When it comes to the types of green cleaning products and equipment they need, sports venues are not much different than other markets. They are unique, however, in the volume they require. The size and usage of these facilities also create special challenges, with which distributors should become familiar.

“It is a huge market segment and they require a tremendous amount of supplies,” says Tim M. Murch, president and CEO of president of 4M Building Solutions in St. Louis, which once serviced Busch Stadium. “It’s truly a specialty market segment with unique management, staffing, logistical, supply, and equipment needs and issues that must be understood.”

Unlike an office building, where cleaning needs rarely change, sports facilities are a whirlwind of activity. Some are outdoors, creating different cleaning needs as the seasons change. Some hold as many as 100,000 people, who all rush to the restrooms during halftime. Many are multiuse — hosting a hockey game one night, a rodeo the next day and a concert the night after, for example — with each event presenting unique, quick-turnaround cleaning requirements.

Employee health is important in any building, but sports teams often have multimillion-dollar athletes to protect. These businesses cannot afford to have a player get an infection in a poorly cleaned locker room.

“People understand that schools, hospitals and offices are very different and have unique cleaning issues, and the same is true with sports facilities,” says Stephen Ashkin, president of the The Ashkin Group in Los Angeles, and a member of the board of directors for the Green Sports Alliance, a nonprofit helping teams, venues and leagues enhance their environmental performance.

Ashkin is helping the Green Sports Alliance produce a green guide for sports venues large and small. Out early next year, the playbook will help facility managers write concise RFPs and evaluate vendors so they can implement state-of-the-art green cleaning programs.

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