That's not cricket: Junk food sponsors mentioned more than 1,000 times per match, report shows

28 Jan 2015

A new report from the Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC) has revealed the incredibly large volume of junk food marketing in cricket broadcasts. Research released today revealed that more than 6.5 hours' worth of junk food ads and other promotional tactics were shown during last summer's T20, Ashes and One Day International matches.

The results also showed that T20 matches, which attract large numbers of child viewers, were by far the most saturated, with a whopping 1,169 junk food ads or sponsorship mentions [1] in one match, making up nearly two and a half hours of broadcast time.

KFC was promoted 3,372 times throughout last summer's most popular cricket broadcasts [2] accounting for 99.7% of the total junk food ads and promotion.

Jane Martin, Executive Manager of the OPC, says these figures highlight the benefit for major sponsors like KFC of association with healthy, family-oriented sports like cricket, which gives them a "healthy halo".

"Cricket fans, many of whom are children, are bombarded by these messages every few seconds, sending the misleading message to children that consuming these products is consistent with a sporting career and healthy lifestyle" Ms Martin says.

"Exposure to the promotion of unhealthy food, including through local and elite sport sponsorship, can have a lasting effect on children's health.  A strong body of research shows that powerful food marketing influences the types of food children prefer, demand and consume, and can contribute to poor diets, negative health outcomes, weight gain and obesity in children."

The OPC's partners – Cancer Council Victoria, Diabetes Australia - Vic and the WHO Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention – have today written to Wally Edwards, the Chairman of the Board of Cricket Australia, calling on the organisation to phase out its sponsorship arrangements with unhealthy brands. 

"We believe there is great potential for cricket to be setting a healthy example for Australian children and we've asked Cricket Australia to take action to promote healthy habits, to help protect our kids from a future of chronic disease," Ms Martin says.

Cricket broadcasts summer 2014

Incidences of junk food promotion

One Day Internationals (3 matches)

704 incidences in total (1:30 duration)

Ashes test - Brisbane (first 3 days)

758 incidences in total (1:24 duration)

T20 International Series (2 matches)

1,910 incidences total (3:40 duration)


  1. Brand mentions include fixed advertising, dynamic advertising, commercials, integrated advertising and team sponsorship
  2. The report analyses three One-Day International matches, two T20 International matches and the first Ashes test.

About the research

The research was commissioned by Cancer Council Victoria and undertaken by the Centre for Health Initiatives at Wollongong University. Three One-Day International matches, two T20 International matches and the first Ashes test were coded for advertising frequencies or rates (i.e. junk food ads/hour) and total exposure time for junk food marketing/junk food brand messages.