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As the environmental movement continues to grow steadily around the world, sports organizations are facing an increasing number of calls to reduce the negative impacts of their facilities and events on the natural environment. Given the wide popularity of professional sport across cultures, the adoption of pro-environmental initiatives by prominent teams also has the potential to inspire positive social change among spectators and fans. For organizations, perhaps the most visible symbol of environmental stewardship is the construction (or retrofitting) of proenvironmental arenas, ballparks, and stadiums. Despite their growing popularity, eco-friendly sports facilities represent less than 40% of new stadium constructions in North America, a figure likely to disappoint environmental activists. To provide insight into the decision to adopt proenvironmental facility designs, we investigated the link between social change and sustainable design. Interviews with 13 stadium architects revealed the broad environmental movement has influenced decision-making in sport, and vice versa to a lesser extent. This general consensus could empower advocates hoping to persuade owners to adopt sustainable facility designs in the future. In addition to in-depth analysis of the interviewees’ testimonies, implications and directions for future research are provided.


Author accepted manuscript version of an article published in

Kellison, T. B., Trendafilova, S., & McCullough, B. P. (2015). Considering the social impact of sustainable stadium design. International Journal of Event Management Research, 10(1), 63–83.

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