Pro Teams Kick Off Nonprofit Green Sports Alliance

SEATTLE, Washington, March 22, 2011 (ENS) – Six professional sports teams, their leagues and sports venues on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border gathered Monday at Seattle’s Safeco Field to launch the nonprofit Green Sports Alliance. Their goal is to encourage all professional sports leagues, teams and facilities to reduce their impact on the environment.

Founding members of the Green Sports Alliance include the Seattle Mariners baseball team, the Seattle Seahawks football team, the Portland Trail Blazers basketball team, the Vancouver Canucks hockey team, the Seattle Storm women’s basketball team and the Seattle Sounders soccer team.

This is the first time that teams from Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, the National Basketball Association, the Women’s National Basketball Association and Major League Soccer have collaborated on a common environmental agenda.

More than the grass will be green at Seattle’s Safeco Field (Photo by Timothy Carlson)

Members of the Green Sports Alliance representing sporting facilities include Seattle’s Safeco Field, Qwest Field, Qwest Field Event Center, and KeyArena at Seattle Center, the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon, and Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia.

These teams, leagues and facilities all are partnering with the Natural Resources Defense Council the U.S. EPA, the Bonneville Environmental Foundation and Portland State University to build on individual greening initiatives by working together.

The idea of forming an inter-league alliance focused on environmental stewardship was originally conceived and initiated by representatives of Paul G. Allen’s sports teams and the Natural Resources Defense Council in the fall of 2009. Allen owns the Seattle Seahawks and Portland Trail Blazers and is co-owner of the Seattle Sounders FC.

“The commitment by these six professional teams, from six different leagues, to enhance their environmental profile in a meaningful and public way marks a watershed in the history of professional sports,” said Allen Hershkowitz, senior scientist with NRDC and environmental advisor for professional sports. “This type of inter-league collaboration is unprecedented. All professional leagues should follow their lead.”

The fledgling alliance drew support from all the sports’ league commissioners.

“Major League Baseball applauds the leadership shown by the Seattle Mariners’ environmental efforts,” said MLB Commissioner Bud Selig. “Their participation in the Green Sports Alliance demonstrates the commitment made by MLB and our clubs to act in environmentally-sensitive ways.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said, “The NFL is proud to support the greening efforts of the Seattle Seahawks. Environmental stewardship is important to the NFL and all our clubs, and the Seattle Seahawks are a leader in this area.”

NBA Commissioner David Stern said, “The Seattle Storm and the Portland Trail Blazers are helping to lead the way on the greening of professional sports and the NBA and WNBA are grateful for their leadership. Their participation in the Green Sports Alliance holds the potential to further the greening of professional sports nationally and we wish the GSA the best of success in this important endeavor.”

The NHL strongly supports the greening efforts of the Vancouver Canucks,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. “This effort holds the promise of even further greening of professional sports.”

Headquartered in Portland, Oregon and led by Executive Director Martin Tull, the Green Sports Alliance will host a conference, the Green Sports Summit, which will gather facility managers, event producers and marketing directors with environmental leaders to share best practices and discuss opportunities and challenges the teams face.

The inaugural Green Sports Summit is scheduled for August 2011 in Portland.

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2011. All rights reserved.