Ads for activities, products or services related to sports and leisure must follow the general advertising rules – they must not harm, offend or mislead.
Although there are no specific rules for ads in this sector we commonly see complaints about misleading advertising on secondary ticket websites, problems with unofficial endorsements and advertisers not sticking to age-restricted products rules.
We’ve undertaken extensive work to ensure consumers are not misled when they are trying to book tickets for their favourite sport or leisure activity and as a result are not left out of pocket. Secondary ticket websites enable individuals or businesses to re-sell tickets they have bought for sports, music or other events and are often a major source of complaints to us.
We’ve taken action to bring more of these kinds of websites in to line with the advertising rules and ensure they are not displaying misleading price information. Websites such as these must ensure: quoted prices for tickets are inclusive of VAT; any additional charges not included in the ticket price are listed; and the face value of the ticket, which may be different from the price the ticket is being sold at, is visible in the ad.
Under the rules, official sponsors of sporting tournaments and events are allowed to refer to their sponsorship deal in their advertising, but other advertisers should take care not to imply there is an official affiliation when there isn’t. As always, the overall impression of an ad will be taken into account when we make our decisions, so any images, icons and symbols will contribute to our assessment of how consumers are likely to interpret an ad. General references to a tournament or event, or general messages of support for a team, are likely to be considered acceptable, provided they do not imply official sponsorship.
During major sporting events, ads for alcohol and gambling are common place. When preparing their ads, advertisers should always remember that players, or supporters, who are, or appear to be, under the age of 25 must not play a significant role in gambling or alcohol ads or they’ll be handed a red card by the ASA. The only exception is if in gambling ads the sportsperson depicted is the subject of the bet being offered and the ad appears where a bet can be placed directly through a transactional facility.