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Unhealthy histories: sports and addictive sponsorship

Greenwood, Anna; Mold, Alex; Wardle, Heather

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Professor of Health History

Alex Mold

Heather Wardle


Professional sport has been criticised for its role as a vehicle to market addictive products or services. Despite the harmful health effects on society, football audiences are inured to seeing sponsors of such products not only on pitch-side hoardings and shirts, but also embedded in television rights, competition names, prematch build-up, corporate hospitality, and social media. Tobacco's successful movement into sports sponsorship established the template on which other addictive sponsors, notably the alcohol and gambling industries, built their strategies. The integration of sports and addictive commodities highlights strategies to influence consumption by those within the unhealthy commodities industry. Using the UK as a case study, we revisit the evolution of these relationships to provide critical insight into these processes.


Greenwood, A., Mold, A., & Wardle, H. (2023). Unhealthy histories: sports and addictive sponsorship. Lancet, 401(10370), 18-19.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 19, 2022
Online Publication Date Jan 7, 2023
Publication Date Jan 7, 2023
Deposit Date Jan 6, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jul 8, 2023
Journal The Lancet
Print ISSN 0140-6736
Electronic ISSN 1474-547X
Publisher Elsevier BV
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 401
Issue 10370
Pages 18-19
Keywords General Medicine
Public URL
Publisher URL


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