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The Environmental Cost of Winning

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March Madness has players jetting from near and far to compete, and all those flights have a carbon footprint. But which tournament locations cause the most carbon emissions, and which teams would leave the biggest carbon footprint if they make it to the championship? We totaled them up to find out.


Key Takeaways

  • Overall, team flights for March Madness will create 78.15 metric tons of carbon emissions.
  • Teams located in the western region of the U.S. would create the highest emissions (25.35 CO2e), followed by:
    • South (21.15 CO2e)
    • East (16.65 CO2e)
    • Midwest (15.00 CO2e)
  • Teams who would create the most emissions (15.3 CO2e) if they make it to the championship:
    • Saint Mary’s
    • VCU
    • UConn
    • Iona
  • Teams who would create the least emissions (3.6 CO2e) if they make it to the championship:
    • Texas A&M
    • Penn State
    • Texas
    • Colgate


Payless Power calculated the carbon emissions of March Madness transportation by using Carbon Footprint’s Carbon Calculator. We looked at one-way flights for 15 passengers per team going from each arena to the next, using the nearest international airport to the arena.

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Fair Use Statement

If you want to tease a Saint Mary’s fan about how much of a carbon footprint their win would create, you’re welcome to share our findings! We just ask that your purposes are non-commercial and that you include a link to this page.

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