Image: Autobahn A9 on match day in Munich. (Source: Thomas Albinger)
In the fourth part, Thomas Albinger, Managing Director of Companeer GmbH, looks at the influence of visitors’ travel behavior on the sustainability of sporting events.
What does the news tell us that a stadium consumes 25,000 kWh of energy during a soccer match? Journalists often find catchy but unfortunately useless comparisons for this: This could supply a dozen households for a year. If, on top of that, an illustration shows that 38% of energy consumption goes to lighting, scoreboards and advertising screens, negative reactions are inevitable: “Why should I save electricity at home and take cold showers? Let the floodlights be turned off first.”
But apples should not be compared with oranges. The Austrian consumer portal Selectra has broken down the energy consumption of a stadium per visitor and compared it to the personal consumption of a fan who watches the game at home in front of the TV in a lit and heated apartment, prepares food, and chills beer for – or has snacks and drinks delivered. Surprising result: The fan in the stadium consumes about 0.9 kWh, while the fan at home comes to 1.4 kWh. One could say that the stadium fulfills the need to watch a soccer match more efficiently and thus more sustainably than television. If it wasn’t for the journey. Just to attend home matches, the total of FC Bayern ticket holders travel around the world more than 10,000 times per playing season, according to a 2016 survey.
But even if the fan base is not as widely spread as at FC Bayern, let’s do the following hypothetical calculation for a random soccer club: 30,000 visitors to a match have an average travel distance of only 20 kilometers, only half of them use a car, and they also make sure that vehicles carry 2.5 people in average. Then you get into the mind-blowing range of over 100,000 kWh per game – four times more than the consumption of the stadium itself as quoted at the beginning of this article.
In addition, there is massive consumption and sealing of land as well as gray energy for the construction of 6,000 parking spaces near the stadium, which are probably only used every two weeks. Therefore, the greatest potential for making stadium visits more sustainable and minimizing the ecological footprint of a stadium lies in changing travel behavior in favor of intelligent transport concepts.
An earlier contribution in StadionWelt already addressed the high density of individual traffic on game day and highlighted alternative solutions. It’s time to tackle the issue.
This article was published in Stadionwelt INSIDE 4/2022.