News and Notes

Adam Silver’s Lesson for Green-Sports, Sport Positive Summit Twitter Chat for Green-Sports Practitioners


The deadly global COVID-19 pandemic is well on its way to shutting down much of the world economy as well our social fabric. Sports, with rare exceptions, is on a global hiatus.

GSB believes, despite the understandable and advisable wall-to-wall coverage surrounding COVID-19, we must keep the existential threat of climate change — and sports role in addressing it — on our collective radar screens. 

With that in mind, GSB will be publishing relevant Coronavirus-Green-Sports news and notes items from time to time. 



The NBA’s Adam Silver is, arguably, the most forward-thinking commissioner of the five men’s North American pro sports leagues¹.

In a wide-ranging interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols Wednesday night on the league’s potential responses to the coronavirus pandemic, Silver’s answer to a question about when and how the season might restart stood out as an important lesson for Green-Sports organizations and practitioners.

“The first step isn’t games with thousands of people in the arenas, but maybe it is just games,” Silver told Nichols. “Something I’ve always said is 99 percent of people consume our game through some sort of media platform. It’s only a tiny percentage of fans who get to see our games in arenas.” (ITALS my emphasis)


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Adam Silver (Photo credit: Lisa O'Connor/Getty Images)


The Green-Sports movement has, from its beginnings in the early-to-mid 2000s, focused mainly on greening the games at arenas and stadiums. This made perfect sense back then: Making advances on recycling, composting, LED lighting, and more should have been Green-Sports 1.0. Sports venues are highly visible. Greening upgrades often make business sense, with attractive returns on investment (ROI).

But, per Silver, only one percent of NBA fans go to games. That means 99 percent of NBA fans are likely unaware of the greening actions taken by their favorite teams.

And yet, the focus of much of the Green-Sports world continues to be at the stadium, at the arena.

Given the urgent nature of the climate crisis — in “climate time”, humanity’s need to decarbonize by 45 percent by 2030 is of similar urgency to our need to dramatically ramp up coronavirus testing, ventilator deployment, and more — the movement must pivot hard to Green-Sports 2.0: Engaging fans — especially those who don’t go to games — on climate change specifically.


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If the Green-Sports movement is serious about making a real difference on climate change, teams, leagues and the media that cover them need to reach the vast majority of fans who consume sports away from stadiums and arenas (Photo credit: Home Depot)


This painful sports hiatus provides the movement with the opportunity to develop a Green-Sports 2.0, climate-centric road map that would engage teams, leagues and sports media. Will the players seize the moment?

Watch this space.



Claire Poole, founder of London-based Sport Positive Summit, is convening a weekly Twitter chat to keep Green-Sports practitioners connected and moving forward during the COVID-19 crisis. The first chat is set for Tuesday from 4-5 PM UTC/noon-1 PM EDT.

Per Poole, it’s easy to take part by following these key steps:

  1. Make sure you are following @SportPosSummit and #SportPositive (set up a column if you use TweetDeck, or a tab if you use Hootsuite, that makes it super easy to follow)
  2. At 4pm UTC/noon EDT open up your social feed and get ready to add your thoughts into the discussion
  3. Sport Positive Summit will outline a theme for the week, and some key questions – marked Q1, Q2, Q3 etc, and then folks either reply to that tweet or tweet they answers A1, A2, A3.
  4. It’s crucial that everyone remembers to add #SportPositive hashtag to all tweets, so that content can be searched, and nothing is lost
  5. The key themes that come out of the discussion are put into a document, hosted on the Sport Positive website and are available for all so that perspectives are not lost. Although the chat is not conducted under Chatham House Rules, key thoughts won’t be attributed to people within this document.


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Claire Poole (Photo credit: Sport Positive Summit)


Poole, who certainly injects the “positive” into Sport Positive Summit, projects that the “we will have a great community discussion for an hour, and put the world to rights!”

Click here for more information on the Sport Positive Summit Twitter chat.

And please stay safe this weekend.


¹ The other men’s pro sports league commissioners are Gary Bettman (NHL), Don Garber (MLS), Roger Goodell (NFL) and Rob Manfred (MLB)



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