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Group Targets Alcohol, Other ’Adult’ Ads on Sports Broadcasts

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Half or more of the ads aired during Major League Baseball (MLB) and National Football League (NFL) games are for alcohol, drugs, or sexually related products, according to the group Common Sense Media.

The Associated Press reported Sept. 17 that the group has called on sports leagues and networks to curb advertising they say is inappropriate for young viewers — so far, without success.

The Drug-Free Action Alliance of Columbus, Ohio, surveyed teens after last year’s Super Bowl and found that three of their four favorite ads broadcast during the game were for beer.

Common Sense Media CEO James Steyer said that letters to the leagues have fallen on deaf ears, and that nothing is likely to change without pressure from lawmakers or government regulators.

The NFL bans ads for liquor but allow commercials for wine and beer. A Fox Sports spokesperson said that advertising decisions are based on audience composition and that the viewership for NFL games “is overwhelmingly adult.”

However, Lisa Hoover, a Sarasota, Fla., mother who watches NFL games with her three sons, said that, “All the while, I have to explain terms like ’erectile dysfunction’ to my kids, remind them that drinking beer isn’t as cool as all the ads make it seem, and distract them from Go Daddy commercials that border on soft porn. While I don’t hold the NFL responsible for the juvenile advertising, I’m sure a few a pointed comments from Commissioner Goodell to sponsors about respectability wouldn’t hurt.”

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