Alcohol consumption at cricket matches is commonplace in South Africa

Alcohol consumption at cricket matches is commonplace in South Africa. It has become a habit within the sport community, particularly in cricket. It’s an accustomed ingredient in the sport experience for many cricket fans (Turner, 2013). To them, consuming alcohol at events is ‘just what you did”. At a cultural and social level alcohol its closely associated with sport… at the entertainment level – as part of the entertainment experience, for example, drinking beer while watching the game, whether at home in front of the TV, with or without mates, or in a stadium (Gee, Jackson and Sam, 2013).
Sport is not only being used by alcohol industry to encourage drinking among sportspeople and fans, it is also the primary vehicle for alcohol-industry marketing to the general public (Welham, 2011). Products like castle lager and black label are marketed through sport and are actually consumed by sports fans when watching sport, either live or on television. Abi (2018) notes: “There is too much alcohol being served at sporting grounds around the country and you know Aussies- drinking in moderation is not something sports fans do naturally particularly at long cricket matches. Bring it home, and you’ll realize no matter what the sport or its level of popularity, the consumption of alcohol is part of the spectator experience and drinking in moderation is not something “boozers” do. Beer and sport are closely connected in many ways, including sponsorship and consumption by players, but especially its consumption by fans at games (Jones, 2016:35). When watching a live cricket match on television you would always see visuals of fans in the stadiums holding beer cups in their hands and waving at the camera man. After making observations at live cricket events, Dr Sarah (2013) found “the sporting contest was secondary to the fan experience for the majority of fans”, that there was “an increasingly naturalised alcohol-sport link in the entertainment experience of major sport events.”
Alcohol is prevalent before and during professional sporting events. Sport fans use alcohol for a variety of reasons. For instance, when consumed in small amounts, alcohol can help fans relax, provide positive emotions and positive immediate metabolic effects, help them feel like they belong, and shape their identity in a social setting (Dalmacio, 2016). Tailgating allows fans to grill food, drink alcohol and socialize in the parking lot in preparation for the game. According to Burnard (2016), “at the South Africa vs England test at Newlands during 2016 Stadium Management confirmed after all five days of the match, R2.84 million had been spent by thirsty spectators on beer, wine and ciders alone. This was the most beer ever sold at Newlands, beating the 2005 New Year’s test”. This clearly demonstrates the drinking culture of cricket fans in South Africa. Yet with all the alcohol consumption at cricket matches many fans attending are well-behaved. Drunken brawls are quite common during football matches, but cricket fans are considered relatively more sober (Hindustantimes, 2016). It’s a pretty calm atmosphere and all feels well. Though if you look beneath the surface, cricket has a dangerous relationship with alcohol. Viewers are exposed to more than 4600 incidences of alcohol promotion in just three one-day international cricket games (Hall, 2016). Alcohol advertising through stadium signage, logos on player uniforms reinforces for children that alcohol and sport go hand-in-hand. (Victoria, 2015). It is proven that the more exposure that you have to that advertising at a younger age, the more likely you are to drink as a juvenile (Scott and Armitage, 2017).

Given the emphasis placed here on the entertainment value of alcohol during sports events, questions about how fans fee about the consumption of alcohol at cricket matches remain to be explored. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to learn about their views on this subject. Although international studies have been conducted on the culture of alcohol consumption on major sports events there is however currently very little information available on the internet documenting perceptions of South African fans of alcohol consumption at cricket matches. Furthermore, there were very few articles and journals on google scholar regarding this topic. For this reason, the aim of this study is to focus the research mainly on the perceptions of “local” fans of alcohol consumption at cricket matches. Data collection method
The intention of this study is to examine fan perceptions of alcohol at cricket matches. The study focused on fans perceptions regarding how they felt about alcohol consumption and promotion at cricket matches.

This section focuses on the data collection methods that were used in this study. The data collection method employed in this study was a self-administered questionnaire. The questionnaire was designed to examine perceptions towards alcohol and promotions at cricket matches, Specifically, this questionnaire was designed to assess fan perceptions, feelings, and beliefs on alcohol consumption and promotions at cricket events.

Participants included 20 university students. Students from Cape Peninsula University of Technology participated in the study. A total of 20 young male and female students over the age of 18 years old completed the questionnaire (ages varied from 19-27 years old with an average of 21,8 years old). The sample comprised 15 males (75%) and 5 females (25%) students. Students were selected from a range of courses. The ethnicity of the study was 60% black and 40% coloured.
We approached students directly on campus, residence and classes. Upon arrival at data collection venues, students were approached and asked to participate in the study. Participants were informed that the study would be a completion of 20 – 30 min paper and pencil questionnaire. Participants were read a brief statement about the study emphasising that participation was voluntary and anonymous, and upon consent each respondent was provided with a questionnaire for completion. If the participant declined, another one was approached. I offered the participants a small snack (approximately R5) as a thank you
Participants were presented with a questionnaire which consisted of 14 statemen and requested to respond on a 6-point Likert scale (strongly disagree, disagree, neither agree or disagree, agree, strongly agree) with a range of statements on; their awareness of alcohol promotions, alcohol and event atmosphere, the link between alcohol consumption and the culture of the event, and the entertainment value of alcohol at cricket matches among other, A total of 20 questionnaires were completed. Response results were tabulated. This was then transferred to an excel file for additional data analysis. Descriptive statistic including frequencies, percentages were then calculated for the different responses.

Ethical consideration
Voluntary participation of respondents in the research was an important consideration. Participants had the right to withdraw from the study at any stage if they wished to do so. Following acceptance and rejection of the request to complete the questionnaire I again approached the nearest student for participation, and so on. In order to provide respondents to feel comfortable with giving answers that reflect their opinions and beliefs, the questionnaire ensured confidentiality by not asking participants for their names/student numbers. This ensured they remain anonymous and that the confidentiality of responses of the participants involved in the study is maintained.

Sample size
The sample size was too small. The limitation was the possibility of obtaining more respondents who were highly involved in the sporting event or regularly attended cricket matches. Basing the study in larger sample size could have produced more accurate results.

Data limitation
Another limitation was the inability to collect as much or as good data as intended. The number of participants is not enough from which to adequately draw conclusions. Moreover, the questionnaire led to limited outcomes. The respondents had limited options of responses.

A summary of the findings on a range of questionnaire statements relating to fan perceptions on alcohol at cricket matches. A total of 20 participants completed the questionnaire. Over half of the participants were males. The age category was between 19 – 27. The questionnaire was designed to gather responses from students to gain insight into their perceptions of alcohol promotions and drinking culture surrounding the event.
I have aggregated the original 5 responses in two excluding neither agree or disagree. The responses for strongly disagree, disagree and the responses for agree and strongly agree are collapsed into agree and disagree.

394335062992000The first statement “question” asked participants whether there was excessive liquor being served at sporting grounds around the country. 45% of participants disagreed. 50% agreed that an excessive amount of alcohol was served at cricket grounds. 5% of the respondents neither agree or disagree.
35% disagree that fans attending cricket events drink in moderation, while 45% agree that they do drink moderately when compared with soccer and rugby fans. The remaining 20% neither agree or disagree
79% of participants agreed that they were aware of alcohol promotions across major sporting events in the country. The 16% percentage remaining share opposing views to the 79%. Some of them are not aware of alcohol promotions at cricket events.

67% of participants agreed that sponsorship signage and promotions contribute to the atmosphere at cricket matches, while 28% disagreed with the statement. A small 5 percentage neither agree or disagree.
Participants were asked whether fans attended the events mainly for the drinking and/or for the sport. 58% of participants agreed that some fans attended matches because of the alcohol. Thirty-two per cent of the participants disagreed and eleven per cent neither agreed or disagreed.
Regarding the link between alcohol consumption and event atmosphere, 50% of participants agreed that drinking improved the atmosphere and enjoyment of fans than disagreed (45%). 11% neither agree or disagree.

441960057340500Participants were asked for their responses to whether consuming alcohol at event was “just what you did”, that is I wanted to discern if drinking alcohol was part of the culture of being at the event. 65% of the participants agreed, 25% disagreed and 10% neither agreed or disagreed.
Regarding whether participants were concerned with the exposure of alcohol messages to youth at cricket events, 65% of the respondents agreed with the statement than disagreed (25%). 10% of the respondents neither agree or disagree that kids are exposed to alcohol messages at live matches.

Regarding whether the participants had seen or heard messages at the event about drinking in moderation 53% agreed and 42% disagreed with 5% neither agreeing or disagreeing.

90% of participants were all agreed that alcohol increases social bonding among cricket fans and that it is an essential part of a sports fans identification as well. While a 10% disagreed.

55% of participants agreed that fans attending cricket matches do not drink excessively and 30% disagreed. 15% neither agree or disagree.

Majority of participants (60%) disagreed that alcohol consumption added to the entertainment value of cricket events, with 35% agreeing and 5% neither agreeing or disagreeing.

Table. Responses to questionnaire by percentages
Questions Total Strongly disagree Disagree Neither agree or disagree Agree Strongly agree Total
1. There is excessive liquor being served at sporting grounds around the country? 20 0% 35% 20% 30% 15% 100%
2. Cricket fans drink beer or wine in moderation at live cricket matches? 20 10% 35% 5% 40% 10% 100%
3. I’m aware of the alcohol promotions at cricket events? 20 5% 15% 5% 70% 5% 100%
4. Alcohol sponsor’s signage and promotions contribute to the social atmosphere at live cricket events. 20 0% 25% 5% 55% 15% 100%
5. I attend cricket matches for the beer. 20 0% 30% 10% 45% 15% 100%
6. Drinking alcohol is part of the atmosphere at cricket matches. 20 35% 35% 15% 15% 0% 100%
7. I attend the cricket matches for the atmosphere than for the sport itself. 20 20% 45% 5% 30% 0% 100%
8. The atmosphere at cricket matches makes me feel like having an alcoholic drink. 20 35% 25% 10% 20% 10% 100%
9. I’m worried about the exposure of alcohol messages for the youth at cricket events. 20 15% 30% 5% 50% 0% 100%
10. Drinking alcohol at cricket events is “just what you did”. 20 0% 25% 10% 50% 15% 100%
11. I have seen and heard messages about drinking in moderation at cricket matches 20 5% 40% 5% 50% 0% 100%
12. Alcohol increases social bonding among cricket fans. 20 0% 10% 0% 45% 45% 100%
13. Cricket fans drink too much at cricket matches. 20 10% 20% 15% 50% 5% 100%
14. Alcohol consumption causes sport fans to be aggressive and violent. 20 20% 55% 0% 15% 10% 100%
15. Alcohol consumption adds to the entertainment value of cricket events. 20 30% 30% 5% 15% 20% 100%
The percentage of participants who agree (45%) that too much liquor was served at sporting grounds are supported by the figures that show that at the Newlands Cricket test between South Africa and England in 2016 a record number of beers was consumed by sport fans. Stadium management confirmed to Sport24 after all the days of that match, R2.84 million had been spent by thirsty spectators on beer, wine and cider alone (Kierman, 2016). This data consolidates further the existing link between sport and alcohol.

The questionnaire was developed as an investigative tool to study the fan perceptions of alcohol consumption at cricket matches. The questionnaire focused on how fans felt about alcohol consumption, their views regarding the nature and extend of alcohol consumption, and promotion of alcohol at cricket events. The results show that that there is a naturalized culture of alcohol promotion and consumption at cricket events.
Participant’ responses from the questionnaire indicated that attendees at sport events are aware of alcohol promotion at sporting events. The percentage of participants who agreed was higher than that of participants who disagreed and were unsure, which could mean that alcohol promotion is quite prevalent during cricket matches. The participants’ responses also indicated that fans attending cricket events view alcohol promotions to be part of experiencing the cricket matches or contributing to the atmosphere at the events.

Furthermore, the questionnaire provided insight into the different beliefs related to alcohol consumption at different sports events. Although majority of participants disagreed that drinking alcohol was part of the atmosphere at the cricket events and also made it entertaining, however they agreed that alcohol was part of the culture at live cricket matches. Participants responses repeated the idea of a connection between alcohol consumption as socially acceptable activity and the enjoyable social atmosphere of cricket events.
Further the results showed that a large percent of participants agreed that they attended the cricket matches for the sport than for the atmosphere and alcohol; and a smaller percent of participants agreed that they attended cricket matches for the atmosphere than for the sport. Of the 65% who responded that they agreed with attending cricket matches for the sport, the majority (80%) were female and only 20% were male.

Moreover, the questionnaire results indicated that while most participants had indeed received messages about regulating their own alcohol consumption, they were not excessively disturbed about the exposure of youth to alcohol messages at the events. This suggest that alcohol images and their resulting messages are becoming increasingly accepted with the culture of sport events and that drinking alcohol is a normal activity.