How to build deeper fan relationships through sustainability

How to build deeper fan relationships through sustainability

Episode #15 – Sports fans may not be more environmentally aware than non-sports fans, but teams can still engage them through well thought out sustainability initiatives, says Brian McCullough

Because of sport’s intrinsic relationship to the natural world, many of us assume that fans of sport will care more about the environment and be more aware of the dangers it faces.

But a piece of research conducted by Seattle University professors, Brian McCullough and Galen Trail, has found that differences between sports fans’ and non sports fans’ approach to the environment is “non existent”.

Surprising, right?

For those trying to use sport as a tool to engage the wider population in environmental responsibility, those findings appear, at first glance, to be a kick in the teeth.

However, the second part of that study found that if sports teams could create environmental programmes that addressed local challenges (that were perceived as a ‘good fit’) and took the time to communicate those projects in an effective way, sustainability can be a really powerful way to resonate with fans.

That’s not all: the more identified the fan is with the sports team, the more likely they will change their behaviour in a positive way to mirror the team.

McCullough, the Seattle University associate professor (soon to be transitioning to Texas A&M) and co-director of the Sport Ecology Group, is the guest on this week’s podcast – the first of four episodes exploring some of the latest cutting edge research related to sport and sustainability.

In this episode, McCullough explains:

– How sports teams can create environmental programmes with a logical fit

– What sports teams can do to leverage fan identification to accelerate positive environmental impact

– Why the right type of messaging is important to the success of engaging fans in sustainability

– How teams can build connections with non-fans

He also refers to examples of sports teams doing a good job in the above areas.

Listen to the full podcast here:

And if you want more insight related to the economic, social and environmental side of the sports industry, subscribe via iTunesSpotify and Stitcher.

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