Some upbeat Green-Sports news for a TGIF News and Notes column:
According to a new study from a leading global research firm, almost 70 percent of young sports fans support action on the environment.
E-Bike initiatives have been bubbling up in legislatures around the world as this understated yet important aspect of the clean transportation transition process amps up.
YOUNG SPORTS FANS DEMAND ACTION ON ENVIRONMENT
Almost 70 percent of global sports fans between 16 to 24 want environmental change and have higher expectations from brands, teams and athletes to support their values, according to research from London-based Global Web Index (GWI). That same percentage also want to see sport’s stakeholders do more to help their communities, improve inequality, and act sustainably.
The study also found that:
- Younger fans expect sports and politics to become increasingly interconnected in the future.
- Diversity and corporate social responsibility are crucial to winning new fans, with brand purpose and social responsibility considered ‘absolutely essential today’.
- Brands should invest more in women’s sports, with 60 percent of fans — including 50 percent of men — watching or following at least one of the 30 women’s sports leagues and competitions tracked in the study.
- While most fans feel that sports are a force for good, younger fans (15 percent of 16-24 year olds) are three times more likely than their older counterparts (5 percent of 55-64 year olds) to believe sports to be more divisive than uniting.
- The reliance on the generational passing down of following specific teams is petering out, as GenZ are using their own values and making their own choices in the teams they support, if they support a team at all.
These data points about younger sports fans were part of The Sports Playbook, GWI’s new sports study. It surveyed 9,763 sports fans aged 16 to 64 across 15 markets around the world.
GSB’s Take: GWI’s study provides some quantitative support for what many in the Green-Sports world, yours truly included, have intuited and opined for years — namely, that younger sports fans increasingly expect their teams to reflect their largely progressive values on the environment and other social issues. This research, which follows on an innovative social media-based December 2020 study from Recipric and Zoomph about sustainability-minded fans.
Since quantitative research on sports fans attitudes about environmental issues has been hard to find, these studies are a good thing.
But more is needed, specifically a quantitative, projectible study, focused solely on Green-Sports, ideally repeated annually or biannually, so we know more and intuit less.
ENERGY EFFICIENT E-BIKES GETTING IN GEAR
Asked about the best ways for humanity to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, most people might answer “renewable energy” or “electric vehicles” or “reducing meat intake”.
E-bikes would not likely make the cut.
But electronic two-wheelers can make a big GHG impact. And people and governments are beginning to take notice.
- In the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 1019 the Electric Bicycle Incentive Kickstart for the Environment (E-BIKE) Act was introduced in February. If passed and signed into law by President Biden, it would offer a refundable tax credit of up to 30 percent for e-bike purchases. Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-CA12) co-sponsored the bill, saying “E-bikes are not just a fad for a select few, they are a legitimate and practical form of transportation that can help reduce our carbon emissions [and the] legislation will make it easier for more people from all socio-economic levels to own e-bikes and contribute to cutting our carbon output.”
- In the California legislature, an E-Bike purchase incentive program is also under consideration. Assemblyman Boerner Horvath sponsored the bill and said “While we continue to invest in electrifying transportation, we can’t leave e-bikes out of the conversation … For folks living in multifamily apartments with garages that lack EV plug-ins, electric cars simply aren’t yet workable. With this rebate program in place, we’ll get more Californians out of their cars and cut emissions from thousands of daily trips, supercharging our state’s progress toward our 2030 climate goals.”
- Over in France, policymakers in the National Assembly may provide old car owners with grants of €2,500 ($2,975) to purchase E-Bikes, as well as transit cards, folding bikes, or car-club subscriptions. Olivier Schneider, president of the French Federation of Bicycle Users said “For the first time, it is recognized [by a national government] that the solution [to a cleaner planet] is not to make cars greener, but to reduce their number.”
GSB’s Take: I know what you’re thinking.
“Lew, E-Bikes aren’t really sport! They’re a new low-carbon alternative to driving. And ‘bikes’ sound sportsy. But this is not sports!”
You have a point. But I’m taking some GSB poetic license here because 1) I can!, and 2) E-Bikes can have a significant impact on GHG reductions. According to Project Drawdown, E-Bike travel can be expected to increase to up to 3.4 trillion kilometers per year by 2050, which could mean a 4.1 gigaton reduction in CO2 emissions, translating to $US1.87 trillion in savings.
There are challenges: In regions historically biased toward car and truck travel, drivers will need to adapt to the presence of E-bikes, and E-bike riders (E-cyclists?) will need to comply with traffic rules.
You can tell I’m an old cyclist (who uses all of the hand signals!) at heart.
Photo at top: GenZ sports fans increasingly demand environmental action (Photo credit: Barnes & Noble