Greening the Game: Understanding the Organizational and Geographic Factors Influencing Environmental Commitment Among Professional Sports Teams
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North American professional sports teams have substantial economic and social leverage due to their sizeable revenue streams and captive audiences. However, these professional sports teams also have the potential to influence environmental behaviours through their environmental commitments. Fan engagement with green initiatives is largely possible because of the high degree of interest and fan loyalty that exists in Big Four sports. Professional sports teams are motivated to adopt environmental practices for various reasons. Eco-friendly actions can have monetary and strategic advantages for professional sports teams that justify the time, money and effort required to implement sustainable practices. The formation of the Green Sports Alliance in 2010 has led to a growing number of teams integrating sustainability into daily operations. Membership in the Green Sports Alliance is highly uneven, from entire leagues joining to only some team participation in other leagues. This suggests that environmental commitment among Big Four sports teams in North America varies by team. There is an opportunity to further explain why certain teams engage with the natural environment while others engage to a lesser degree. This study identifies the factors that influence environmental action amongst teams across the ‘Big Four’ professional sports teams: Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA), National Football League (NFL) and the National Hockey League (NHL). The study considers both organizational (peer) and geographic (place) factors that may influence the level of environmental commitment amongst professional sports teams. This includes further analysis of: external influences, venue features, team characteristics, urban sustainability commitments, and metropolitan socioeconomic conditions. Recent studies suggest that teams actively communicate environmental initiatives via the Internet. Therefore, this study evaluates professional sports teams’ environmental commitment on online platforms through qualitative content analyses of both official team websites and verified team Twitter accounts. It is assumed that all teams have similar capacity to communicate their environmental commitments and that their declarations are both complete and accurate. Using descriptive statistics, one-way ANOVA tests, bivariate (Pearson) correlations and multivariate regressions, the research finds that Green Sports Alliance membership, teams with greater average attendance, a smaller metropolitan area population, and host city with a climate action plan positively influence North American Big Four professional sports teams’ commitment to the environment.
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Zachary Hupman (2018). Greening the Game: Understanding the Organizational and Geographic Factors Influencing Environmental Commitment Among Professional Sports Teams. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/13208