A Complex Relationship: Sports And The Environment – Carbon Footprints

Jack Boydell and Brian Boldt

  Often making headlines in the media due to their mass popularity, major sporting events lure infrastructure and tourism to host cities, promising numerous economic benefits.

  Events like the NFL Super Bowl, Winter Olympics, and the FIFA World Cup are sought by major cities around the world but often generate unforeseen environmental consequences.

  A study from Cardiff University in the United Kingdom found that the average attendee generates a footprint seven times greater than someone going about normal, everyday activity. While visitors’ travel saw the largest difference, food/water, infrastructure, and waste were additional elements contributing to a larger carbon footprint.

  Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the host for Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta, presents a “green” step for stadiums. Mercedes-Benz is the first professional sports stadium in the U.S. to achieve the LEED Platinum status, a rating system created by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) for sustainable buildings.

  With the capacity to hold over two million gallons of water onsite, the stadium uses 47 percent less water and contributes to reduced flooding in neighboring areas.

  Utilizing 82,500 square feet of LED lighting and 4,000 onsite solar panels, Mercedes-Benz Stadium reduces projected energy consumption by up to 60 percent, using a cleaner alternative.

  Specifically for the recent Super Bowl, fans were asked not to drive to the stadium, helping minimize carbon emissions associated with transportation.

  The environmentally friendly steps taken by Mercedes-Benz Stadium provide an example of strengthening the relationship between sports and the environment.