Better to watch the game on a broadband smartphone or tablet than to go to the stadium, says Carbon Trust

The Carbon Trust, a UK-based consultancy, has published a report stating that the best way to watch a football (soccer) game, from a carbon emissions perspective, is from your own home on a smartphone or tablet computer with a broadband connection.

Before we bring you a summary, GallonDaily wants to point out that Carbon Trust does not appear to have published either their methodology for the calculations or a peer review. The use of electronic devices has been controversial in carbon footprint circles, with some commentators suggesting that such devices have an extremely high carbon footprint. Without an opportunity to review the methodology, or at least an opportunity to see a peer review, GallonDaily has to remain somewhat sceptical of these football carbon footprint results which Carbon Trust humorously calls the carbon bootprint of watching football. Certainly we would not recommend that someone purchase a smartphone solely for the purpose of watching a few ballgames each season.

With that caveat, and recognizing that similar calculations may not provide similar results when the game is Canadian, we can report that Carbon Trust has found that:

  • emissions for watching a game on a smartphone can be as much as eight times lower than watching on television, mostly due to the smaller size of the screen.
  • in the UK 27 per cent of smartphone owners, and 63 per cent of tablet owners, are now using their device to watch live TV.
  • mobile data increases the carbon bootprint of watching the game by at least ten times compared to a broadband connection Carbon Trust does not define mobile data or broadband in this article but we assume that by mobile data they mean data transmission on a cellular network and by broadband they mean wired service, possibly with wifi for the last link.
  • total food and drink at the stadium use significantly more energy than stadium lighting.
  • bottled water at the stadium creates fewer greenhouse gas emissions than soft drinks, beer, or freshly squeezed orange juice.
  • going to see a game at the stadium is the most carbon intensive way of watching football – particularly for an away game – due to the impact of transport.

To review the full report, which is quite brief, visit

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