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Alcoholism and Sports

Alcohol and sports have been closely associated with one another for the better part of the last century. From the early days of baseball in the United States to the proliferation of professional basketball today, alcohol has permeated national sports. Served at sports arenas and bars during games and advertised during games and events on television, alcohol has practically become synonymous with sports. But while alcohol is often consumed as a social aspect of sports camaraderie, it often degrades into binge drinking and violence not only on the part of fans, but on the part of athletes, coaches and officials.

One of the most significant problems with alcohol and sporting events is the propensity for fans to become belligerent, unruly and even violent. This is largely due to the fact that advertisers have worked very hard to ensure that fans associate drinking with sports. Sports fans often do not attend or watch sporting events unless alcohol is involved and they’ll drink whatever the outcome is. This means that if their team wins, they will drink to celebrate. If their team loses, they’ll drink in an effort to “mend their wounds.” However, the high levels of energy, excitement and aggression associated with physical sports like football, hockey, and martial arts often spills over into real life violence when alcohol is involved.

In a revealing article on the sponsorship of professional sports by alcohol marketers, the Marin Institute stated that:

“In many of the places where sports and alcohol merge—whether at stadiums, sports bars, or at home—the combination often leads to heavy drinking and related problems like violence and vandalism, DUIs and public disturbances.”(1)

This is evidenced not only in the US but worldwide when fans engage in destructive acts including the harassment and beating of other fans and bystanders, vandalism of stadium seats and equipment, and theft and looting of concessions and vendors at sporting venues. Sometimes these acts of violence and vandalism occur even when the home team has won, and in most cases alcohol is a prominent factor driving these types of behavior.

In addition to the propensity for alcohol related violence and vandalism during sporting events, the illegal sales of alcoholic beverages at such events is also a serious problem. In a study conducted by the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health and reported by Science Daily, undercover actors were used in an attempt to determine if a visibly intoxicated person could be served alcohol at a sporting event. The results indicated that as much as 74% of pseudo-intoxicated individuals were able to purchase alcoholic beverages. When the same tests were conducted using undercover operatives that appeared to be under 21, little resistance was encountered and sales occurred in about 3 out of every 4 attempts. However, it should be noted that in both cases sales in the general seating area of stadiums were much more likely, whereas sales to the same individuals at concession stands were less likely.(2)

Alcoholism Hotline 1-800-706-9190

Because alcohol and sports is practically a tradition for many Americans, a tradition of sports also could mean a close association with alcohol and alcoholism. Regular drinking to the point of intoxication often leads to addictive behaviors that may require treatment in an alcohol rehab center. Our Florida Alcohol Rehab can help you regardless of where you are – all you need to do is pick up the phone. After all, you don’t have to give up your love of sports – you just have to give up the alcohol that’s slowly ruining your life and that of those around you. Call us now.

(1) The Marin Institute Alcohol and Sports – An Unhealthy Mix
(2) Science Daily Sports Stadiums Serve Alcohol to Minors and Intoxicated Fans, Study Suggests

About The Contributor
The editorial staff of Recovery First is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands... Read More