage companies in South American soccer and the sport performance, socioeconomic, and market characteristics that potentially influence the companies’ sponsorship decision.

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  • Funding:Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq – scientific initiation scholarship for LCMA - Process 442789/2019-0). Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (Capes - Masters Scholarship for JPM - code 001).

Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    27 May 2022
  • Date of issue
    2022

History

  • Received
    14 Jan 2021
  • Accepted
    30 June 2021
Faculdade de Saúde Pública da Universidade de São Paulo Avenida Dr. Arnaldo, 715, 01246-904 São Paulo SP Brazil, Tel./Fax: +55 11 3061-7985 - São Paulo - SP - Brazil
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