Just back from the Green Sports Summit in Seattle last week. Wow. What an
inspiring event put on by the Green Sports Alliance. Full house packed with
team and league executives, a provocative agenda and the broad perspective
from the NRDC providing context and issuing challenges. Yet, something was
missing. There was an empty chair on the stage.
Despite the teams and leagues present who shared the great work they’re
doing in greening their stadiums, supply chains and waste diversion
practices, there was an absence that became more obvious as each day passed,
and each speaker spoke.
Brands. Advertisers. Sponsors. The companies that invest millions into sports sponsorships, campaigns and promotions. The companies that crave the association with fans the same way fans strive to deepen their relationship
It was clear at the Summit that committed teams are moving past their
operational green activities and looking outward to continue their momentum.
The conversation is now turning towards fan engagement—words every CMO and
brand manager loves.
Sure, there were a handful—Starbucks, REI, Microsoft, Coca-Cola. But
considering how important sports are to so many brands, and how important
green is becoming to sports, it seems the time is ripe for brands to come to
the party. But we shouldn’t expect them to crash on their own—they’ll need
to be invited; encouraged.
Green fan engagement programs–an entirely new promotional platform. What
shape will they take? Who will create them? Which brands will embrace
them? We’ll be watching—and as you’d expect we’ll have some suggestions—as
we all wait to see who’ll be seating in that empty seat at next year’s Summit.