Winter Sports Are in Danger Because of Their Sponsors

The paradoxical conclusion is due to the fact that more than 100 sponsorship agreements for athletes or teams are with highly polluting companies for the environment.

person snowboarding

Photo: Freepik

LatinAmerican Post | Juan Felipe Rengifo

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A study developed by Badvertising and the think tank New Weather Sweden found that skiing, considered the most emblematic sport of winter disciplines, is financed by 107 business conglomerates that are directly related to fossil fuels. These are the main pollutants on the planet and the ones that increase global warming the most, which affects the perpetual snow on the mountains where these types of disciplines are practiced.

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The outlook is so worrying that the last Winter Olympic Games held in Beijing in 2022 had a very low percentage of natural snow. In addition, the ski resorts in the Northern Hemisphere, which have records of their seasons, calculate that they have lost about 36 days compared to the seasons at the end of the last century. Also, they have needed artificial snow to keep their tracks running.

Drastic Solutions to Avoid the End of the Competitions.

Andrew Simms is the leader of Badvertising, an advertising conglomerate that opposes advertising campaigns in favor of polluting companies. In a press release, he stated that “the sport ended tobacco industry sponsorship for health reasons; It has to do the same for big pollutants, not just to protect athletes, the planet, and the public, but the future of sport.”

Athletes are also concerned about what can happen to winter disciplines in the short and medium term. Speaking to the British newspaper The Guardian, Lizzy Yarnold, Britain's most medalled athlete at the Winter Olympics, with two gold medals in the bobsleigh and skeleton category, said: "At their best, winter sports are a celebration of people enjoying some of the most amazing scenery on Earth. But the impact of climate pollution is now melting the snow and ice on which these sports depend. Having carbon-intensive sponsors is like winter sports digging their own grave, and this must stop”.

The "Sportswashing" the Obstacle to Overcome

This term refers to the practices used by economic conglomerates or countries to improve their reputation through sports sponsorship. The emotion that any sports competition transmits generates a connection with these types of brands, which allows them to boost their marketing without the need to make profound changes to their business model.

The Lifting of Post-Pandemic Restrictions

2022 was called the year of "Sportswashing" due to the number of sporting events organized by countries or companies that were questioned regarding the business practices they managed or that the human rights of the countries were violated. Most disturbingly, China, the world's most polluting country, hosted the last Winter Olympics. On the other hand, countries whose economy revolves around hydrocarbons and their derivatives have organized sporting events. Qatar organized the World Cup and Saudi Arabia controls the Dakar Rally, the Italian, and Spanish Super Leagues, as well as the Super Golf League, a circuit that competes against the PGA.

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