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As Premier League kicks off, Carbon Trust tracks ‘carbon bootprint’

As England’s Premier League prepares to kick off this weekend, new research from the Carbon Trust has unveiled the ‘carbon bootprint’ of watching football.

The research finds that when watching on your own then the lowest carbon way to watch football is by using a smartphone or tablet connected to broadband internet. Emissions for this can be as much as eight times lower than watching on television, mostly due to the smaller size of the screen.

Thanks to advances in technology more fans are choosing to follow their team live on computers, smartphones and tablets. In the UK 27% of smartphone owners, and 63% of tablet owners, are now using their device to watch live TV. For the upcoming season both Sky and BT are offering apps that allow football to be watched on personal devices.

But the research reveals that when it comes to impact on the climate, then streaming on a personal device can also be the highest carbon way to watch the broadcast of a game. If mobile data is used then this increases the carbon bootprint of watching the game by at least ten times compared to a broadband connection. Mobile data transmission can be very energy intensive - watching a whole game could have the same associated emissions as driving ten miles in an average petrol car.

In general sharing a television screen with multiple people, either at home or in the pub, remains the lowest carbon way to watch football per viewer. Different devices and screen sizes can vary greatly in energy consumption. With televisions LED screens are most energy efficient, followed by LCD and then plasma. Watching on a plasma screen could result in lifetime emissions a third higher than a similar sized LED television. Similarly a laptop could result in less than half the emissions compared to watching on a desktop computer.

Going to see a game live at the stadium is the most carbon intensive way of watching football - particularly for an away game – due to the impact of transport. But food and drink consumed during a game can still make a significant contribution to an individual bootprint, depending eating and drinking choices.

Michael Rea, chief operating officer at the Carbon Trust commented: “We are working with a number of organisations to reduce the carbon bootprint of football. The FA, Manchester United, Newcastle United, Bolton Wanderers have all been awarded the Carbon Trust Standard, as have both Sky and BT. Our work helping teams, broadcasters and the telecoms industry to continuously reduce their environmental impact will in turn help to reduce the impacts of fans when they are watching football.”


Picture credit: © Joy Miller | Dreamstime Stock Photos

UK & NI Ireland | Carbon Emissions


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