Due to the smaller size of the screen on a smartphone, tablet or laptop, connected to broadband, emissions are far lower than the ever increasing size of TV’s.

The research carried out by the Carbon Trust shows that due to advances in technology, more fans are choosing to follow their team live on these devices.

In the UK 27% of smartphone owners, and 63% of tablet owners, are now using their device to watch live TV.

Because of this, both Sky and BT are offering apps that allow football to be watched on personal devices for the upcoming season.

However, the research also reveals that when it comes to impact on the climate, streaming on a personal device can be the highest carbon way to watch the broadcast of a game.

If mobile data is used then this increases the carbon bootprint of watching the game by at least ten times compared to a broadband connection.

The Carbon Trust says that mobile data transmission can be very energy intensive – watching a whole game could have the same associated emissions as driving ten miles in an average petrol car.

To reduce emissions further, the research finds that sharing a television screen with multiple people, either at home or in the pub, remains the lowest carbon way to watch football per viewer.

At the other end of the scale, going to see a game live at the stadium is the most carbon intensive way of watching football – particularly for an away game – due to the impact of transport.

Working with the FA, the Carbon Trust will calculate the carbon bootprint of The FA Community Shield game between Manchester United and Wigan taking place on Sunday August 11.

It estimates this to be approximately 5,160 tonnes of carbon dioxide, with 5,000 tonnes of that amount coming from fan travel.

Calling on fans to take action and help reduce the bootprint of football, ex England and Manchester United defender, Gary Neville, said: “When it comes to cutting your own carbon bootprint, it is all about understanding your impact and making sensible choices to reduce it.

“The best thing fans can do is share the experience of watching a match, either by watching the game with each other, or travelling together to the stadium,” adds Neville.

Also calling on fans to be more aware of their environmental impact, Wembley National Stadium’s managing director, Roger Maslin, said: “We are continuing to find new ways to reduce our environmental impacts. Only a small part of the total carbon emissions associated with a game at Wembley are in our direct control, so we are calling on fans to do their bit and help to shrink the carbon bootprint of watching football.”

Leigh Stringer

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