College Alcohol Advertising

Historically, many critics have used prominent college athletic events to call for a ban on alcohol advertisements during broadcasts of such events, believing that they target underage drinkers.

AAF Position
The AAF supports the alcohol industry's self-regulation advertising guidelines, which limit ads for alcohol products to audiences where at least 70 percent of the viewing audience is expected to be of legal drinking age. Nielsen data indicates that 87 percent of all college football and basketball games have an audience above the legal drinking age.

Some groups, such as the Center for Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) and the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), have called for an outright ban on any alcohol advertising during televised college sports events. CSPI developed the "Campaign for Alcohol-Free Sports TV," which has the support of 246 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) colleges and universities (61 in Division I).

The NCAA has recommended that its member colleges adopt rules limiting alcohol advertising during games involving their schools. The NCAA wants colleges to use the same standards they have for championship tournaments—no more than 60 seconds of alcohol-related advertising per hour and no more than two minutes per game—and limit the products shown to beer, wine and malt beverages.

Prior to retiring, Rep. Tom Osborne, R-Neb., introduced "sense of Congress" resolutions calling on the NCAA, athletic conferences and member colleges and universities to discourage alcohol use among students and viewers not of legal drinking age by prohibiting alcohol ads during radio and television broadcasts of sporting events. No member has reintroduced similar resolutions since Rep. Osborne left Congress.

Last updated: April 2007

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