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Sustainability communication in North American pro sport leagues (2010)

This study examined the websites of 126 professional sport teams in the United States (33 from NFL, 31 from each of NHL, NBA and MLB) to understand how sport organizations communicate their triple-bottom-line initiatives and sustainability practices.

The content of each website was individually analyzed for evidence of- or reference to- sustainability efforts along 12 categories: energy use, water usage, pollution/emissions, waste, building/grounds, compliance/accountability, philanthropy, community involvement, children, employment and labor practices, vendor/supplier relationships, and transportation.

96% of the websites' home pages communicate social sustainability principles, 33% communicate environmental sustainability, and none communicate economic sustainability.

The MLB led the other leagues in communicating environmental sustainability: 97% of their teams' sites communicate environmental sustainability compared to only 32% of NBA teams, 6% of NHL teams, and 0% of NFL teams. The NFL leads in communication about employment and labor practices (12%). MLB leads in vendor/supplier relationships (16%), and the NHL and NBA lead in communication about transportation issues (16%).

50% of websites included in the study communicate environmental sustainability somewhere on the site.

The most commonly reported categories across all four leagues were philanthropy (97%), community involvement (99%) and children's issues (99%).

CITE: Ciletti, D., Lanasa, J., Ramos, D., Luchs, R., & Junying, L. (2010). Sustainability communication in North American professional sports leagues: Insights from web-site self-presentations. International Journal of Sport Communication, 3(1), 64–91.


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