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Sport events and associated venues impose a significant impact on the environment. Athletes, coaches, officials, athletes’ entourage, and spectators travel to sport competitions using planes, trains, buses and cars. This inherent travel component results in greenhouse gases and has a significant impact on climate change. Sport event merchandise, sporting goods and equipment produce a plethora of products that require natural resources. All of these, and many more sport event related activities, have environmental consequences such as waste production, land, air and water pollution, and deterioration of the natural environment. New ways of encouraging environmentally responsible practices and climate change mitigation are globally emerging with efforts to construct sport event venues with materials that cause minimal harm to the environment, choose environmentally friendly air-conditioning facilities and utilize renewable energy resources. However, these efforts represent the beginning of a long journey to establishing benchmarks and encourage changes in event manager’s and event consumer’s behaviors toward environmentally friendly sport events and venues.

This special issue advances dissemination of research output in this critical and under-researched field and contributes to our theoretical and empirical understanding of the environmental issues of sport events and their management.

The collection of papers in this issue contributes empirically to Pfahl’s (2011) recommendation to offer practical suggestions to sport, event, and facility managers, on adopting a strategic approach to raising environmental awareness among spectators and fans and community members. As the sport event industry flourishes, sport managers, academics and practitioners, share the responsibility to earn credibility among communities, spectators and fans, large corporations or small local businesses, sponsors with naming rights or young children aspiring to represent their countries. Only then we know that the industry is growing toward the right direction; a direction that is respectful of all these entities and their futures. Our message is clear: ‘Let social change inspire and drive positive changes in the sustainability of sport event and facilities’.

Consequently, environmental awareness, education and action are central to inspiring the industry and ultimately strengthening the link between sport and environmental protection in more countries. More countries, more sport managers, more sport event stakeholders practitioners and certainly even more researchers need to move beyond the presumption that the answers to all the environmental issues reside within governments (Nguen), and it’s time we took ownership on the issues at hand.

Although the contribution of this issue is multilayered, there are several sport event related activities or stakeholders that have environmental consequences, such as waste production, land, air and water pollution, and deterioration of the natural environment, that remain unexplored. Consequently, this special issue represents the mere beginnings of empirical enquiries required in order to establish benchmarks and encourage changes in event manager’s and event consumer’s behaviours toward environmentally friendly sport events and venues. Mallen et al. (2011) argued that “progress over time in sport-ES research can be measured by the incidence of sport journals special issues on ES” (p. 253). This special issue represents a step toward the right direction. We wish to thank the editor of the International Journal of Event Management Research, Associate Professor Charles Arcodia, for the opportunity to compile this special issue and all the contributors for their professionalism, hard work and timely delivery of papers for publication.


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