You’re probably not alone if you say you ate and drank too much the last time you went to a ballpark or tailgated. If that’s the case, then you probably don’t associate football with responsible stewardship, but rather, excess. However, with the start of football season this year, football stadiums around the country got greener. That’s due in part to the opening of two new ones, and significant changes at a third.
Outside San Francisco, in Santa Clara, the 49ers’ new Levi’s Stadium is “the most vegan-friendly stadium in the entire sports industry,” General Manager Zach Hensely told local restaurant reviewer Paolo Lucchesi. Indeed, there are dedicated vegan hot dog stands, and a vegan menu item at each permanent food outpost.
Actually, the stadium’s food service provider, Centerplate, has made a big deal out of calling their tube steaks “frankfurters” no matter what’s inside. All are nitrate-free. Additionally, according to Hensely, 85% of food is sourced within California, and 78% within 150 miles of the stadium. Centerplate already has a REAL certification (Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership) and Silver Spoon Award for the local sourcing, healthy options, and leftover food donation they do at the Music City Convention Center in Nashville.
Baylor University’s McLane Stadium also saw its first kickoff this fall. For those taking in football in Waco, Texas, local food will mean local flavors. Widely available at 12 locations throughout the stadium are jalapeno relish topped Touchdown Dogs, a vegetarian chipotle sausage wrap, and smoked in house brisket sliders. Baylor’s food service provider, Savor U., also offers compostable wares, recycles all cardboard, and donates leftover food to a food bank.
At the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, they’ve taken the slogan “know your farmer, know your food” to heart, so hot dogs and hamburgers come from former Rams linebacker Will Witherspoon’s Shire Gate Farm. This is meat from grass-fed cattle, carrying the Animal Welfare Approved certification for humane treatment. The food service provider here is Delaware North.
Opened in 2010 outside New York City, MetLife Stadium is not new, but is overall one the greenest in the country. On August 20 this year, the stadium released statistics showing its continued improvement in its efforts to reduce waste, energy, and water cosumption. Composting of food waste is another of many green initiatives. This is also a Delaware North venue.
So, even responsible fans can have another one at the stadium. Just not in the fourth quarter, you’re driving.