“The Football Business Awards 2012 dinner was immensely enjoyable.  Besides giving us a forum to mix and converse with our colleagues, we were able to give due recognition to those in our industry who are at the top of their game.” Bruce Buck, Chairman, Chelsea FC

“we can all see that there is clearly a place for this event within the football community.  And no doubt it is now firmly cemented into everyone’s diaries.”
 Claire Stokes, Founder, Managing Director, Circle Agency

“Good mix of people, good venue and awards ceremony” 
Vange Kourentis Sports Revolution |Group Commercial Director

“I thought the event was excellent. For any event to have such a good turn out in its first year you should feel proud of what the team pulled together.”
Neil Meredith, www.digitalgoals.co.uk

Teamer, one of the smaller businesses to win an award in 2012, believes this success has been key to its growth. Niall McEvoy, Teamer’s CEO explained:
‘Listing the award amongst our achievements when sitting with potential new brand partners is a powerful way to stand out. It is a very cost effective use of our marketing budget, whilst the event itself presents a great opportunity to spend time with leading football business influencers’.

Similarly Laura Hardy, Communications and Sponsorship Manager at The Continental Tyres Group, which won one of the Best Business Serving Football categories, believes the award has given their brand increased authority:
‘Winning the Football Business Award in its inaugural year was a real bonus for Continental. It gave us further credibility and recognition as a sponsor of football initiatives in England.’

Another brand taking home an award was Everton Football Club whose community programme emerged as last year’s victor. Christopher Clarke, Head of Business Development at Everton in the Communitysaid, ‘The award has added huge weight to our successes in securing more grants and public sector contracts than ever before. Such clear validity of our impact has allowed us to compete for funding that football club community schemes would not have traditionally have had any chance of securing. These include opportunities across health, employment and education and in many cases we are now seen as one of the key sector providers in our region.’

2012 Gallery

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2012 Award winners

Best Club Marketing Campaign in the UK

Winner – Wolverhampton Wanderers FC


What the judges said:

“Superb integrated campaign resulting in a fantastic ROI. A shining example of a marketing programme with pizazz and lasting effect”

‘My Wolves’, was the brainchild of a team of 6 staff at Wolverhampton Wanderers FC whose goal was to offer value to supporters whilst increasing attendance and retail spend. It constitutes a seasonal membership scheme offering a variety of generous and imaginative benefits to an identified group – those who cannot commit to a season ticket but want to commit to the club.

For £20 ‘My Wolves’ offered a range of ‘virtual cash’ incentives and rewards, discounts, smartcards and a loyalty points scheme for priority tickets. All incentives and rewards kept the spend recycled within the club, thereby disbursing significant value to the supporter whilst simultaneously generating increased profit for the club.

Despite a very disappointing season for the team, the results of ‘My Wolves’ surpassed expectations. The scheme resulted in very impressive increases in ticket sales, season tickets upgrades and merchandise sales; overall adding an estimated £600,000 of additional revenue to the club since its inception.


  • Arsenal Media Group
  • Aston Villa FC
  • Everton FC
  • Manchester City FC

Best Business Serving Football – up to £2m turnover

Winner – Statsports Technologies


What the judges said:

“A really well put together and supported entry. Impressive results through innovation in a competitive marketplace, with credible clients and testimonials. Statsports is definitely one to watch.”

Statsports Technologies Ltd has an annual turnover of over £1million and is market leader in the area of sports physiological player monitoring. They operate at top level clubs and international teams, in football and rugby, both in the UK and abroad.

Statsports have recently launched ‘The Viper’ – a system that allows coaches to monitor and analyse the physiological demands placed on footballers. With unprecedented insight into player potential and wellbeing it provides feedback and training based on the individuals’ requirements. The Viper can inform coaches when a player is over or undertrained and even when they are susceptible to injury. It is a bespoke service system and Statsports pass on all the expertise to their clients, enabling them to further develop and apply the system within the individual club’s preferences. Tony Strudwick, the fitness coach at Manchester United describes it thus: “…software solution and product support is untouchable in its class”.

Highly Commended – Piglets Pantry


  • Stadium Experience
  • The Aspire Group / Coventry FC
  • Quest for Future Solutions /
    Manchester United’s Environmental Management Action Group (EMAG)
  • Freestyle Football Federation
  • defibshop.co.uk

Best use of Social Media in Football

Winner – The Football Association


What the judges said

“This was a very cost effective yet very impactful use of social media to tackle a very important challenge for the development of the women’s game which was sustainable over the whole season.” 

For the 2012 FA Women’s Super League season, the FA launched a social media campaign to promote awareness and fan engagement, in turn boosting attendance and commercial sustainability.

The WSL has a great tradition of fans having access to players. The FA developed this further within their social media forums, giving all players social media training, and creating their own Facebook and Twitter accounts. Each club appointed one player as their Digital Ambassador, responsible for digitally engaging with fans and promoting their club. The ambassadors had their Twitter handle printed onto their strip, with hashtags advertised pitchside.

Further interactivity came via Facebook competitions such as ‘Best Goal’, and ‘Save of the Year’, and the live twitter commentary accompanying one game each week. ‘Call the Shots’ gave fans decision making powers over elements such as music played and mascot naming.

The campaigns proved its worth with 33,000 followers of the eight ambassadors, a 65% increase in Twitter followers and a 14% engagement on the WSL Facebook page.

Highly Commended – Arsenal Media Group


  • Manchester City FC
  • StreamUK
  • We R Interactive
  • Opta
  • WhoScored.com (Next-Game)
  • Samsung Electronics

Best Match Day Catering

Winner – Azure part of Elior UK


What the judges said:
“It is clear that Azure spend time listening to the fans. Feedback is excellent and 80% of fans now purchase food and beverage at the ground on match days.”

Azure, the caterer at the newly constructed American Express Community Stadium for Brighton & Hove Albion FC, have the unenviable task of catering for the needs of upto 22,000 fans – from 5 public concourses, 9 members lounges, 14 executive boxes, 2 exclusive lounges; and standalone beerstations. Throughout their dealings Azure emphasis quality and innovation. For example on top of the seasonal 174,816 pints of local Harveys sold, they also offer one guest beer from the away fans’ locality. Intelligent research led to flexibility in the 1901 bars allowing members to bring their family in for a relaxed pie and drink one week and offer formal corporate entertainment the next.

Azure pride themselves on locally sourced products, such as their unique and hugely popular pie, and their reasonable pricing. With an enviable average retail and transaction rates less than a minute per customer Azure are achieving double the average stadium food and beverage purchase. Enabling them to boost the club revenue an unexpected additional £1 million – not bad for a first season!


  • Aston Villa FC
  • Chelsea FC
  • Lindley Venue Catering

Best / Most Innovative use of Technology by Clubs

Winner – Manchester City FC


What the judges said:
“Man City have used  innovative technology to generate stronger relationships with supporters both locally and globally. A blueprint for social traction at a grand scale.”

Manchester City FC have been busy utilising a variety of technologies, to engage their fans. They developed City Square, a bespoke fanzone, and various apps that access online interactive augmented reality, remix music, and allow you to virtually lift the Premier League Trophy .

Maybe the most ambitious was City FanCam – a 360 degree, 5 billion pixel panorama capturing the matchday atmosphere inside the Etihad Stadium. A Twitter hashtag was created to encourage fans to dress in blue, and avatars of some of the team’s stars, chosen for their international appeal, were then placed amongst the 47,000 fans. The final visual was uploaded, allowing fans to zoom in on HD images of themselves, tag one another, share it on Facebook and Twitter and enter a competition to find the hidden stars. Within 2 days, 25,000 supporters had entered the competition. City FanCam has been visited over 235,000 times, those who spotted the avatars were invited to enter a further competition, the winner of which got a personalised video message from the player on their Facebook page. Particularly well received by City’s international fans across 63 countries, it had the dual effect of rewarding loyal fans whilst amplifying the City brand.

Highly Commended – FC Internazionale Milano


  • Stream UK / Liverpool FC
  • Fortress GB / Brighton FC
  • Imagineear / Arsenal FC

Best / Most Innovative use of Technology (Football Business)

Winner – Teamer


What the judges said:
“Teamer takes away all of the woes of organising a team with simple but effective tech solutions. It has fast become a significant technology tool for all communities.”

Teamer is an online sports team management platform. It provides team organisers with a secure private online space from which to communicate key team event information, manage player availability, and share team information, match reports, documentation and statistics. A team organiser saves an average of 3.5 hours a week by using Teamer.

As a result of an ambitious growth plan for 2012, they have grown their Facebook community to 32k, launched new channels including a dedicated sports market research solution, and secured key sponsorships and ongoing brand revenues.

They have moved into Australia, NZ and RSA whilst simultaneously expanding their UK & Ireland core markets. Teamer has grown to 1.5m members in total, with more than 450,000 football players and around 22,500 teams now relying on it. Teamer is now the grassroots sport team organisation platform of choice in the UK.


  • Atlas Premium Brands
  • Upshot
  • Performa Sports
  • Cavendish Imaging
  • Prozone Sports
  • WhoScored.com (Next-Game)

Best Club Community Scheme

Winner – Everton in the Community

TM2_5370What the Judges said:
“An excellent all round community scheme achieving excellent results. The statistics which support their social inclusion project are powerful and should help with gaining additional financial support.”

Everton in the Community extensively harnesses the power of sport to help those on the margins of society, with programmes directed at social inclusion, disability, young offenders and ex-military.

They run a Free School, their own BTEC, and 14 apprenticeships directed at those furthest removed from the employment market. Their social inclusion programme, Kickz, contributes a significant local drop in crime and anti-social behaviour.

The charity runs 26 disability teams, including deaf, blind and wheelchair, with three players selected for Team GB for the 2012 Paralympics. They deliver free workshops at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, giving 3,000 kids a year a happy break away from their beds.

They run a very successful employment scheme; and also the ‘Safe Hands’ scheme, offering up to 150 young offenders the chance to make lasting life changes.

Through ‘Imagine Your Goals’ hundreds of people living with mental health issues, are given space to talk and seek help. They have a full-time mental health football co-ordinator, run coaching workshops and created Merseyside’s first mental health football league.


  • The Tottenham Hotspur Foundation
  • QPR in the Community Trust
  • Wolves Community Trust
  • Albion In The Community
  • Saints Foundation
  • Bristol City Community Trust

Best Corporate Social Responsibility Scheme

Winner – Standard Chartered Bank – Seeing is Believing

TM2_5379The judges said:
“Uses the Football asset in an innovative way to deliver clear results. A very well thought through series of activities that raises awareness and funding for a great cause.”

Standard Chartered is the official sponsor of Liverpool FC and also heavily involved in the charity ‘Seeing is Believing’, aimed at raising awareness of preventable blindness. A large number of Liverpool fans live in countries where blindness is a serious issue, and the tie-in provides an opportunity to speak directly to them.

Through ‘The Perfect Match’ initiative Standard Chartered took the rare and generous step of replacing their own branding on Liverpool’s shirts with ‘Seeing is Believing’, for the last home game of the season against Chelsea, giving fantastic international exposure to the charity. Thirty nine limited edition signed shirts were sold on the bank website and further revenue for the charity, and exposure for the bank, was raised through accompanying Twitter and Facebook campaigns and an additional eBay auction of signed shirts.

The Perfect Match has raised over $135,000 to-date including donation matching from the bank and gift aid. All money raised went directly to delivering eye-care projects in underprivileged communities.


  • FC Internazionale Milano
  • Barclays Spaces for Sports & The Football Foundation
  • Manchester City FC
  • Football Foundation

Venue Team of the Year

Winner – The American Express Community Stadium – Brighton & Hove Albion FC


What the judges said:
“Crystal clear vision backed up with a plan and impressive results – this is a team delivering across all areas of the venue’s remit.”

Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club’s new 22,500 seat American Express Community Stadium has undeniably lived up to the club’s aim to ‘be the best at all we do’.

By emphasising customer service and quality at the forefront, the focus was on making each spectator day a ‘Customer Journey’ not just a match. High quality staff were trained to present world class service – polite, helpful, good humoured and professional – with an attitude that the fans could be your neighbours or friends, should be treated with respect and trusted not to misbehave.

By the end of the first year the stadium is managing more than 250 events each month with 90,000 people attending events and 670,000 having attended matches, concerts, conventions and 850 public tours.

Crowds have risen from 6,000 to 21,000, all 2,500 corporate hospitality seats and 14 executive boxes have been sold, and season ticket sales have reached the 15,500 cap. Each match during the season was sold out to home fans. At 83%, the stadium boasts the most supporters travelling by sustainable travel in the UK.


  • Aston Villa FC
  • Chelsea FC
  • Stadium of Light – Sunderland FC

Best Club Marketing Campaign Overseas

Winner – Coritiba Foot Ball Club


What the judges said:
“A fantastic image re-building programme. A difficult task but one that seems to have borne great results and extended their fan base far outside of the City.”

Coribita launched its “O mais vitorioso do mundo”, (most victorious in the world) campaign, following the Brazilian team’s official recognition by the Guinness Book of World Records of its record 24 victories in a row. Apart from celebrating the achievement in itself, the purpose of the campaign was twofold. Firstly to restore the club’s national image, having become severely tarnished by a violent pitch invasion in 2009. Secondly to create a membership plan that was not directly related to stadium access. With the complementary slogan “Be a winner as well” the scheme gave members priority discounted ticket sales, partnership discounts and exclusive invitations. The campaign launched on the club’s anniversary and the commencement of a new state-of-art training centre, and was backed up by a memorial jersey, new signage, radio, online, Twitter and YouTube.

Through the efforts of this campaign the club’s image was dramatically restored on a national level, with 59% of the new members being from outside the team’s home city.


  • Colorado Rapids Soccer Club
  • FC Internazionale Milano
  • SpecialOne / FC Zenit
  • Club Brugge

Best Business Serving Football – over £2m turnover

Winner – Continental Tyre Group

TM2_5401What the judges said:
“A clear commitment to the game and a fantastic example of a sponsor leveraging their rights and creating a valuable and engaging experience that matches their goals.”

Continental Tyre Group strongly support girl’s and women’s football through sponsorship of the FA Women’s Super League, and their recent funding of the 24 FA Girl’s Football Festivals. To tie in with Continental’s safety traditions they developed ContiWarmUp – a free web resource comprising exercises and drills designed to prevent football injury and improve performance.

WarmUp was integrated into the FA festivals and the Grassroots Football Show, alongside interactive speed cages and reflex ‘batak’ boards, ensuring a very memorable experience. The inclusive festivals welcomed everyone from novices to regional Centres of Excellence players, and each festival was attended by at least two International or WSL players. Experienced and new football coaches were invited, while FA coaches assisted in introducing the programme and on-site ipads demonstrated the programme and how to track progress for future WarmUp sessions.

Garnering wide and enthusiastic national and social media coverage, the festival attracted 4,800 participating girls, with 4,000 clubs now having free access to the on-line facility.


  • Harvey & Son (Lewes)
  • Kitbag
  • Lindley Venue Catering
  • Prozone Sports
  • StreamUK

Best Professional Service Business Serving Football

Winner – redboxdesign group


What the judges said:
“This project was delivered with real empathy for its surroundings, creating a state of the art facility which will have a huge impact on English football for generations. Exciting and inspirational.”

redboxdesign group is an international architecture practice who were given the challenging brief to develop St George’s Park, in the heart of the National Forest, into a new training home for the 24 England teams, and the best centre for coach education in the world. Working under the 6 words of Accessible, Aspirational, Rewarding, Stimulating, Sustainable and Symbolic, they unobtrusively integrated a modern well structured development into the landscape, with great flow and facilities, and a steady eye on sustainable methods and materials.

The facilities include Offices for FA Learning, coach and player development, the LMA, and the PFA, two hotels, a conference hall, education course facilities, a 60m x 40m top-lit indoor sports hall, Wembley-size indoor 3G pitch; biomechanics; altitude training room; hydrotherapy pools; changing facilities for 200 people; video analysis suites; physiotherapy and consulting rooms; drug and blood testing laboratory; and cardiovascular and recovery gyms.

The development was brought in on time and on budget at £100m.


  • KSS Design Group
  • Pinsent Masons
  • Turner Construction Company
  • Walker Morris

Best Retail / Merchandise Initiative

Winner – Aston Villa FC


What the judges said:
“Aston Villa made bold decisions regarding shirt sponsorship but they are now fully supported and understood by their community. Impressively they have achieved a clear uplift in sales year on year.”

Macron needed to win the hearts and minds of Aston Villa fans after replacing Nike as the club’s official kit manufacturer.
AstonVillaTV and the club photographer spent a week at Macron, Bologna, with key staff giving detailed overviews covering the design, manufacturing and distribution processes.

Delivered online, initially with a ‘Tease Campaign’, featuring the Bologna interviews: then the ‘Kit Unveil’ with the release of video and the official photo shoot. This coincided with a city-wide marketing campaign, ‘Beware of the Lions’, which tied in with a the new embossed lion on the shirt reverse. The website received 60,000 unique visitors during the 2-week campaign, with over 80,000 YouTube views. Fans were also invited to the free official kit launch weekend at Villa Park, with live music, fairground rides, stadium tours and an appearance from Aston Villa’s new manager Paul Lambert..

The campaign helped create a very positive perception of Macron, and sales for the new home shirt were the best in a decade. Sales of the away shirt were the best ever!


  • ATB Games
  • Brighton & Hove Albion FC
  • Lindley Venue Catering
  • MOC Games
  • Randers FC / Loyal Solutions

Club Sponsorship / Partnership of the Year

Winner – Manchester City FC / EA SPORTS (Circle Agency)


What the judges said:
“An excellent demonstration of how to really work the assets of club and sponsor – with both parties benefiting significantly and the fan getting real added value.”

Circle agency were retained to create enthusiastic fan engagement for the partnership between EA SPORTS FIFA 2012 and Manchester City FC. They embedded the EA brand into football culture, appealing to potential and existing gamers alike, whilst ensuring authenticity and mutual benefit to the partnership.

This was achieved in three ways:
Creation of experiential zones at Etihad Stadium – a pop up installation generating around 30,000 footfall per match, a ‘Dugout’ FIFA roadshow trailer, and a further playstation inside the family stand. This has generated 23,800 hands-on gaming demonstrations since November

Secondly was the creation of bespoke in-game content. They recreated real-life match situations–such as the league win over QPR, played by 5m people in a week; and an engine result predictor. The new home strip and signee Samir Nasri were both first seen in-game.

Thirdly Circle utilised the existing social media of both partners, driving traffic and running competitions to grow an international database. Match simulations were posted on YouTube, and an innovative Foursquare competition was invented.


  • American Express / Brighton & Hove Albion FC
  • Aston Villa FC / Macron
  • Samsung Electronics / Swindon FC
  • UCFB (University College of Football Business) / Burnley FC
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers FC / LaSer UK

Sponsorship / Partnership of the Year (Football Business)

Winner – Barclays Spaces for Sports & The Football Foundation


What the judges said:
“Large investment into facilities creating a legacy which can outlive the sponsorship – the results to date are impressive and the programme has made a real impact for local communities”

Barclays Spaces for Sports’ is a joint venture between Barclays and The Football Foundation, to develop 200 self-sustaining community sports sites in some of the most deprived areas of the UK. Here people can play football or other sports, engage in social activities or develop key life skills including coaching and leadership qualifications, education, financial literacy and employment programmes. Participation, not sporting excellence, is the focus.

Barclays £30m initial investment was matched by FF, and used to develop the 174 ‘local sites’ alongside 26 ‘flagship sites’, linked to Premier and Football League Clubs. In 2011, the Barclays Spaces for Sports sites were used by approximately 53,000 people each week, with 18,000 people taking part in sport, of which 14,000 played football.

The scheme addresses social challenges with a variety of innovative solutions and partnerships across the country. In addition BS4S employs six Activity Sustainability Advisors who provide practical expertise to help struggling sites.


  • ESPN / Budweiser
  • The FA / Mars
  • Vauxhall / Carat Sponsorship

fcbusiness Magazine Football CEO of the Year Award

Winner – Karren Brady


Karren Brady came back to the world of football business with a bang this year. By helping West Ham back to the Barclays Premier League at the first time of asking, she became a member of an elite group of Chief Executives who have lifted two clubs from the Championship to Premier League.

When West Ham was bought, it was on the verge of administration from previous ownership. Karren led a team which not only helped start the process of putting it on a sound financial footing, but supported manger Sam Allardyce to  ensure he could do what was needed on the pitch.

Alongside these achievements, she continues her work as a mentor, encouraging the next generation of talented female business leaders to break through the glass ceiling.

On top of that, she sneaks in an appearance on a little-known BBC TV show as a hobby. Last week, she was hired as the FC Business Magazine Football CEO of the Year!


  • Robert Elstone -Everton
  • Ivan Gazidas – Arsenal
  • Nigel Clibbens – Huddersfield
  • Tony Kleanthous – Barnet