The Reason We're Excited For This Year's Super Bowl Has Nothing To Do With Sports

Image by Paul Campbell

In 2016, the Super Bowl kicked off in a stadium equipped with 1,150 solar panels and a massive rooftop garden. Last year, the big night was a nearly zero-waste event, complete with compost bins and biodegradable food containers. Super Bowl LIII is also poised to be a surprisingly green affair.

This Sunday, the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams will face off in the newly completed Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, which is certified LEED Platinum for its energy-saving initiatives. The state-of-the-art arena features parking structures outfitted with solar panels, a rainwater collection reservoir, and the world's largest video board to run on energy-efficient LED lights. There's even edible landscaping on site and an urban garden in the works for the property.

Come game day, fans who opt to bike there can take advantage of the stadium's bicycle valet program, and leftover food will be donated to Second Helpings Atlanta and the Atlanta Community Food Bank. By partnering with Trees Atlanta, the Super Bowl's philanthropic committee will help restore local tree cover long after the final play.

Even some commercials—those $5 million, 30-second slots to capture the world's attention—will have a decidedly eco bent this year. Budweiser has already released its ad, which calls attention to the company's 2025 Sustainability Goals. Starting last year, every Budweiser sold daily around the world (all 41 million of them) was brewed using renewable electricity—a shift Budweiser says is the equivalent of taking 48,000 cars off the road every year.

In conjunction with the commercial, the company is announcing a new partnership with clean energy company Drift that makes it easier and more affordable for people to sign up for Drift's renewable power plans. Audi is also rumored to be using its ad time for the greener good, using it to spotlight its line of electric vehicles. Now, these are the sorts of messages that we should be sending to the over 100 million people expected to tune in come game time.

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