In what appears to be the most comprehensive report on sports fans and their drinking habits, a newly published study says that nearly 8 percent of fans leaving the measured sporting events were legally drunk. Doctors at the University of Minnesota took breathalyzer tests of 362 adult fans who attended 13 of the Major League Baseball games and three NFL games.
While eight percent were found to be legally drunk, 40 percent of fans tested at least had something to drink.
“Although many people might think that the eight percent is not a big number, it means that thousands of people from each game could be leaving these venues intoxicated,” said Dr. Darin J. Erickson, who headed up the study. “Given that intoxication can lead to a host of negative consequences, such as drunk driving, assault and injury, this is clearly a public health issue.”
The study found that fans at a Monday Night Football game had three times the odds of having something to drink, but not being drunk, as compared to all the other types of games.
It also found fans that fans under 35 were nearly eight times more likely to be drunk than fans 36 and older. People who tailgated were 6.3 times more likely to have had something to drink and 14 times more likely to be drunk than someone who didn’t tailgate.
Beer sponsors are obviously huge advertisers in the sporting landscape. Anheuser-Busch, for example, spent $235 million in Super Bowl advertising alone over the last 10 years, according to Kanter Media.
A 1993 study asserted that at least 41 percent of male attendees at six baseball games that year imbibed some sort of alcohol, either before or during the game.
The University of Minnesota project was fully funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which was set up by the grandfather of Woody Johnson, the owner of the New York Jets.
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