Super Bowl 2024: How Green Are NFL, Allegiant Stadium, 49ers, Chiefs?
More than 110 million people will watch the biggest event of the US sporting calendar this weekend, to see if the San Francisco 49ers or the Kansas City Chiefs lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
With the New York Times reporting that over 1000 private jets are expected at Las Vegas airport this weekend, how are those involved with Super Bowl LVIII taking environmental responsibility?
NFL: ‘Make progress together’
NFL Green Week events for Super Bowl LVIII began on January 20th with activities like tree planting, donating sports equipment and school supplies to local children, and a Salute to Service event.
NFL Green is the league’s environmental program, celebrating its 30 year anniversary this year. Speaking about these activities, NFL Green director Susan Groh advised, ‘We have implemented 14 community greening projects in the months leading up to Super Bowl LVIII. They have included habitat restoration, planting pollinator attracting gardens and tree planting. We work to leave a positive ‘green legacy’ in the communities that host our events and tailor our greening projects to the needs of each community. In Las Vegas, which is experiencing decades long drought and heavy impact from the urban heat island effect, trees have been the top request.’
One such event was NFL Green Obodo Urban Farm Planting in the historic Westside of Las Vegas, where fruit trees were planted as part of the Farm’s goals to increase access to fresh fruit and produce to the community.
When asked what the NFL were doing more broadly, Anna Isaacson, senior vice president for social responsibility told me, ‘The NFL engages around sustainability at all of our tentpole events. We have extensive greening initiatives at Super Bowl but also focus on sustainable operations and community greening at the NFL Draft, Pro Bowl and Kickoff. The league also engages with all 32 clubs on an ongoing basis to share best greening practices and learnings so that we can all make progress together.’ The NFL is also monitoring the diversion rates for other Super Bowl Week events and on gameday, with the goal to increase zero-waste events next year and eventually convert all activities to zero-waste.
There is growing pressure on sports leagues globally to use their influence to lead on more substantive and holistic approaches to environmental sustainability, from optimising game scheduling to reduce travel emissions, encouraging and incentivising lower carbon travel options for fans and supporting clubs to understand their environmental impact, increase action and engage with fans on this topic.
Allegiant Stadium is hosting this year, in its LEED Gold certified venue which is 100% powered by Nevada-sourced renewable energy. Waste is diverted from landfill and is repurposed, reused, or donated through 20 material streams. On average, 12,000 pounds of kitchen preparation cuttings and food scraps are collected per large stadium event, which is used as animal feed for a local livestock farm. Team members receive training, so guest interactions inspire fans and visitors to become eco-champions.
The finalists off the field performance
The Kansas City Chiefs launched their ‘Extra Yard for the Environment’ program focussing on recycling and waste diversion in 2013. They report between 50 and 60 percent waste diversion, with over 400 tons of waste going to either recycling or compost.
Arrowhead Stadium has solar arrays that generate about 29,000 kWh of electricity a year. An under-soil heating system enables the Chiefs to play in the winter and replaced 200 electric heaters. These and other energy saving efforts enables the team to save between $200,000-$400,000 a year.
Arrowhead Stadium is a 2026 FIFA World Cup venue and the Kansas City area is preparing for a windfall of federal funds that will benefit the area. Up to $200 million will be granted over five years for green transportation corridors, bike lanes and tree plantings.
For San Fransisco 49ers, Levi’s Stadium was designed to reduce energy demand and generate more electricity annually, via on-site photovoltaic (PV) systems, than is consumed during the 10 scheduled games each season. Electric vehicle charging, public transport access, bicycle parking and a walking trail help visitors access lower-carbon transport options.
A recycled water program accounts for 85% of all water at the stadium and is used for field irrigation, flushing toilets and cooling tower make- up water. In partnership with Farmscape, the stadium has the a rooftop farm, which supports 40 rotational crops that end up in food dishes served onsite.
Sports teams buy a lot of products and services, so ensuring sustainability through their supply chain is crucial. The 49ers have a sustainable purchasing program that enables purchased consumables, food and durable goods to be local, organic, recycled and compostable. The Niners website has a sustainability section outlining all their efforts. Their most recent initiative, ‘Faithful To The Planet’ launched in 2023. It aims to make a collective impact on sustainability and environmental projects through corporate partners.Read Full Article