Considering the recent emphasis on sustainability in sport, the purpose of this study was two fold:
1) To examine environmental practices within sport facilities in eastern Tennessee
2) To identify barriers (e.g., financial and human resources) for achieving sustainability objectives.
The findings of this study have applications for sport facility operations personnel and local communities. Achieving sustainability requires a collective effort and the collaboration of multiple stakeholders. Although teams and operations personnel realized the importance of collaboration and were interested in establishing new relationships in the local community with environmental groups and other businesses, the lack of staff members made this task challenging.
The link between the factors presenting challenges for implementing environmentally sustainable programs is important. For example, funding is difficult to acquire partially due to the numbers related to facility environmental practices not being tracked.
Although small communities have fewer resources than major cities, research has indicated that sport organizations play an important role in the structure and functioning of small communities (Wild, 1974). In other words, sport could be used as tool for fostering interactions and social networks (Kemp, 1999; Walter, 1981), therefore helping the local team and facility manager to form partnerships with local organizations to initiate environmentally sustainable programs.