Sponsorship of Sport

What is Sponsorship of Sport?

Sport is not just about participation, either as a spectator or as a player. It is part of the commercial world, managed and marketed to make money.

Sponsorship is financial support for sport, whether it be a tournament or event, organisation or individual athlete, by an outside body for the mutual benefit of both parties.

Sponsorship of sport occurs at all levels from grassroots to elite sport.  School teams may have sponsored kit and equipment while athletes and professional clubs may be paid large sums of money to promote particular products and services. 

Sponsorship of Sport - Gareth Southgate shows children a FA-endorsed McDonalds workbook

Commercial Determinants of Health

Whilst sport is often considered to be an implicitly ‘healthy’ activity, commercial brands are common in sporting environments. Indeed, both professional and amateur sport has become closely entwined with products and services that can harm our health including alcohol, gambling, junk food and soft drinks.

The Olympic Games has had a relationship with Coca-Cola since 1928. KP Snacks sponsors all eight teams in the new cricket format, The Hundred.  Heineken has sponsored the Rugby World Cup for over 20 years. And, since the deregulation of the UK’s gambling laws in 2005, dozens of football clubs now feature betting sponsors on their team shirts.

Sponsorship of Sport - Watford and Bournemouth sport gambling sponsors on their football kits

Action on Sponsorship of Sport

We believe sports organisations and national governments should bring forward regulatory mechanisms that prohibit further sponsorship partnerships between health-harming products and sports organisations.

Healthy Stadia is working with a variety of partners including academics, NGOs, government departments and supporter groups to further develop the rationale for prohibiting these partnerships and encourage sports stakeholders to consider their role in supporting public health outcomes.

But until we act through regulation, sport will continue to be exploited by alcohol, gambling, junk food and soft drink companies to stimulate demand for their, often harmful, products and services.

Sponsorship of Sport - Heineken appears on the perimeter advertising hoardings at an international rugby match


From Johnnie Walker sponsoring F1 to Budwesier sponsoring the FIFA World Cup - alcohol is everywhere



Gambling is becoming normalised and poses a significant risk to young people and vulnerable adults

Sponsorship of Sport - KP Snacks and The Hundred

Food & Drink

Sport is saturated with food and non-alcoholic beverages high in fat, salt and/or sugar

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