Special Series

The Sustainable Sports Agenda, Post-COVID


The sports world has begun to reopen, albeit in empty stadiums for now. Germany’s top soccer league, the Bundesliga, returned to the pitch on May 16 (see Bayern in red vs. Eintracht Frankfurt above¹) and England’s Premier League will resume play on June 17. When Major League Baseball will return is anybody’s guess.

Meanwhile sports executives, especially facilities managers, are working to deal with a myriad of challenges as they prepare for the day when authorities give the green light for fans to go to back to the stadium. Making their venues as COVID-19-free as is humanly possible so fans will feel safe is easier said than done.

As detailed in the May 28 issue of The Sustainability Report, the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) is developing “the WELL Health-Safety Rating for Facility Operations and Management to help the venues tackle the complexity around Covid-19 head on.”

And starting today, continuing tomorrow and for the following two Tuesdays, GreenSportsBlog is happy to offer a guest slot to the Sustainable Sport Research Collective and their “Sustainable Sports Agenda, Opportunities for the World to #BuildBackBetter” series.

GSB was most interested in the Collective’s focus on ensuring that #BuildBackBetter not only means safer but also greener wherever possible.

With that as backdrop, please enjoy “The Sustainable Sports Agenda: Opportunities for the Sports World to #BuildBackBetter”


Sustainable Sports Agenda (1) (1)



Over the next four weeks, the Sustainable Sport Research Collective will present opportunities to integrate operational environmental sustainability into the reopening of stadiums and venues to fans. The team has identified three components of operations that may suffer environmental implications and have detailed opportunities to mitigate those risks, while addressing the critical need to safely reopen.

The first of these dialogues will be held tomorrow, Tuesday June 2nd, at 4 PM EDT. Please register here to participate in this informal discussion, aimed to share feedback, discuss constructive thoughts, and set objectives to #BuildBackBetter


Environmental Strategies for Gameday Logistics to #BuildBackBetter

Gameday begins at home – often several days ahead of teams taking the field – as fans coordinate their transportation methods and departure times, meeting points and pre-game rituals. Once fans arrive on-site, they may also visit the ticketing counter, at entry/exit and security points. COVID-19 now presents new challenges that require adaptation to the ‘normal’ venue operations at each of these points. In this major rehaul of a normal fan experience, there are many innovative opportunities to integrate more efficient, sustainable solutions and #BuildBackBetter on Gameday.

Document Release: Tuesday, June 2

Discussion: Tuesday, June 9

Registration Link


Opportunities in the Back of House to #BuildBackBetter

Though not often visible to spectators, back of house operations are the brain and muscle of the gameday experience. The carefully curated experience requires essential staff to execute the policies and plans, management to oversee operations, and coordinated logistics to ensure that each moment is seamless. As these teams plan for a safe return for fans, players, and their own teams, there are many opportunities to make progress on environmental sustainability policies that had begun to roll-out pre-COVID. We discuss opportunities to integrate progress in sustainability in concessions, waste diversion measures, and safe custodial services, to support us to #BuildBackBetter

Document Release: Tuesday, June 9

Discussion: Tuesday, June 16

Registration Link


New Communications and Partnerships Opportunities as Fans Return to #BuildBackBetter

Changes in our feelings and expectations of attending live events will introduce unfamiliarity where we have always taken comfort in familiarity. Fans will arrive at the gates with a heightened  attention to signage and communication – can our messaging around sustainability be more engaging and capture a more receptive audience? Venue operations changes and fans’ lifestyle shifts will also open new partnership doors and expanded partner activation opportunities. How do we work with existing partners’ to step into a newly sensitized environment? In this closing segment of our work and discussions, we’ll explore the positive fan experience potential in emerging from the long offseason together.

Document Release: Tuesday, June 16

Discussion: Tuesday, June 23

Registration Link


Sustainable Sport Research Collective is a collaboration among four established sustainability professionals exclusively focused on the sports industry. Per the Collective, “With strong knowledge of venue operations, environmental sustainability, social responsibility and fan experience and engagement, the group recognized the need for insights into fans’ primary concerns, and latent trepidation, in returning to large public gathering spaces. As advisors and practitioners working regularly with sports league and team executives, we’ve established a robust survey method, including a novel virtual focus group, representative of the broad demographics of sports fans.”

Sustainable Sport Research Collective Members²: 


¹ Photo credit: Andreas Gebert, Pool via AP
² Kristen Fulmer serves as Strategic Advisor of EcoAthletes, a new nonprofit founded in April by Lew Blaustein of GreenSportsBlog. Madeleine Orr is on the EcoAthletes advisory board.




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