Baseball Australia has stepped up to the plate to protect children from alcohol harm, today pledging to no longer accept alcohol advertising in its junior competitions and at the national representative level of the game.
In doing so, it becomes the first Australian sporting code to partner with the national campaign, End Alcohol Advertising in Sport, and sends a strong message that Baseball Australia is proactively building a more family-friendly and healthier sporting environment.
At the announcement today, Baseball Australia Chief Executive Cam Vale said their decision reflects community attitudes, and taking a stand on alcohol advertising leads the way for other sporting codes.
“Baseball Australia is proud to partner with the End Alcohol Advertising in Sport campaign,” Vale said.
“Our junior players and the families who support Baseball in Australia are the future of our code.
“They are tomorrow’s players, superstars and fans of our sport, and in partnering with End Alcohol Advertising in Sport, we aspire to create a healthier sporting environment for them all to thrive,” Vale said.
A testament to Baseball Australia’s serious resolve to turn its back on alcohol advertising, Mr Vale says Baseball Australia recently rejected a sponsorship proposal with an overseas alcohol brand.
“Sport is a competitive market in Australia and we are not alone in positioning our particular game as being focused on junior participation and development; however, better leadership from sporting administrators is required,” Mr Vale said.
“Our Little League program, which is part of the broader Little League International platform, promotes values of citizenship, discipline, teamwork and physical well-being, which perfectly align with the values and spirit of this particular partnership,” he said.
Baseball Australia’s decision does not extend to, or impact, the operations of the eight independently owned and operated Australian Baseball League teams competing in the professional domestic competition.
The three-year partnership with End Alcohol Advertising in Sport will see the campaign promoted nationally at Little League games and promoted on Baseball Australia’s digital and media platforms and distributed to the baseball clubs and members throughout Australia.
End Alcohol Advertising in Sport campaign spokesman and Chief Executive for the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE), Michael Thorn, congratulated Baseball Australia and said he was delighted that a national sporting code recognised the importance of prioritising the health and welfare of its player and supporter base above all else.
“Baseball Australia has today shown leadership that is sadly lacking in too many of our national sporting codes,” Thorn said.
“Sport can and should be a powerful force for good. Rather than simply condemning player transgressions, sporting codes must show leadership, and that starts with walking away from alcohol advertising dollars, as Baseball Australia is doing.”