Environmental Facts and Tips for Super Bowl Sunday

Image from superbowlflorida.blogspot.com

Image from superbowlflorida.blogspot.com

Last year an estimated 98.7 million Americans tuned in to the watch the big game on Super Bowl Sunday. That’s not including the 70,000+ people who actually attended the game. But do you have any idea of the costs, both monetary and environmental, of the Super Bowl? Well, let’s review some of those facts and figures as well as go over some environmental tips for your own personal game day activities.

If you attended Super Bowl I, you would have paid about $6 per ticket. Advertisers paid an estimated $42,000 for a 30-second ad spot. Today if you wanted to see Super Bowl XLIV, you’d pay anywhere between $1275 and $5650 per ticket.  Advertisers are paying an average $2.65 million for a 30-second ad spot…and that’s down from the last two years.

Some past advertisers including General Motors, FedEx and Pepsi, have opted out of this year’s advertising slots. However, despite complaints received by the Treasury Secretary, Chrysler plans on being the only U.S. auto-maker to run an ad during this year’s Super Bowl.

Take a look at this 1969 Super Bowl commercial from Chrysler:

Even though Pepsi is not having an ad during the Super Bowl, they are the official drink of the NFL and are debuting their new energy-efficient, HFC-free coolers at the Super Bowl, so I’m sure they will get plenty of promotion.

As far as the stadium and those in attendance for the big day….there are 20,000 parking spaces available e.g. a potential for 20,000 vehicles. The EPA estimates there is about 19.4 pounds of CO2 emitted for every gallon of gasoline burned. Even if each car only drove 20 miles to get there, that would still be over 7 million pounds or over 3500 tons of CO2 emissions. (NOTE: That doesn’t factor in trucks used to bring in food, supplies or any other CO2 emissions generated during game day preparations.)

When you factor in the trash generated on game day from left-over food containers, promotional flyers, etc you are talking even further environmental impact. Did you know at the 2004 Super Bowl, over 428 tons of trash was collected during the four-day event?

Luckily the the NFL has the “Super Bowl XLIV Environmental Program in place this year. Their program is designed to help lower the environmental impact of Super Bowl XLIV.

Solid Waste Management/Recycling: They intend to have recycling containers at all major event facilities where Super Bowl related activities will take place.

Prepared Food Recovery: Excess prepared food will be collected up and donated in coordination with Daily Bread Food Bank. Last year over 65,000 pounds of food was donated, due in part to activities like this and the annual “Taste of the NFL” event.

Materials Donation: After the Super Bowl, the NFL plans to donate as many supplies and materials as possible, so as not to waste them. This includes building materials, non-perishable foods and drinks, decorations, live plants, etc.

Sports Equipment/Book donation project: The “Super Kids-Super Sharing” project will be working to collect used sports equipment and books from local schools and school children for donation to other under-equipped schools and school children in South Florida.

Climate Change Initiative: Last but definitely not least, this initiative has a variety of facets, including using renewable-sourced energy to “power” the stadium and other facilities. Basically, the NFL has teamed up with NextEra Energy Resources who will supply Green e-certified Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to match electricity consumption during the Super Bowl and related events. They will also be decreasing transportation emissions from the Super Bowl fleet by using hybrid vehicles or alternative fuels. Providing sources for alternative fuels to all vendors and partners, including the broadcast media, for use in powering their on-site generators. Planting trees in coordination with the US Forest Service and local community groups to help offset carbon output, etc.

So, with the NFL doing their part to help lessen their environmental impact on Super Bowl Sunday, here are a few tips for you:

1) If you are driving to another location to watch the big game, car-pool with friends. If you are unable to do so, a proven fuel additive could help lower your emissions.

2) Use recyclable or bio-degradable plates, cups, etc. Try to recycle as much as you can.

3) Make your own game day treats, don’t have food delivered. Delivery means someone has to drive food to your home (emissions) and your food will probably come in non-recyclable containers inside a plastic bag. Be prepared and get your food ahead of time.

4) Don’t waste food. Most Super Bowl parties will have more food than people will eat, so package up what you don’t eat and save it for later.

If you really want to offset your Super Bowl Sunday and help the environment, you can always purchase a “Super Bowl Party Offset” from EarthEra. For $10, they say they will offset 1200 pounds of carbon dioxide. And 100% of their revenues from EarthEra product purchases apparently go to build more solar and wind energy project in the U.S.

What are your plans for Super Bowl Sunday? Do you have any tips you use to help lower your environmental impact on game day? Hope you have a great weekend…and don’t forget to get outside a little bit (before or after the game).


  • Stephanie

    When I think of the Super Bowl, what comes to mind first and foremost is waste. Tons of money spent on tons of food, advertising, etc. and lots of garbage generated…. No, I’m not a football fan (LOL), but glad to see your article on how to minimize just a fraction of the excess.

  • Dr Hodello

    Good lord look at all that parking. The NFL needs to think a little about all that asphalt before they start calling themselves “green”.

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