Opinion: Junk Food and Professional Sports is a Healthy Relationship?

How beneficial is that professional sports leagues continue to be sponsored by junk food brands? .

Coca Cola Bottles

The sponsors of some soccer leagues are often brands that do not sell exactly “healthy” products. Photo: Pexels

LatinAmerican Post| Juan Manuel Londoño

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Leer en español: Opinión: Comida chatarra y deporte profesional ¿Una relación saludable?

Cristiano Ronaldo's gesture with Coca Cola is not new, professional sports and junk food have been linked for years . The sponsors of some soccer leagues are often brands that do not sell exactly "healthy" products. Let's see, for example, the case of the Primera A Colombiana de Fútbol (Colombian Soccer division):

  • From 1990 to 2009 it was called Copa Mustang (cigarette brand).
  • From 2010 to 2014 it was called Liga Postobón (soda brand).
  • From 2015 to 2019 it was called Liga Águila (beer brand).
  • From 2019 to the present its name is Liga Betplay (Online betting brand).

These have been the biggest sponsors of the most popular sport in the country for years. The names of its products have been repeated millions of times in the minds of generations that associate them, in a certain way, with professional sports .

But how ethical is this relationship? How normal should it be for a child to see their favorite player year after year giving interviews in front of a mural with a mosaic of brands? Should soccer teams have the Pepsi or Coca Cola logos on their shirts?

These are complicated questions, because the truth is that some arguments can be made in favor of the participation of these brands in the major sports leagues.

The most obvious is that sponsors move large amounts of money. Every year, professional teams are more expensive to maintain, athletes have more extravagant salaries, and sports organizations employ more and more staff. Especially in the context of the pandemic, the money that a sponsor gives is essential for a sports organization .

Also read: Champions! Three unforgettable moments for Colombia in the Copa América

UEFA said it itself when Cristiano's gesture happened: "Uefa has reminded the teams that sponsors are essential for the realization of the tournament and to guarantee the development of soccer throughout Europe, including for young people and women"

However, it is also true that the big junk food brands are not the only ones with the purchasing power to sponsor soccer leagues . There are quite a few brands that are not aimed at children and teenagers who are sponsoring some major competitions right now. For example, the financial services company Barclays sponsors the Brithis Premier League .

Athletes have already begun to be withdrawn from junk food packaging in several countries around the world . The argument used is that this makes it difficult for an emotional bond to be made with the brand. Thus, children avoid consuming products that can cause countless health problems, such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension and others. It is the same principle that, for example, led to the removal of the images of the Cereal Pets in Mexico.

If we can remove athletes from the packages, why can't we remove these unhealthy brands from the Sports leagues? Don't they have a similar scope there?

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