November 13, 2003

Alcohol-free college sports TV?: "The Campaign for Alcohol-Free Sports TV is asking college officials to sign a pledge indicating that the school will prohibit alcohol advertising on locally produced sports programming, and that the school will work within its athletic conference and within the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to eliminate all alcohol advertising from televised college sports." Retired UNC b-ball coach Dean Smith and US Rep Tom Osborne (R-NE), former football coach of U of Nebraska kicked off the campaign today. According to today's (Nov12, B1) print WSJ, Ohio State University has also agreed to "bar its local media partners from airing any alcohol ads ... and plans to encourage ... the Big Ten ... to prohibit beer commercials when it renews national TV contracts in 2006." Impressive effort, impressive start. Seems like this will hurt the TV networks more than the advertisers. And will this really solve the problem of underage drinking and other destructive alcohol-related behavior on campus?

posted by worldcup2002 to culture at 12:50 AM - 11 comments

I'm back. And sorry for the fat post. I was inspired by the fork but could not muster up enough energy to match his mad linking skillz.

posted by worldcup2002 at 12:54 AM on November 13, 2003

Will it solve the problem? No. Not. Nyet. Nein. However, it does seem that the college athletics system in this country (at least at the Division I level) has a hypocrisy problem - it tries very hard to convey the message that underage and binge drinking is bad while at the same time indirectly benefitting enormously through the advertising and sale of beer. I'm not sure how much it will hurt the networks - probably some. It will probably also sting the Anheuser/Busches of the world, since a good part of their ad budget is spent on college games. Of course, it won't sting nearly as much if this ban falls apart, which it probably will.

posted by deadcowdan at 07:22 AM on November 13, 2003

Why doesn't stadium security turn away drunken attendees (especially their own students) to their events? A good portion also smuggle in hard alcohol as well, or leave the stadium at halftime to keep their buzz going. (Okay, I've been guilty of this) I know for a fact that at certain Big-10 schools the student section would be effectively halved. Now that would send a message about binge drinking.

posted by GoDizzGo at 08:50 AM on November 13, 2003

I can't get past the phrase 'Alcohol-free college'...failure to compute...must comply with prime directive....malfunction...abort abort.

posted by garfield at 08:55 AM on November 13, 2003

this won't solve anything, whether you agree that it's a problem or not. These college will be shooting themselves in the foot. As the ACC raid has shown, football TV contracts are one of the main sources of revenue. TV stations pay these ridiculous prices because of the audience it will draw, which it can then use to sell ad space. If they're not going to sell ad space to beer companies, which I would estimate pay 20% of the commercial money (pulled that out of my ass but it feels right). Without the beer companies, competition for ad slots will go down, prices will go down, and the money offered to the conferences will go down. This is much too poor a long term effect on the conferences, especially when it will have absolutely no apreciable result on the behavior of college kids.

posted by Bernreuther at 12:16 PM on November 13, 2003

Right. Because nobody ever drinks at the schools who's sports programs aren't big enough to draw advertising revenue. Those kids are models of temperence.

posted by LionIndex at 12:39 PM on November 13, 2003

Good point, LionIndex. My college had crap sports teams, and we were hammered the whole time. Might as well stick with what brings in the dough. Go Camels! (Connecticut College, no kidding)

posted by Samsonov14 at 01:06 PM on November 13, 2003

I remember being in high school marching band, and getting a free day at a Badgers football game - Band Day - where marching bands from around the state showed up and did marching band kind of stuff. And I remember being hassled by drunk college students from both schools involved in the game. When I eventually enrolled at UW, I never went to a football game (or a hockey game), because I quickly learned that even being in the vicinity of Camp Randall meant dealing with crowds of obnoxious drunks. Not that I'm a prude - I drink, and occasionally get absolutely hammered - but dealing with en masse public drunkenness isn't fun. Period. Now we're learning that fans of opposing teams are being harrassed and assaulted by our drunk fans. Something needs to be done, but what? Eliminating advertising won't do it, but maybe that's a start. It requires a cultural shift - though hopefully not a Puritan turning.

posted by rocketman at 10:02 AM on November 14, 2003

...but dealing with en masse public drunkenness isn't fun. Period.....Something needs to be done, but what? Get drunk too. Fans are supposed to harass and be harassed by the other side. It's part of being a fan.

posted by garfield at 11:01 AM on November 14, 2003

Twelve-year-olds shouldn't be pelted with tomatoes. A man shouldn't have to shelter his five-year-old son because a bunch of boorish drunk students are throwing trash cans at them. Fans and their families shouldn't be the target of students throwing glass beer bottles. Being a fan doesn't legitimize dangerous behavior, and being drunk certainly doesn't excuse it.

posted by rocketman at 02:08 PM on November 14, 2003

Being a fan doesn't legitimize dangerous behavior, and being drunk certainly doesn't excuse it. ...but it sure helps. I'm obviously treating this lightly, and when you said harassment and assault, I thought insults and not sharding projectiles. Nobody should feel unsafe at an athletic event.....except the other team. They shoud be quakin' in their cleats.

posted by garfield at 02:27 PM on November 14, 2003

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