Super Bowl 50, which will take place on Feb 7, 2016 at the new Levi’s® Stadium in Santa Clara, CA, will be unique for at least two reasons: 1. It will be the only Super Bowl to date without the Roman Numeral designation, and 2. It aims to be, by far and away, the greenest Super Bowl ever. GSB spoke to Keith Bruce, CEO of the San Francisco Bay Area Super Bowl 50 Host Committee about point #2.
GreenSportsBlog: Levi’s® Stadium is LEED Gold Certified; the last several Super Bowls have been carbon neutral. So the bar is set high already. What is the Host Committee planning, sustainability-wise?
Keith Bruce: The Host Committee, working with the NFL and the 49ers, are going to continue the work of past Super Bowls by offsetting the carbon associated with the game and instituting a comprehensive reuse/recycle program. For Super Bowl 50, we’ve made sustainability a foundational element; it is incorporated into our day-to-day management and the decisions we make. We’re committed to being a “Net Positive” Super Bowl–which means we’re not just focusing on environmental impacts, but also social and economic.
Keith Bruce, CEO of the San Francisco Bay Area Super Bowl 50 Host Committee. (Photo credit: Super Bowl 50 Host Committee)
GSB: Going “Net Positive ” is certainly an aggressive approach. This is not surprising, given the relative greenness of the Bay Area. How do you plan to go about getting there?
KB: Well, we saw sustainability as a competitive advantage from Day 1, when we went through the bid process to host the game. So we hired Neill Duffy, a respected sustainability consultant, and challenged him to embed sustainability into the core values of Super Bowl 50. He has the mandate to take a fresh look at Super Bowl sustainability and to change practices. And we will engage with sponsors focused specifically on sustainability as part of our corporate partnership model – a first for the Super Bowl. Discussions are ongoing with several corporations.
GSB: What are the most important sustainability goals that the Host Committee is striving to achieve?
KB: We are working on 4 main goals: #1 is to Reduce The Impact on Climate Change, in tune with the Bay Area’s expectations and in line with those of the NFL. For instance, we are looking to utilize renewables to power our Fan Village. On transportation, we plan to use Alternate Fuel and Electric vehicles. #2 is to Use Materials & Resources Wisely. We are especially concerned with water usage, given the massive, multi-year drought we’re experiencing in California, and will use every tool at our disposal to maximize water efficiency. As far as facilities are concerned, the Committee will rely on both existing structures like the Moscone Center in San Francisco for the NFL Experience, and pop-up spaces that will be energy efficient in both construction and operation. #3 is Inspiring Fans To Change Behavior by Embracing Sustainability Personally. This is the Holy Grail for us.
GSB: And for GreenSportsBlog as well!
KB: That’s right–if you get fans at the event and millions more watching and listening around the world to personally embrace sustainability–then you’ve made a difference.
GSB: How will the Host Committee go about engaging fans?
KB: By dramatically increasing the visibility of how fans can change behavior. There will be consistent and comprehensive messaging and programs that go beyond waste bins and, how they get to and from the game.
GSB: You mentioned the Committee has 4 main goals; you’ve taken us through 1-3. What’s #4?
KB: #4 is to Leave a Positive Lasting Social Legacy. Super Bowl 50 aims to be the most giving ever–25% from all moneys raised by the Host Committee surrounding Super Bowl 50 will go to our Legacy Grant Fund. Funds will be granted to high-performing non-profits in the Bay Area, including environmental non-profits.
GSB: These goals sound like they really will break new ground in terms of sustainability and the Super Bowl. I wonder, though, if the broader public will be at all aware of what’s being done. Will CBS, the network that will air Super Bowl 50, mention the Committee’s sustainability efforts during the 6 hour long Pre Game show? Because to get to the Holy Grail of the fan, the sustainability message has to get out via media.
KB: The Host Committee, along with the NFL and the 49ers will talk with our media partners about how to tell our sustainability story. We certainly hope it to be covered widely.
GSB: Having Jim Nantz introduce a segment about the Greening of Super Bowl 50 would be a huge win indeed!
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