Sustaining Sport

Ben Mole

Sport is one of the great joys of the human condition for athletes and spectators alike. It can bring happiness, livelihood, physical health, and mental well-being, and provides an education in teamwork, discipline, maturity, and humility. But for this to continue, sports around the world must acknowledge challenges both current and future and both internal and external. Then, steps must be taken to overcome what faces them or risk losing what so many people hold so dear. But what are the challenges and what steps can be taken?

Here we seek to address exactly that! Regular themes include sexism, climate change, racism, sponsorship ethics, mental health, social justice, the list goes on and on! We will also discuss potential remedies and look at how we as individuals can make a difference. It begins with a conversation. It may lead to raising awareness and mobilising people to question norms and behaviours. And hopefully, it will end with meaningful change.

Please remember the views expressed in this podcast may no longer be current when you hear them. My views are my own. As are my guests, who, while valued here for their insights, do not necessarily always reflect the values of this Sustaining Sport and do not speak on behalf of the show. Contact: benmole@sustainingsport.com
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Episódios

Warming Up - How Climate Change is Changing Sport
16-04-2024
Warming Up - How Climate Change is Changing Sport
Madeleine Orr is an Assistant Professor of Sport Ecology at the University of Toronto. She is also a co-founder of the Sport Ecology group, and in early May she will be releasing a brand-new book called “Warming Up, How Climate Change is Changing Sport” which, as you may guess, focuses on how sport is adapting to and wrestling with climate change.From seasonal sports' responses to climate shifts to using community sports facilities during natural disasters, this episode promises an eye-opening exploration of the environmental challenges and the hope that can spring from adversity. Maddy also shares with us how she navigates the double intersection of Sport with Sustainability and Academia with Industry. And we question the very definition of 'sustainability' in sports. Has this once-critical concept been diluted, and should we redefine the term to better align with the planet's needs while preserving the magic of sports in the future?I hope you find it interesting!You can (pre)order a copy of the book here: https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/warming-up-9781399404525/  And maybe meet Maddy during her book tour. Dates, times and locations are here: https://twitter.com/maddyjorr/status/1777823539405500589 Support the showPlease feel free to reach out to the show onWeb: sustainingsport.comInstagram: @sustainingsportLinkedin: /sustaining-sportFacebook: @sustainingsportTwitter: @SustainSportPodDonate to our patreon.com/sustainingsportor contact us at: benmole@sustainingsport.com
Bad advertising – How dirty businesses are buying their social license operate through sports
24-08-2023
Bad advertising – How dirty businesses are buying their social license operate through sports
Advertising is supposed to be a way for businesses and entrepreneurs to show you how good their products are. But what if many of the products in adverts are actually bad? They could be bad for you or potentially bad for this planet and its delicately balanced biosphere.Today’s topic is bad advertising. We are talking to researcher Freddie Daley who works as a coordinator for a tremendous organisation called Badvertising. As sport holds a powerful place in the hearts and minds of fans and athletes around the world, it is a potent tool for advertisers. According to Statista, in 2022 the global sports sponsorship market was worth an estimated 66 billion U.S. dollars and is expected to grow to 107 billion U.S. dollars by 2030. It is one of sport’s biggest revenue streams, dwarfing that of merchandise and tickets.Freddie and his colleagues know this and therefore must dedicate a lot of time calling out and campaigning against adverts that contain false information or normalise businesses whose operations are harmful to people and the environment.Freddie joins us today to discuss this sport, sustainability, and advertising intersection. It’s a complex and arduous topic at times but his pragmatism and belief in the possibility of a better system makes it very much worth a listen!You can also find more research and work on this at the Rapid Transition Alliance.Support the showPlease feel free to reach out to the show onWeb: sustainingsport.comInstagram: @sustainingsportLinkedin: /sustaining-sportFacebook: @sustainingsportTwitter: @SustainSportPodDonate to our patreon.com/sustainingsportor contact us at: benmole@sustainingsport.com
Colonial echoes in sport and the environment – time to decolonise and degrow?
09-08-2023
Colonial echoes in sport and the environment – time to decolonise and degrow?
The convergence of sport, decoloniality, and the environment presents a labyrinth of intricate ideas, and as we delve into their interconnectedness, the complexity deepens.Joining us on this informative journey is Samuel Clevenger, an Assistant Professor at Towson University in the USA, who has been trying to unpack some of this intersection. We start with the radical concept of decoloniality—an evolution beyond mere decolonisation. Through philosophical references and anecdotes, we raise instances where sport has been wielded to perpetuate a Western-centric worldview, shaping notions of identity, imagery, and competition. Then, in contrast, we examine examples where Western sports were recast more in the image of the indigenous people who were pressured to play them.As we pivot to the environmental repercussions, a canvas of broader societal critiques unfurls. The discourse expands to encompass profound themes like climate justice, athlete and fan burnout, and the nuances of degrowth or post-growth.Whether you're a sports enthusiast, an environmental advocate, or simply curious about the multifaceted connections between these realms, there are undoubtedly ideas in this episode of interest to you.Support the showPlease feel free to reach out to the show onWeb: sustainingsport.comInstagram: @sustainingsportLinkedin: /sustaining-sportFacebook: @sustainingsportTwitter: @SustainSportPodDonate to our patreon.com/sustainingsportor contact us at: benmole@sustainingsport.com
A Sponsorship Game Changer - Taking Sport Beyond High-Carbon, Gambling, and Alcohol
13-07-2023
A Sponsorship Game Changer - Taking Sport Beyond High-Carbon, Gambling, and Alcohol
The relationship between money and sport is complex…This show has often discussed the issues that arise when the biggest carbon emitters buy or sponsor a sports club, often with the objective of improving their legitimacy or reputation. But this episode goes one step deeper, by looking at the more nuanced capital in-flows that have a few a degrees of separation.For example, the organisations that invest in or fund others to extract fossil fuels, rather than doing it themselves. Additionally, there are businesses that continuously try to tempt the consumer into making key purchases that will cause significant harm either to the consumer or somewhere else along the supply chain. And because of that separation, it’s tricky for sports fans to know that the companies whose names adorn the fronts of their teams' jerseys are profiting from something they might not agree with.But help is on the way. Michael Hardy has long sought to get his local team, Liverpool FC, to drop Standard Chartered as a sponsor. Standard chartered fund in a range of projects across the world that do not uphold the human rights of their workers and are responsible for a massive about of emissions. To try to make a difference, Michael and Platform, the organisation he works for, are launching the Game Changer Sponsorship Pledge: an exciting new initiative that tries to bring everyone who cares about sport but does not want to benefit from harm-causing activities. They want to put pressure on sports commercial directors to make better choices that better reflect the values of the fans, even if that means less lucrative deals.You can learn more about the Game Changer Sponsorship Pledge at: badverts.org/gamechangerSupport the showPlease feel free to reach out to the show onWeb: sustainingsport.comInstagram: @sustainingsportLinkedin: /sustaining-sportFacebook: @sustainingsportTwitter: @SustainSportPodDonate to our patreon.com/sustainingsportor contact us at: benmole@sustainingsport.com
The power of nature: why an elite canoeist turned to environmental activism - with Etienne Stott
16-02-2023
The power of nature: why an elite canoeist turned to environmental activism - with Etienne Stott
How does winning an Olympic gold medal in canoeing inform a career in environmental activism?Etienne Stott, and his partner Tim Baillie, won the Men's slalom canoeing C-2 Event at the London 2012 Olympics, making history for Great Britain. Since retiring from competitive sport, Etienne has become increasingly involved with environmental activism, working with organizations such as Extinction Rebellion to raise awareness and push for action.In this episode, we take a deep dive into Etienne's journey from athlete to activist. We start with his sporting career and the pivotal moment that led to his Olympic success. Then, we shift our focus to the climate crisis and how Etienne understands the complex and systemic issues at play.As a canoeist, Etienne has a unique perspective on the power of nature and its connection to sport. We delve into how this inherent connection impacts his worldview and informs his approach to the environment. Finally, we explore how athletes can use their platform within society to call for action and make a positive impact.You can also see the recording of our interview at https://youtu.be/kV54aI716jkSupport the showPlease feel free to reach out to the show onWeb: sustainingsport.comInstagram: @sustainingsportLinkedin: /sustaining-sportFacebook: @sustainingsportTwitter: @SustainSportPodDonate to our patreon.com/sustainingsportor contact us at: benmole@sustainingsport.com
Tackling the root cause - the challenges for Sport for Development in Haiti
19-01-2023
Tackling the root cause - the challenges for Sport for Development in Haiti
The Republic of Haiti is arguably the unluckiest country in recent history. It sits on a fault line and is regularly barraged by hurricanes. Additionally, it still struggles for social and economic stability after countless colonial injustices and outside interventions followed by dictators, gang violence and corruption. Sport, mainly football/soccer, plays a huge role in the nation’s culture which means it may be a source of relief. But how to leverage this potential in a country seemingly without hope? James Louis-Charles has a plan! As a history teacher, he is well aware of the complex history of his home. And after many years working in Sport for Development, James believes that with the right steps, Haiti can become a great football-playing nation. This would mean two things: (1) young Haitians would have more pathways out of poverty, and (2) it could give the country some hope and unity in a way few things have before.Achieving this is exceptionally complex and requires a collaboration of local insights, good faith actors and external benefactors. But it’s worth fighting for! We begin this episode with James’ views on the history of Haiti followed by his passion for football and close with his compelling call for action!You can contact James on Twitter: @James_LouChaSupport the showPlease feel free to reach out to the show onWeb: sustainingsport.comInstagram: @sustainingsportLinkedin: /sustaining-sportFacebook: @sustainingsportTwitter: @SustainSportPodDonate to our patreon.com/sustainingsportor contact us at: benmole@sustainingsport.com
Is sportswashing a systemic problem at FIFA and the IOC? – with Jules Boykoff
05-12-2022
Is sportswashing a systemic problem at FIFA and the IOC? – with Jules Boykoff
The relationship between the leaders of nation-states and the gatekeepers of sporting mega-events is both powerful and complex. Organisations, such as FIFA and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), have revenues in the billions of dollars and are supranational. They have a disproportionate and troubling degree of political power.    Much has been written about the environmental and human rights disaster of the men’s football World Cup in Qatar as finally being a step too far in terms of host selection. However, evidence suggests that this was an almost inevitable outcome of systemic problems within FIFA.    To talk us through this, it’s a pleasure to be joined by Jules Boykoff, Professor of political science at Pacific University in Oregon, USA. He is the author of five books on the politics of sports mega-events, most recently, ‘The 1936 Berlin Olympics: Race, Power, and Sportswashing’. He is also a former professional footballer, having represented the US Under-23 Men’s National Team so he has seen how these events work from all angles.You can also see the recording of our interview at https://youtu.be/yjskkjE8JjA with some additional visual information.Support the showPlease feel free to reach out to the show onWeb: sustainingsport.comInstagram: @sustainingsportLinkedin: /sustaining-sportFacebook: @sustainingsportTwitter: @SustainSportPodDonate to our patreon.com/sustainingsportor contact us at: benmole@sustainingsport.com
Sustaining Sport Podcast Trailer
24-11-2022
Sustaining Sport Podcast Trailer
Sport is one of the great joys of the human condition for athletes and spectators alike. It can bring happiness, livelihood, physical health, and mental well-being, and provides an education in teamwork, discipline, maturity, and humility. But for this to continue, sports around the world must acknowledge challenges both current and future and both internal and external. Then, steps must be taken to overcome what faces them or risk losing what so many people hold so dear. But what are the challenges and what steps can be taken?Here we seek to address exactly that! Regular themes include sexism, climate change, racism, sponsorship ethics, mental health, social justice, the list goes on and on! We will also discuss potential remedies and look at how we as individuals can make a difference. It begins with a conversation. It may lead to raising awareness and mobilising people to question norms and behaviours. And hopefully, it will end with meaningful change.Please remember the views expressed in this podcast may no longer be current when you hear them. My views are my own. As are my guests, who, while valued here for their insights, do not necessarily always reflect the values of this Sustaining Sport and do not speak on behalf of the show.Support the showPlease feel free to reach out to the show onWeb: sustainingsport.comInstagram: @sustainingsportLinkedin: /sustaining-sportFacebook: @sustainingsportTwitter: @SustainSportPodDonate to our patreon.com/sustainingsportor contact us at: benmole@sustainingsport.com
What are the social consequences of the commercialisation of football?
18-08-2022
What are the social consequences of the commercialisation of football?
Is your local club ground half empty because everyone is watching the Premier League on TV? Or perhaps you are a local Liverpool FC fan, but cannot ever get a ticket? Dr David Webber has been examining these struggles, dedicating much of his academic career to working out why it is happening and what we can do about it.David postulates that football has become so commercialised that most of us are unable to imagine an alternative that would curb profit-seeking behaviour and restore some social value back into the game. Such an idea would mean the sports industry is not immune from the cautions of Mark Fisher and the concept of ‘Capitalist Realism’, work that David draws upon.In this episode, we discuss the forces that currently see sports teams leveraged to the nth degree for their commercial brand value. We also talk about how this process erodes the social connections and authenticity of the communities.Fortunately, David does not believe that all is lost. We discuss some more fundamental and drastic solutions that would bring back some community value and make football more democratic and even more competitive.You can find David via Solent University profile or via his Twitter: @DrDaveWebberThe researcher of 'competitive balance' who I referenced in the episode is Vasileios Manasis, Postdoctoral Researcher at Athens University of Economics and Business. And thank you to The Sports Footprint for showcasing Dr Manasis' work.Support the showPlease feel free to reach out to the show onWeb: sustainingsport.comInstagram: @sustainingsportLinkedin: /sustaining-sportFacebook: @sustainingsportTwitter: @SustainSportPodDonate to our patreon.com/sustainingsportor contact us at: benmole@sustainingsport.com
Do we pick pundits by celebrity or by capability? The case of Rugby Union
14-07-2022
Do we pick pundits by celebrity or by capability? The case of Rugby Union
Many pundits have become such long-standing features on certain networks’ sports coverage, that they are in effect the face of the program and are widely marketed to garner interest. But although their famous faces may attract fans that know them to the broadcast, do they give the best possible analysis?My guest today ruffled a few feathers in late March this year when he penned an article criticising the analytical performance of the pundits on BBC and ITV’s coverage of the Six Nations. In doing so, he raised some important questions about what we might be missing by not giving those key minutes of airtime to people who may not be famous or even former players, but whose profession and core skill set is game analysis.In this episode, Ben Nurse and I discuss how some seemingly impervious pundits have become complacent, relying on anecdotes of past glory, and failing to stay up to date with the trends and strategies of the modern game. Ben also argues in favour of incorporating more data-savvy analysts, describes how punditry would benefit from being more inclusive, and showcases the miraculous rise of my go-to source of rugby evaluation, Squidge Rugby’s Robbie Owen.Here is more of Ben's work: thematchreport.co.ukSupport the showPlease feel free to reach out to the show onWeb: sustainingsport.comInstagram: @sustainingsportLinkedin: /sustaining-sportFacebook: @sustainingsportTwitter: @SustainSportPodDonate to our patreon.com/sustainingsportor contact us at: benmole@sustainingsport.com