The relationship between big food corporations and professional sports clubs: a scoping review

Ireland, R., Bunn, C. and Chambers, S. (2017) The relationship between big food corporations and professional sports clubs: a scoping review. Lancet, 390(Suppl3), S48. (doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(17)32983-5)

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Background Professional sport occupies a prominent place in cultures across the globe. Commercial organisations often use this prominence as a vehicle to promote their brands and products. There are increasing concerns about the growing number of people who are overweight and obese and the contributory role that marketing of processed food and drink plays. We therefore undertook a scoping review to explore the relationship between professional sports clubs and food and drink marketing. Methods We searched six databases (CINALH Plus, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, PubMed, SPORTDiscus, and Web of Science) from database start dates to March 27–31, 2017, using Boolean operators and search terms around professional sports clubs, marketing, food and drink, and health impacts (appendix). Experts were also consulted. Only English language publications were included. We excluded mega events (eg, Olympics, football World Cup) because of the attention already given to them. We likewise excluded alcohol marketing and sport, in view of the established literature exploring that relationship. Findings We identi ed 18166 titles for examination after removing duplicates and 163 abstracts for reviews; and obtained the full text for 26 publications. We included six papers in the review; four were from Australia and New Zealand. The Australasian literature was concerned with the marketing of (unhealthy) food and beverages to children and the potential (negative) impact on eating patterns. Rugby league, Australian football, and cricket were sports that were identi ed. Single papers from Turkey and the USA explored issues around marketing and professional sports clubs. The Turkish paper analysed shirt sponsorship in football leagues internationally and showed that food and beverage (including alcohol) companies were the most common sponsors. The paper from the USA examined a mixed reaction to a football team named after an energy drink. Interpretation Given the current focus on how processed food is marketed to children, it is surprising that professional sports clubs have eluded the scrutiny of academic public health in the UK. Our review highlights the lack of public health research in this area. Research that explores the interdependent commercial practices of food and drink companies and professional sports clubs is urgently needed.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Funding: University of Glasgow in collaboration with the Medical Research Council's Social and Public Health Sciences Unit.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Bunn, Dr Christopher and Chambers, Dr Stephanie and Ireland, Robin
Authors: Ireland, R., Bunn, C., and Chambers, S.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Social Scientists working in Health and Wellbeing
College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Research Group:Social Scientists in Health and Wellbeing
Journal Name:Lancet
Publisher:The Lancet Publishing Group
ISSN (Online):1474-547X
Published Online:27 November 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd.
First Published:First published in Lancet 390(Supplement 3): S48
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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