Date of Award
Master of Science
Derek H. Alderman
I. Solange Muñoz, Ronald V. Kalafsky
The idea of the Southeastern United States as a region has long infatuated the popular American imagination. While it is a site of historic and present trauma for some, collective Southern regional identity is constructed as a geographic imagined community of belonging. This place-based identity is expressed in many ways, one of which is through college football fandom. Southeastern Conference (SEC) football has long been associated with the presumed region of the South, and a popular expression of both SEC football fandom and southeastern regional identity is the tourism act of attending college football games. This thesis is a critical environmental investigation into that tourism.The global tourism industry contributes to global anthropogenic climate change through the emission of greenhouse gasses. As such, carbon footprinting can help quantify the sustainability of individual tourism events in terms of emissions. This case study seeks to assess the carbon footprint of six seasons of University of Tennessee college football, an SEC institution with one of the largest football stadiums in the United States. Using an extensive geographic sample of ticketing data from Tennessee’s home games during the 2014-2019 seasons, a total carbon footprint was estimated to be 232,864,549 kg CO2eq.This study presents both a methodology for studying spectator sporting events in sport tourism and evidence for the need for tourism organizations and governments to account for and reduce the impact of greenhouse gas emissions. It also demonstrates grounded consequences for the often trivialized ideas of fandom and place-based identity in a fresh way by examining an environmental impact of an identity expression. This thesis highlights the paradox that Tennessee football fandom, an expression of place-based identity, is simultaneously an agent in social placemaking and environmental place-destroying.
Cooper, Jacob Alexander, "Making Orange Green? A Critical Geographic Approach to Carbon Footprinting Tennessee Football Tourism. " Master's Thesis, University of Tennessee, 2020.
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