Sponsor Insights

Sponsors Spotlight Sustainability with Innovative Environmental Activations

As Earth Day approaches on April 22nd, environmentally conscious individuals worldwide are continuing to raise awareness. It is worth examining how brands are taking action in the area of sustainability, which is gaining more attention as environmental responsibility becomes increasingly urgent.

More than 480 brands and over 330 properties have an Environmental Cause asset, with Construction & Industrial, Nonprofits, Charities & Associations, Utilities, Apparel & Accessories, and Auto topping the list of most active categories. Coca-Cola, adidas, Anheuser-Busch, Waste Management, Budweiser, and Ball Corporation lead the growing roster of brands (in that order) investing most in these assets. 

Coca-Cola has an Environmental Cause asset with more than 12 properties, and activates these sponsorships with branded recycling bins in stadiums including the American Airlines Center in Dallas and Citizens Bank Park, home of the Philadelphia Phillies. In Spain, the beverage giant launched its #TogetherForRecycling campaign last September with Sevilla’s two biggest soccer rivals, Real Betis and Sevilla FC, partnering for the Nocturnal Race of Sevilla to promote environmental protection.

adidas partners with 11 properties in this type of asset. As part of the extension of its partnership with Arsenal FC to provide the team with playing and training kits, announced last September, the brand will also support Arsenal’s sustainability strategy by aiming to replace virgin polyester with recycled polyester in adidas products by 2024.

Anheuser-Busch collaborates with the New York Giants, New York Jets, Texas Rangers, Washington Nationals, Arizona Diamondbacks, Philadelphia Eagles, San Diego Padres, New England Patriots, and MLB on a range of environmental initiatives, including: 

  • “Break a Bat, Plant a Tree” with the Arizona Diamondbacks: Every time a Diamondbacks pitcher breaks a bat, Budweiser and the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation makes a contribution to provide trees to the local community.
  • Recycle for a chance to win prizes with the Washington Nationals: Fans return their empty cans and bottles to one of A-B’s reverse vending machines to score a chance to win tickets to a future Nationals game. 

Environmental Cause assets engaged 3.4M users across all social media with 120 unique posts in the last 12 months. The most engaged post–on Instagram by football platform zujuGP and Cristiano Ronaldo, the world’s most followed person across all social media–racked up total engagement of 3M.

Earlier this week, Inter Miami CF launched the club’s adidas One Planet jersey with a striking photo of a woman wearing the shirt underwater alongside a hammerhead shark, to promote the positive impact of responsible plastic use on the world’s oceans. The team will wear the limited edition jersey on April 22nd in its matchup against the Houston Dynamo to celebrate Earth Day.

Pro sports venues are also expanding their focus on sustainability. Austin FC prioritized public transit accessibility when selecting the site for the team’s Q2 Stadium, and the city is using a $460M mobility bond to build a new train station adjacent to the property. The $25M McKalla Station will open ahead of the 2024 MLS season and is expected to increase the percentage of fans–currently just 8%–who take public transit to games. Meanwhile, the developers of the New York Islanders’ UBS Arena invested in a new $105M Long Island Rail Road stop–the first in almost 50 years and unveiled last October–to make both the venue and a nearby shopping district more accessible. 

Environmental Causes

Over 280 brands across all properties in the last 12 months have signed partnerships with the goal of supporting environmental causes. Not surprisingly, the Construction & Industrial and Utilities categories are the top two supporting this cause respectively. 

Which other brands support the cause and how are they doing so?

adidas leads the way with over 15 deals supporting Environmental Causes while Coca-Cola has the second most deals with a total over ten deals. Coke has partnered with properties in more than five different leagues supporting this initiative. Within these partnerships, Coca-Cola can be seen on the video board or concourse throughout the stadiums urging fans to recycle. 

Waste Management, the top brand in the Construction & Industrial category, has over five deals within the NHL & MLB. A partner of the Montreal Canadiens, Waste Management sponsors the “Goal is Green” campaign for the team. The brands’s green initiatives are within four main areas: biodegradation, composting & recycling, energy saving, and transportation.

A few other brands have had notable sustainability partnerships. Constellation Energy & the Chicago Blackhawks teamed up to give the first 10,000 fans in attendance to a game a reusable metal straw. Maple Leaf Foods partnered with the Toronto Raptors for every Raptors block on the court, the team and Maple Leaf Foods will plant 50 trees.