News sports book calls for ethical approach to sponsorship

Published: 14 March 2023

A book that argues for a more ethical approach to be taken to global sports sponsorship and public health, written by SHW Honorary Research Fellow Dr Robin Ireland, was published in March 2023

A book that argues for a more ethical approach to be taken to global sports sponsorship and public health was published in March 2023, written by Dr Robin Ireland, Honorary Research Fellow in School of Health and Wellbeing/College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences at the University of Glasgow, and Honorary Director of Research, with Healthy Stadia.

Photo of men playing football

Drawing on research from sport studies, marketing and public health, "Sports, sponsorship and public health" (Routledge) presents a fascinating history of advertising and marketing in global sport. It explores the importance of tobacco in the development of sport sponsorship, and key aspects of the contemporary relationship between sport and corporate sponsors, including mega-events, digital technologies and brand engagement.

It also offers an in-depth case study of sponsorship in the English Premier League – one of the world’s most successful sporting properties – before considering how sport might be better regulated, now and in the future, to better protect the interests of fans and other stakeholders from a health perspective.

The book is illustrated with insightful images showcasing sport sponsorship in connection with tobacco, mega-events, alcohol, junk food and drink, and gambling over the years.

Famous sports people who refused to be branded are profiled, from US baseball player Honus Wager (1909) and Uruguay’s Obdulio Varela, who refused to wear a brand on his football shirt in the 1950s, to modern day footballers like France’s Kylian Mbappé and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Addressing a topical and hugely important issue, this is recommended reading for students, researchers, practitioners and policy makers with an interest in sport business and management, the ethics of sport, physical activity and health, event studies, marketing or public health.

The book launch was supported by a webinar on 29 March 2023, featuring talks by:

  • Patrick Gasser, former Head of Football Social Responsibility, UEFA;
  • Monika Kosinska, Head of Economic and Commercial Determinants, WHO: The Commercial Determinants of Health;
  • Professor Emma Boyland, Chair of Food Marketing and Child Health, University of Liverpool: The Power of Marketing on Children and Young People.

Based on themes explored in the book, the event will cross-examine the English Premier League in connection with alcohol, gambling and soft drink marketing before considering how sport might be better regulated, now and in the future, to better protect the interests of fans and other stakeholders from a health perspective.

Ireland, Robin 2023 "Sport, Sponsorship and Public Health" Routledge, London  


First published: 14 March 2023

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