With the start of the 2013-14 season, the Carbon Trust has advised football fans following their team from a distance and who want to minimise their carbon footprint to watch matches on a smartphone or tablet connected to broadband internet rather than a television
According to the trust, emissions can be as much as eight times lower watching a match on a broadband-connected personal device than on a television. This is mainly due to the smaller size of the screen.
The trust cautions against streaming a game on a smartphone or tablet rather than connecting the device to the internet, however, because this can be one the most carbon-intensive ways to watch a match.
Research by the trust shows that watching a match on an LED television with a group of supporters is the lowest carbon way per viewer to follow a game, while watching a match live at the stadium is the most carbon-intensive way – particularly for an away game, due to the impact of transport.
To illustrate the carbon impact of a stadium full of fans, the trust and the Football Association calculated the footprint of the season’s traditional curtain raiser, the Community Shield game at Wembley.
The research reveals that the match in August between Manchester United and Wigan Athletic emitted 5,160 tonnes of carbon dioxide, with almost 97% of the total coming from fan travel. This, says the trust, is equivalent to the total annual emissions from energy use for around 1,000 average UK households.