Category: Sports

Sports going solar cuts costs, creates jobs and is climate positive

Read the full story from the Australian Conservation Foundation.

Installing solar panels on major sports stadiums and on the roofs of cricket, soccer and AFL head offices could generate around 20,000 megawatt-hours of clean energy – enough to power 2,890 households, new research has found…

The research was conducted by the School of Photovoltaic & Renewable Energy Engineering (SPREE) at the University of New South Wales and the Australian PV Institute (APVI).

March Madness uses enough energy to power 2,000 homes for a month. But this year, it’s carbon neutral.

Read the full story in the Indianapolis Star.

In its three-week duration, March Madness is bringing in tens of thousands of visitors to downtown Indianapolis and drawing at least $100 million into the city’s economy. It’s also using significant amounts of energy — enough to power a neighborhood the size of Glendale for a month. 

Normally, an event this size would result in net emissions of more than 5,000 tons of greenhouse gases. But not this year. This year, March Madness is carbon neutral. 

The energy used at all seven of the basketball tournament’s venues will be tracked and then mitigated by renewable energy credits and carbon offsets. The effort, part of a partnership with the NCAA and the Indiana Sports Corp., will result in one of the largest sporting events in the country to make the commitment to carbon neutrality.

Natural Grass Playing Field Case Study: Martha’s Vineyard, MA

Download the document.

Communities on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts have partnered with a non-profit group called The Field Fund to manage their natural grass playing fields with organic maintenance. The playing fields support the full demands of local youth and adult recreational activities, and increase community access to pesticide-free play spaces. This case study provides information on maintenance practices, costs, use, successes, and challenges for three natural grass field complexes on Martha’s Vineyard: Oak Bluffs School Fields, West Tisbury School Fields, and West Tisbury Town Field.

The maintenance practices highlighted here were created to meet Martha’s Vineyard’s specific conditions and needs, these methods can be adapted to any town, school, or community looking for a cost effective way to maintain their playing fields.

This is the third in a series of case studies created by the Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI), intended to share the experiences of communities that have chosen to invest in organically managed natural grass athletic fields. The first two case studies described the experiences of the City of Springfield and the Town of Marblehead, which show what can be accomplished with use of core organic management techniques. This case study presents how precision technologies can be used alongside core organic management techniques, for those communities that have resources for additional investment.

Olympic Committee pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Read the full story at The Hill.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) pledged on Wednesday to reduce its direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent within the next nine years.

Colts to use soy-backed turf in new partnership with Indiana Soy Bean Alliance

Read the full story at Brownfield Ag News.

Soy-based turf will be used by the Indianapolis Colts during 2021 pre-game events and traveling education exercise programs.

The Indiana Soybean Alliance, with support from the United Soybean Board and SYNLawn Indiana, is partnering with the NFL team to highlight the benefits of soybeans and the soy checkoff’s impact on building new markets.

The Effect of Corporate Social Responsibility on Fans’ Engagement: Evidence and Implications for a Professional Soccer Club

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Abstract: Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become increasingly prevalent in the sport industry. Indeed, sport organizations have been launching various CSR initiatives because, presumably, they create value for their stakeholders. Nevertheless, little research has been done to attempt to better comprehend the benefits of CSR on sport organizations’ stakeholders, particularly concerning fan engagement. The research question on which this study is based is: what is the effect of CSR on fan engagement behavior among a sample of fans of a professional soccer club? To address this query and understand the CSR/fan engagement relationship, the following research hypotheses are examined: 1) when a soccer club adopts CSR, it creates a significant difference in the overall fan engagement behavior in terms of intention or any of its attributes (sport consumption, experience sharing, fan involvement, and match attendance); 2) there is a relationship between CSR and non-transactional fan engagement behavior intention or any of its non-transactional attributes (sport consumption, experience sharing and fan involvement); and 3) there is an association between CSR and the probability of the highest transactional fan engagement intention (match attendance).

The first statistical method used in this study is the Mann-Whitney test used in order to uncover the significant differences by comparing the probability of the dependent variable distributional change when exposed to an independent variable in two different samples. The independent variable is the CSR which is the summation of its three bottom-line variables (social, economic and environmental). The dependent variable embodies a non-transactional fan engagement index or any of its attributes (sport consumption, experience sharing and fan involvement), and transactional connection represented by match attendance. The second statistical method used is linear regression which examines the relationship between non-transactional fan engagement or its attributes and CSR. Finally, the third method applied is ordinal regression in relation to the ordinal variable (transactional fan engagement) to support the association between CSR and the probability of being a season ticket holder.

The target population of this study is the fans of a professional soccer club in Major League Soccer (MLS): The Montreal Impact. A random independent sample (control group N1=920) of ticket buyers receiving a control survey is compared to another independent sample (study group N2=920) of ticket buyers receiving the same survey with the exception of including a section containing CSR questions.

The result of this study resolved that significant differences neither materialized on the overall nor on the non-transactional and transactional fan engagement. Nevertheless, the regression analysis attested the existence of positive association between CSR and non-transactional fan engagement, all its attributes (sport consumption, experience sharing and fan involvement) and transactional engagement. Essentially, on one hand, the absence of significant difference variation into non-transactional fan engagement is better explained by the fact that fan engagement is multifactorial construct that cannot be explained by one motivator such as CSR. In fact, fan engagement is individually and collectively perceived by fans and taken into account during the engagement decision-making process. Likewise, the non-significant change into the transactional characteristic is more rationalized through the causations nexus as well as economic and personal restraints. On the other hand, the regression’s positive association proves that when sport consumers are CSR stakeholders concurrently, they converge toward a synergy concerning the decision-making process permitting an enhancement of their engagement. Undeniably, fan engagement appears to be a process which is partially rationalized and reshaped by CSR which formats the social setting in which fans support and cooperate with their team.

Webinar: Selecting Athletic Turf You Can Feel Good About

Oct 28, 2020 1 pm CDT
Register here.

Many variables must be considered when selecting the right type of athletic turf or outdoor recreation space for your application. Even if health and the environment are at the forefront of the decision making process, it can be difficult to identify which options reduce the use of toxic chemicals. Is synthetic turf better than natural turf? If synthetic turf is used, what type of infill has the fewest hazards associated with it? Healthy Building Network has reviewed the existing body of data related to the most common types of athletic turf and infills. Based on this research, we have developed guidelines for selecting athletic turf in our simple Hazard Spectrum format. These guidelines take into account past research on athletic turf and also consider where more research is needed. Furthermore, they consider emerging environmental concerns raised by the use of synthetic turf such as the potential for microplastics to be released into the environment.

Do sports teams’ sustainability efforts matter to fans?

Several sports events have been disrupted by extreme weather events, such as wildfires in 2020. AP Photo/Tony Avelar

by Brian P. McCullough (Texas A&M University)

While the sport sector’s environmental impact is not fully understood, it has a social platform and reach to influence a significant number of people worldwide to choose more sustainable behaviors. Brian McCullough, associate professor of sport management at Texas A&M University, says that sport organizations should be proactive in becoming more sustainable to increase business performance, deepen connections with fans and attract new ones.

How are sports being affected by climate change? And how might they be affected in the future?

To use a sports analogy, there will be winners and losers as a result of climate change. Certain sports, like outdoor winter sports and even surfing, are vulnerable to the effects of climate change. For example, decreased winter months will make it more challenging to host the Winter Olympics due to fewer eligible cities; changes in ocean tides, and thus waves, could impact surfing competitions and force them to relocate.

Increased rainfall and subsequent flooding has already impacted cricket in England and India. Meanwhile, the intense wildfires and subsequent air quality impacted the Australian Open in January 2020 and resulted in the cancellation of baseball games in Seattle. The examples extend to the increased frequency and intensity of hurricanes in the Gulf and Eastern Seaboard. This trend of event disruption is expected to continue.

Granted, sports being canceled during these natural disasters is a small consequence to ensure the safety of human life, but it does impact the business of sport and has tremendous financial consequences. After Hurricane Harvey, the Houston sports market was displaced, and teams had to play extended road games because it was not feasible to host games or have fans safely travel to the stadiums.

Lastly, sport stadiums in some coastal cities, such as Miami or New York, are threatened by rising ocean sea levels. Thus, urban planners and sport teams need to seriously consider the likelihood of their sport facilities flooding.

These examples, among many others, show that the business of sport is threatened. They also demonstrate how weather events can impact the ways in which we participate in sports and recreation. Extreme heat will require sport participants to be cognizant of when and to what extent they exercise outdoors. Anglers and hunters will have to adapt to changes in migration or populations of their desired game. All this is to say that sport, whether as spectators or participants, may be vulnerable to the effects of climate change and should be ready to respond and adapt to these changes.

What have you found in your research around sports and the environment?

What I have found in my research is that sport organizations often miss certain aspects in their environmental impact assessments. These organizations typically have a narrow view focused on the facility or event itself. This limited focus overlooks externalities which have a sizable environmental impact such as the carbon-producing transportation of teams and fans, food consumption and waste production.

My research colleagues and I have also found that sport practitioners can be constrained within their organizations to engage in environmental initiatives. This can be because of a lack of support from upper management and ownership and uncertainty on how their fans will respond, among other perceived constraints.

We found that fans are receptive to these initiatives and will even partake in the efforts to reduce the events’ and their individual environmental footprints when attending sporting events. We designed campaigns with sporting events and evaluated the successes of these campaigns. We found that targeted environmental sustainability campaigns can educate sport spectators and participants to increase the use of mass transit, increase waste recovery and purchase carbon offsets to mitigate personal impacts when attending a sporting event.

Pre- and post-event surveys helped design and assess the social and financial returns on investment of the campaigns. Not only are there behavioral changes at the event; I found that sport fans change their everyday behaviors and even advocate for sustainable policy changes in their local communities to mimic what they experienced at certain sporting events.

Teams can benefit financially from these types of investments, I found. Sport events that feature environmental initiatives will deepen their connections among certain segments of fans. This is true for both politically conservative and liberal fans and old or young fans. This speaks to the universality of sport through the collective identity of being a sport fan of a specific team. This social identity can be leveraged by teams to promote social norms and influence fans to change their behaviors, whether that be in Washington or Louisiana. Additionally, corporate sponsors that support these initiatives also see increased brand perceptions and intentions to purchase their products or services.

What can be done by sporting bodies and teams to make their operations more sustainable?

Sport governing bodies and teams should first assess their environmental impacts and then take small steps to realize the financial and social returns on their efforts.

The Seattle Mariners conducted energy audits and facility upgrades and realized substantial energy and cost savings. The Ohio State University Athletics Department implemented comprehensive waste management that not only works closely in the stadium but in the surrounding community to achieve zero waste in Ohio Stadium. Other organizations like the Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Sounders offset their teams’ carbon emission through carbon offsetting programs including facility operations, team travel and fan travel.

Sport organizations and facilities are using renewable energy by featuring solar panels like at Levi Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers. The Johan Cruijff Arena, home to the AFC Ajax, in Amsterdam features battery arrays that can store enough energy to meet the demands of the entire event.

Other notable organizations are the Seattle Kraken, the new NHL expansion team, and the Forrest Green Rovers, a soccer club in England. The Seattle Kraken organization has leveraged its arena naming rights with Amazon to focus on environmental sustainability by naming the facility Climate Pledge Arena.

A 3d render of the proposed new stadium of Forrest Green Rovers FC
A 3D render of the proposed new stadium of Forrest Green Rovers FC made entirely out of fire-retardant wood. Zaha Hadid Architects

The Forrest Green Rovers have designed and will build a stadium completely made out of sustainably sourced wood. Currently, the team’s facilities are powered completely by renewable energy, and their concessionaires feature only plant-based food items, dramatically decreasing the environmental impact of the organization. Environmental sustainability should be viewed as innovation. This is an innovative journey and not simply a destination.

Brian P. McCullough, Associate Professor of Sport Management and Director of the Sport Ecology Laboratory, Texas A&M University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

IPM for Sports and Recreational Fields

The Land + Lawn Forum of the IPM Institute of North America promotes the use of sustainable landscaping. They have a wealth of information for sports and recreational fields, including case studies.

Turfgrass Information File (TGIF) Database

Read the full story at Inside Science Resources.

If you’re a golfing fan, you may have often admired the lush golf courses and wondered how they keep the grass so green and perfect. No doubt that lots of research into turfgrass and its maintenance played an important part. A topic which interests not only the sports industry but also landscape architecture, horticulture, parks and recreation, and environmental policy.

Researchers and students in these areas have a valuable resource in the Turfgrass Information File (TGIF) database – a bibliographic database exclusively dedicated to indexing turfgrass literature. Jointly designed by the United States Golfing Association Turfgrass Research Committee and the Michigan State University (MSU) Libraries in 1983; it is now managed by the Turfgrass Information Center, a division of MSU Libraries.

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