Playing Our Part: The Bigger Play Around Super Bowl 50

By Robin Raj
Founder and executive creative director of Citizen Group

So the circus has officially hit town, and we Bay Area residents are now bracing ourselves for the excitement, onslaught and hoopla surrounding the biggest of big games. And while some are quick to dismiss the Super Bowl as nothing but moneyball writ large, or fear a looming ‘Bowl-agedeon,’ this year there’s another story playing out that may not get the media attention it deserves.

That’s because the SF Bay Area Super Bowl 50 Host Committee has publicly committed to make this the first ‘net positive Super Bowl’ — a commitment to do more good than harm for Bay Area communities, socially, environmentally and economically. In other words, they are aiming to use the immense power of the world’s single largest one-day sports event as a platform to do good – and they should be acknowledged and applauded for it.

It began with the Host Committee’s commitment more than a year ago to set aside 25 percent of all corporate sponsorship dollars raised around Super Bowl 50 to benefit local communities and our environment. A unique goal, to be sure. It followed with creation of The 50 Fund, a grant-making program that’s on track to deliver some $6 million dollars to more than 130 local non-profits. And it will come to life in these last days by inspiring local fans to play their part by reducing their collective impacts.

Read the full article here.

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Green Sports Alliance President Says Super Bowl 50 Greening Effort is Unmatched

By Lew Blaustein
Writing At The Intersection of Green & Sports

Dr. Allen Hershkowitz is, without doubt, one of the Founding Fathers of the sports greening movement. From his initial efforts in the mid-2000s leading the Philadelphia Eagles’ early greening initiatives while working for the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC), to being one of the founders of the Green Sports Alliance in 2010, to his current role as Alliance President, Allen has seen it all. And he says he that Super Bowl 50 is as ambitious as any mega-event he has ever seen when it comes to sustainability.


Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara and site of Sunday’s Super Bowl 50 is, per Allen Hershkowitz, one of the “most environmentally intelligent sports venues in the world.”

Allen Hershkowitz has closely followed the work of the Bay Area Super Bowl 50 Host Committee (SB50 HC) and its Sustainability Director, Neill Duffy, and is not surprised at the breadth of the sustainability program of America’s biggest sporting event. “I know Neill well,” offered Hershkowitz, “and he was deeply involved with the sustainability effort of the 2012 London Olympics, which, up ’til now, was the gold standard of sustainable mega-sports events. I knew Super Bowl 50 was in good hands, sustainability-wise, when I heard Neill was on board.”

T0 date, the traditional (and very important) sustainability approach taken by most mega-sports events (i.e. Olympics, World Cup, Super Bowl) has been to measure carbon emissions and waste and do what was possible, technologically and cost-wise, to limit both. But that wasn’t enough–at least not the way Duffy and Hershkowitz view sustainability.

The SB50 HC is taking a much broader view of the term sustainability. Hershkowitz: “It’s not just carbon, it’s not just waste, it’s not just the environment–those are, of course, critical–but it’s also about using Super Bowl 50 to do good socially and economically for the Bay Area. That is what Net Positive (Super Bowl 50 as a platform to do good – socially, environmentally and economically – for the benefit of the entire Bay Area) is about. And it’s brilliant.”

Read the full article here.

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The Green Sports Alliance Takes Sustainability on the Road with ESPN’s College GameDay Built by The Home Depot

Erik Distler-headshot



Erik Distler
Senior Resource Specialist | Green Sports Alliance


In September 2015, the Green Sports Alliance and ESPN launched an exciting collaboration focused on ensuring ESPN’s proprietary events maintain and evolve a legacy of environmental stewardship. First up was tackling sustainability at the ever-popular, weekly college football tradition, College GameDay.

Official ESPN Logo Color Positive Logo

Over the course of the past season, bright and early on the show’s college campus set, along with passionate college football fans and students, sustainability was in action. The Green Sports Alliance traveled with College GameDay throughout the season to help ensure commitments around minimizing the show’s environmental impact were met, and to educate and inspire action through engaging university students, faculty and staff, as well as fans.

Key aspects of this work included: organizing a waste management program focused on landfill diversion through compost and recycling streams; meeting with university leaders and touring campus sustainability highlights to collect best practices and case examples from the season; enlisting student volunteers and sustainability groups to assist in waste diversion; and educating students and fans on broad sports sustainability efforts, and of course specifically at ESPN.

The Green Sports Alliance conducted this work by leaning on its experience, expertise and network within the sports industry, which extends through members from more than 330 sports teams and venues from 20 different sports leagues and 14 countries. The collaboration with ESPN also aligns with the organization’s mission and purpose focused on inspiring the sports industry and its stakeholders to embrace sustainability practices by leveraging the cultural and market influence of sports.

College GameDay has a cemented legacy on Saturday mornings in the fall. The Green Sports Alliance was proud to collaborate with ESPN to attach to this legacy sustainability where, regardless of the game’s final score, everyone wins!

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