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Based on a review of North American professional sports teams, this study provides insight on how teams are communicating commitment to sustainability principles and practices on their Web sites. Web sites for 126 teams across 4 different leagues were examined for content relative to triple-bottom-line dimensions. Global Reporting Initiative indicator codes and definitions were constructs for the model and aligned to social, environmental, and economic principles for categories of sustainability practices. Although teams are including sustainability information on their Web sites, the vast majority downplay economic issues and highlight social issues on their home pages and subsequent pages; communication about environmental factors varies by league. The study shows differences across leagues and suggests that although some teams are communicating a commitment to sustainability, others may not be considering stakeholder perceptions of their Web-site communications or whether sustainability efforts affect public consumption of league offerings or attitudes toward professional sports.
The authors are with the Palumbo/Donahue School of Business, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA.