Sky Sports launches climate communications and nudge campaign for fans

Image: Sky Sports

The broadcaster has forged a partnership with Count Us In, a global movement aimed at encouraging citizens to change their behaviours at scale to reduce their environmental impact, to deliver the communications campaign.

Behaviour changes that will be suggested include using public transport to get to and from events, choosing a vegan option for match-day food and drink and using reusables to help tackle the single-use plastics that often come with food and drinks at events. These suggestions are based on materiality assessments which concluded that they are the biggest ways in which fans can reduce the environmental impact of their event attendance.

At the same time, fans will be shown what their favourite sporting venues could look like in decades to come if efforts to reduce emissions and improve climate resilience are not accelerated. For example, cricketers have already spoken of drought and heatwaves “wreacking havoc” on plans for matches. There are also countless popular sporting venues in cities at risk of coastal or river flooding. Sky is urging fans to act “to make sure there’s always a place to play”.

Sports fans watching on TV or attending in-person will see Sky Sports’ communications at The Hundred; the British Grand Prix; The Open; Goodwood Festival of Speed and the Super League Magic Weekend. At each event, the broadcaster is working with partners such as host venues and competing individuals and teams to amplify the communications and to make the suggested behaviour changes accessible.

“Climate change is a pressing issue across the globe – however, it is often easy to assume the impact won’t be felt on a personal level,” said Sky Sports’ managing director Jonathan Licht. “We hope that Sky Sports can use its platform and work closely with its key partners to really influence and educate fans on the effects climate change is already having on sport, so they can feel inspired and motivated to take action and look after what they love.”

Count Us In claims that individuals – when acting in a coordinated way – can drive at least 25% of the emission reductions needed by 2050 to deliver net-zero. It states that individuals should focus on the most impactful actions, take them collectively, and communicate to let policymakers and businesses know they will be voting at the polls and voting with their wallets with climate as a key priority.

As for Sky, the broadcaster is aiming to become net-zero by 2030. Sky Sports has already certified Sky Sports News as carbon neutral and is trialling approaches to delivering net-zero-certified sporting events. The first certified football match took place last September, when Tottenham Hotspur faced Chelsea.

Fan behaviour

The announcement from Sky Sports comes shortly after YouGov published its Global Sports Fan report for 2022. That report revealed that more than half (53%) of global sports fans would consider themselves environmentalists, contrary to common perceptions from years past. This makes them just as environmentally-minded as society as a whole.

Regarding UK-based sports fans specifically, those surveyed collectively said climate change was one of the top-five public issued which they deem to be important. The other top-five issues were the EU and Brexit (top issue), immigration, the privatisation of the NHS and the broader state of healthcare.

Gen Z sports fans were found to be significantly more likely to select climate change or clean energy as their primary concern than any other age group.

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