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BREWERS BEWARE? TOBACCO LIMITATIONS MAY JUST BE THE START
Published August 27, 1996
If President Clinton's proposed tobacco regulations go into effect in a year, it "will probably drive cigarette advertisers out of sports," according to Richard Alm in the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. Since the government banned TV ads more than 20 years ago, and last year forced in-stadium tobacco signage to stay clear of TV cameras, Alm notes "most sports have already weaned themselves from cigarette makers' money." He adds NASCAR is a "red-hot property, quite capable of finding another corporate Daddy Warbucks to keep it going." Alm writes beer, however, "is quite another story" as the brewing industry is one of the "financial pylons" supporting American sports, as beer companies sponsor nearly every sport. Beer companies are also a major supporter of sports on TV. Alm notes that the Clinton Administration "hasn't yet" targeted the connection between beer and sports, "but it's hard to see how the mindset that wanted cigarettes out of sports could allow beer to stay in." If Washington decides to try and take beer out, "it will create more havoc than the decision to go after the cigarette companies" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 8/26). ONE MAN'S TAKE: ESPN's Keith Olbermann on NASCAR's tobacco advertising: "Spokesmen for the tobacco industry will actually sit there and tell you with a straight face that their sponsorship of NASCAR, an estimated $10 million a year by R.J. Reynolds alone, is not done to evade the 26 year-old ban on cigarette ads on TV. It's just a coincidence that painting advertising and logos on stock cars and ballparks fences is the only way that cigarette companies can get their products shown or mentioned on TV, live or on highlights shows such as this one. Just a coincidence" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 8/26). A START OR FINISH? Philip Morris Europe said it was withdrawing its sponsorship of the McLaren Formula One auto- racing team, three years after it won its last championship. German tobacco company Reemtsma will take over sponsorship for its West cigarette brand (Montreal GAZETTE, 8/27).