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Sporting KC taps Huhtamaki to enhance sustainability efforts

Featured image credit: Lectrician2/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size

Major League Soccer team Sporting Kansas City has announced a five-year partnership with global packaging company Huhtamaki as part of plans to enhance sustainability at Children’s Mercy Park.

The company will work with Sporting KC to further reduce the environmental footprint of stadium operations at Children’s Mercy Park. Huhtamaki products will be integrated throughout the stadium with the goal of limiting waste by moving towards compostable and recyclable products in all premium spaces.

Sporting KC will also aim to introduce composting depositories at other local facilities operated by the club, including Central Bank Sporting Complex, Compass Minerals National Performance Center, Compass Minerals Sporting Fields and Swope Soccer Village. The club will also establish strategic messaging campaigns to increase awareness of compostable practices.

As the club’s official sustainable packaging provider, Huhtamaki will work with Sporting KC on community impact initiatives through support of Sporting Sustainability and The Victory Project.

The deal, which marks Huhtamaki’s first sports partnership in North America, also includes naming rights to the Huhtamaki Shield Club at Children’s Mercy Park. The space is a premium indoor destination, designed for guests to enjoy an “authentic Kansas City experience” inside a climate-controlled lounge featuring floor-to-ceiling windows with a midfield view of the pitch.

The 5,920-square-foot space includes a living wall made from dormant moss and the area is complete with local cuisine, multiple bars, a SportingStyle team store, an outdoor patio and 13 HDTV screens. The Huhtamaki Shield Club is accessible via private entrances from the Mazuma Plaza or UMB Premium Entry for ticket holders in sections 106-108 as well as fans with tickets to the UMB Field Club, Executive Level or Audi Sport Club.

Mark Mulherin, vice-president of hospitality at Sporting KC, said: “We share the same vision to create a sustainable guest experience with our innovative culinary approach and our overall stadium food and beverage initiatives. Offering an elevated food and beverage experience that focuses on environmental and sustainability efforts will be a continued approach for the 2023 season and beyond.”

Ann O’Hara, president of Huhtamaki North America, added: “We applaud the sustainability efforts of Sporting KC and are excited to work toward zero waste at Children’s Mercy Park. Working alongside Sporting Kansas City, we will demonstrate the circularity of packaging that is designed to protect food, people and the planet.

“Packaging sustainability starts with the end in mind. At Huhtamaki, we are innovating all our packaging to be recyclable or compostable. Our packaging ensures food is delivered safely and conveniently to consumers and then can be recycled and composted to protect our planet.”

Huhtamaki supplies packaging solutions for consumers around the world and its North American operations are based in De Soto, Kansas.