“Kraken” Down on Emissions: The World’s First Net-Zero Arena

by: Andrew Hoffman

Publication Date: April 20, 2022
Length: 16 pages
Product ID#: 3-416-331

Core Disciplines: Social Impact, Strategy & Management, Sustainability

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Teaching Note

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This case explores the economic, cultural, and environmental implications of the creation of the Kraken, the National Hockey League’s (NHL) newest expansion team in Seattle, Washington. It follows the responsibilities and decisions facing brothers Tod and Tim Leiweke, the former Kraken’s CEO, and the latter a founder of the Oak View Group, a development and investment company for sports and entertainment that owned and redeveloped the Kraken’s arena. Newly tasked by Amazon with making the Kraken’s new home, Climate Pledge Arena, go carbon neutral, the Leiwekes faced their greatest challenges yet: achieving what no other sports arena had accomplished in sustainability, controlling the costs of doing so to ensure continued profitability, and maintaining their reputations as competent leaders in managing national sports teams and venues.

The case presents the increasing focus on sustainability by national sports leagues and the NHL in particular. With Seattle as the setting for this bold endeavor to be carbon neutral, the case describes the financial commitments and early outcomes involved in achieving it, and the long-term reporting requirements to which the Leiweke brothers were bound to ultimately demonstrate their success.

Teaching Objectives

After reading and discussing the material, students should:

  • Explain what motivates sports leagues to go green.
  • Describe what cultural factors can make a team aim to achieve more sustainable practices.
  • Evaluate why sports might be a strong platform for sustainability efforts.
  • Assess the future of sustainability in sports.