While the Atlanta Falcons prepare to meet the New England Patriots this weekend in Houston for Super Bowl LI, the lights will soon go out forever at the team’s home since 1992, the Georgia Dome.
Beginning with the 2017-2018 season, the Falcons will have a new “home”— the under-construction Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The $1.5 billion venue will feature both state-of-the-art technology and environmentally-friendly features, keeping with some of the latest trends in stadium construction and “go green” initiatives.
Those trends—specifically in the NFL—started 10-20 years ago with the Philadelphia Eagles, according to Scott Jenkins, general manager of Mercedes-Benz Stadium and president and chairman of the Green Sports Alliance.
“It was the first comprehensive sports sustainability program of a professional team,” said Jenkins, who helped open the Eagles’ Lincoln Financial Field, and more recently worked as vice president of ballpark operations with the Seattle Mariners.
To date, nearly 400 sports teams—including most NFL teams, all NHL and MLB teams—and venues from 14 countries have joined the Green Sports Alliance, whose mission is to leverage “the cultural and market influence of sports to promote healthy, sustainable communities.”
“I think [sustainability] is going to continue to grow and become more of the norm, rather than the exception—and I think that’s already the case,” said Jenkins. “But when sports tries to tell that story, I think the cultural influence of sports can have a dramatic impact.”
Jenkins added that in addition to the enviro-friendly initiatives of individual teams, the league itself has continued to push environmentally-friendly programs. In the weeks leading up to Sunday’s Big Game, the NFL has dedicated various events to address the “impact of energy, waste and food.”