GSB News & Notes: Sky Sports First Sports Net to Sign Climate Action Framework; Arc-GSA Ready to Play Initiative To Help Venues Get Post-COVID-Ready

GSB News & Notes: Sky Sports First Sports Net to Sign Climate Action Framework; Arc-GSA Ready to Play Initiative To Help Venues Get Post-COVID-Ready
July 13, 2020
Posted by:
Kristin Hanczor

By: GreenSportsBlog

In today’s GSB News & Notes…

Sky Sports became the first sports network to sign on to the Sport For Climate Action Framework. By becoming the 140th signatory, the British broadcaster commits to, among other things, reduce its overall climate impact and advocate for climate action through communication.

The Green Sports Alliance and Arc have combined to develop Ready to Play, an initiative to accelerate re-entry: As sports begin to resume play in North America, players, staff and eventually spectators will need to feel secure about their safety. We dig in to the GSA/Arc effort, one of several programs that are designed to help sports #BuildBackBetter.

SKY SPORTS SIGNS ON TO UN’S SPORT FOR CLIMATE ACTION FRAMEWORK, FIRST BROADCAST COMPANY TO DO SOThe New York Yankees, Formula 1 and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), are among a global mix of sports teams, organizations and governing bodies around the world to sign the UN’s Sport for Climate Action Framework. Sky Sports, the British sports broadcaster, just become first media organization to sign on.

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All 140 signatories commit to adhere to the Framework’s five principles:

  1. Undertake systematic efforts to promote greater environmental responsibility
  2. Reduce overall climate impact
  3. Educate for climate action
  4. Promote sustainable and responsible consumption
  5. Advocate for climate action through communication

Sky Sports also confirms it will also take part in the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Sports Consortium, a who’s who of the UK’s sports broadcasters¹ set up to specifically explore and act upon the industry’s impact on the environment, particularly energy use and travel.They will also share better practices on steps which have already been taken —such as the on-site power sharing agreement between Premier League Productions, Sky Sports and BT Sport that resulted in a carbon saving of around 50 tons over six months.“At Sky, we’ve set the ambition to be net-zero carbon by 2030, two decades ahead of government legislation, because the world can’t wait,” Steve Smith, executive director of content at Sky Sports said in a statement. “The BAFTA Sports Consortium gives sports broadcasters a forum to work together collectively and share best practices that will help us #GoZero together.”

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Steve Smith of Sky Sports (Leaders In Sports)

Earlier this year, Sky pledged to go net zero carbon by 2030 to fight climate change and Sky Sports won the One Planet Award for Sustainability in Sports TV at the SVG Europe awards.GSB’s Take: Sky Sports’ announcement that they have become the first sports network to sign on to the UNFCC’s Sports for Climate Action is a big deal.It has the potential to be an even bigger deal than last month’s news that the home of the WNBA’s Seattle Storm and the NHL Seattle expansion team will be Climate Pledge Arena. And THAT was a very big deal.For that potential to be reached, Sky Sports will need to make good on its commitments to the Framework’s five principles. Two are particularly important: #3 — Educate for climate action, and #5 — Advocate for climate action through communication. Sky Sports is well positioned to deliver on both because it has massive amounts of air time. Imagine the impact if they run climate-themed Public Service Announcements during every English Premier League match that they broadcast — now, THAT would be a game changer.Watch this space.GREEN SPORTS ALLIANCE & ARC TEAM UP TO HELP SPORTS VENUES BE “READY TO PLAY” WHEN FANS ARE READY TO ENTEREven as the coronavirus pandemic stubbornly continues to exact a heavy toll across much of the United States these days, sports industry venue operators are planning for the day — whenever that may be — when fans can safely come through the turnstiles again.A variety of organizations and thought leaders are also working apace to provide venue operators with useable tools to help them open as safely as possible.

  • The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) is, through the work of an advisory council of facilities experts, academics and sustainable sports leaders, developing the WELL Health-Safety Rating for Facility Operations and Management scorecard. Venues will be able to see how they fare on a wide range of health and safety metrics versus standards set by the council. Stadiums and arenas that exceed the standards will earn WELL certification.
  • Last month, GreenSportsBlog ran “Sustainable Sports Agenda, Opportunities for the World to #BuildBackBetter,” a four-part series of reports from the new Sustainable Sport Research Collective², a quartet of Green-Sports leaders. From transportation to concessions to communications, the Collective emphasized that #BuildBackBetter should means greener as well as safer.

Now, the Green Sports Alliance is partnering with Arc, an affiliate of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), to launch the Ready to Play initiative and toolkit to accelerate re-entry and propel the industry toward greater sustained wellness.The free-to-use Ready to Play tool, released to the sports industry a month ago, consolidates expert guidance from global health and safety authorities such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to empower venue operators and facilities managers to align with verified standards.Ready to Play is powered by over 80 independent health and wellness variables that exist within three critical impact categories: Facility Management, Occupant Experience, and Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). The goal is a free, simplified re-entry assessment that enables a venue to compare where it is on those metrics versus industry-specific benchmarks.“The mission of Arc is to make building and venue performance data accessible, inclusive, and insightful for all, and we have carried these values over into our COVID-19 re-entry tool,” said Chris Pyke, Senior Vice President of Product at Arc. “The intention is for Ready to Play to help venues reopen quickly and safely, allowing us to then focus on long-term human and environmental health performance for fans, athletes, personnel, and our communities.”

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Chris Pyke (Photo credit: Arc)

“The Ready to Play tool provides facilities managers with a gap analysis of sorts,” shared Brett Blumberg, director of sustainable events and analytics for the Green Sports Alliance. “It’s an open-source way for venues to compare what they are doing with what they should or could do. The tool will be iterative, in that it will use the aggregated data collected from venues to learn and react to industry needs. In other words, the product will shift as best practices shift, and crucial to that process will be widespread use and collaboration.”

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Brett Blumberg (Photo credit: Green Sports Alliance)

Green Sports Alliance members will also receive a free “Playbook” series outlining tips and case studies from effective implementation strategies, educational webinars on how best to approach re-entry and utilize the toolkit, industry re-entry status reports, and discounts on premium analytical evaluations available in the Arc platform.While Ready to Play will allow venues to track re-entry progress with complete data confidentiality, it has also been designed to potentially integrate into forthcoming third-party verified safety certifications, such as the aforementioned WELL Health-Safety Rating for Facility Operations and Management. The extent of that integration will be determined once the WELL certification has been published and analyzed.GSB’s Take: I know, I know.You’re confused.The WELL Health-Safety Rating and certification, Ready to Play from Arc and the GSA, and the Collective’s #BuildBackBetter reports, all sound very similar.We’re here to allay the confusion, so here goes:1. Ready to Play is free and is ready to use right now. Anyone who’s interested can go to the website and use the tool. There is no certification through Ready to Play.2. The WELL Health-Safety Rating is not free, however those venues that meet a certain standard will earn WELL certification, which they can then promote to fans, players and media.3. The Collective’s “Sustainable Sports Agenda” is neither a tool nor a rating. Rather it is a series of tangible recommendations as to how venues can reopen safer and greener.Got it?Good!

¹ BBC, ITV, BT Sport, Premier League Productions, AELTC, Formula 1, Aurora Media and Channel 4 are the other members of the BAFTA Consortium.
² The Collective is made up of Kristen Fulmer, founder of Recipric; Aileen McManamon, founder of 5T Sports; Dr. Madeleine “Maddy” Orr, founder of the Sport Ecology Group; and Monica Rowand of Phase 3 Sports.

Read the full story on GreenSportsBlog here.