Sustainable sports productions


Although sport productions still have a long way to go before they can be considered green, their environmental impact is increasingly becoming part of the conversation and planning process. But this desire for green productions always has to be balanced with the commercial and business arguments – competitive pricing and doing more for less while not compromising on the quality of the production.

Steve Norris director, production and content at Gravity Media, recently shared his views on sustainability in sports with Broadcast SPORT. In the article, he emphasises that vendors need to provide solutions with the environment in mind, regardless of whether the client asked for it or not.  

Remote production is at the forefront of these environmental changes, and a big influencer on travel and logistics issues. Remote production models bring benefits such as reduced air fare costs for crews, smaller freight costs for kit and less travelling overall. Alongside the quantifiable metrics, Norris highlights that complete remote solutions can also ‘give back time’ to many individuals involved in a remote production. Less time spent travelling to live events translates into more time for family and friends, which carries many personal and social benefits. Yet, still not enough is being done to make the projects greener.

Norris believes there’s a need at a high level for a major federation or rights holder to prioritise sustainability across all of its TV coverage. This would consequently force vendors to come up with some commercially viable solutions to green productions.

But every single person in the production team can play their part. Sustainable actions include baby steps like limiting paper waste and having more control over lighting and heating. It can also go further and entail a re-evaluation of production standards. For example, sending an entire team of presenters and guests to a game is unnecessary if there are professional facilities and studios back home. Often the decision to have on-site broadcast services is made without thinking of the bigger picture. The overarching question still remains: is the industry willing to compromise on production standards and try a new approach to deliver a sustainable broadcast? Given what’s happening in the world right now, we may be forced to. But only time will tell…

You can read Steve’s full comment in Broadcast Sport on page 22.