The Minister of Sports, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, recently put forward the idea of no longer having sports matches played outdoors in the evening in winter. The alternative ? Do it during the day to consume less energy. A symbolic measure which would still have a first impact and would make it possible to engage more seriously in the debate on the ecological transition of sport.
Soon the end of sports posters on Sunday evening at 9 p.m.? This could be the trend this winter in France, as indicated by the Minister of Sports and the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, Tuesday July 26 on France Info. “It is entirely part of the open options”, she said. The latter promised to launch “a plan for adapting sports practice to climate change”.
Obviously, such a project involves many reflections, and requires consulting many actors. Applications on amateur and professional sport, opinions from TV broadcasters, Federations, communities… The list is long, but one question remains: could this have a real ecological impact?
“A sports field is lit between 1,000 and 2,000 hours a year”
For the moment, the government’s project remains to be defined, but it would seem that outdoor sports are particularly targeted. That is to say, mainly, football and rugby. Such a measure would have beneficial effects. “The lighting is an interesting part, because in France we have 300,000 sports equipment, of which more than 50% are outdoors”explains Antoine Miche, president of the association Football ecology France.
“A sports field is lit between 1,000 and 2,000 hours a year. A large part of these lighting hours is linked to winter. We are around 80,000 kWh, which is colossal. 80,000 kWh, we quickly reach a budget of €10,000, which is not nothing for a community, details the association manager. And the prices are rising a lot right now so it could quickly become 20,000 or 30,000 € in the next few months. »
Bringing the matches forward would therefore have an immediate effect. But the benefits of such a measure are also to be found elsewhere than in the pure economy. “It is a demand for exemplary professional sport that is targeted through this”confides Véronique Martin, president of the RSE Sport structure. “It is a duty of sport to set an example vis-à-vis the citizens, who are asked to make an effort. »
Widely followed, sport has this ability to convey messages to its spectators and to mobilize consciences. This has already happened on societal issues, and it could also be the case in terms of ecology. Véronique Martin says the same thing: “It must be part of a broader reflection, we can change our habits. We got used to matches at 9 p.m., but they weren’t always at that time. The interest is to launch the discussion and the reflection towards a sport more sober in energy. »
Because the reflection must not stop at the match times, at the risk of remaining only a weak advance. Antoine Miche offers another line of thought. “If we switch everything to LED, if we have intelligent systems, we will have drastically reduced consumption, especially for communities. We would save 50 to 70% of lighting energy. »
Transport and energy renovation, the real major projects
But again, this would only be part of the work to be done, because the work of the sport’s energy transition is much broader. “That’s not really what will reduce the environmental impact of sport”emphasizes Victor Querton, consultant at Planète Publique, a consulting firm on environmental public policy issues. “It’s going to be that in a set of things. We can cite in particular the energy renovation of sports equipment, which are, for many, enormous thermal sieves. »
Véronique Martin, for her part, mainly points to transport, whether “teams, logistics, media and the public”. “That’s the main cost. If a football team said, “I’m going to stop playing at night, but I’m still going on private planes,” I would find that extremely shocking. »
Read also: Football: “On the ecological aspect, things are moving forward, but slowly”
In short, there is still a long way to go to properly reconcile ecology and sport. But things are going in the right direction and the measure on lighting would be an important first step. Even if this raises many questions: will training also be affected by these schedule advances? Will amateur sport be placed in the same boat as professional sport? Won’t this create a traffic jam of matches in winter? What to do on winter days when the sun sets at 5 p.m.? How to deal with TV broadcasters, who have signed contracts to broadcast certain matches in prime time The evening ?
This last question will be one to watch in particular in the coming months. Because professional clubs and authorities derive a large part of their income from television rights. And, if the match schedules change, the contracts could be revised downwards. Which would be very badly perceived, especially in football, where the Mediapro crisis is still remembered. Contacted, AmazonPrimebroadcaster of 80% of Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 football, did not wish to comment on this subject.