Ray Stubbs and Mark Lawrenson were the hosts for the second annual Football Business Awards on 7th November where 480 gathered at Chelsea Football Club to find out which clubs and businesses in the football industry have been excelling off rather than on the pitch.

2013 Awards Gallery

2013 Awards Winners

Best Business Serving Football – up to £2m turnover


  • Green Star Media
  • London Football Association Ltd
  • Matchsaver Limited
  • Twentyfour7 Football Magazine

Winner – PureNet

_Football-Business-Awards-74PureNet is an eCommerce specialist with an impressive track record in sports retail. PureNet has delivered solutions to Birmingham City, West Bromwich Albion and West Ham Utd as well as other sporting brands in football, rowing, cycling and equestrian disciplines. PureNet provides football clubs, like all its clients, with a joined up, integrated eCommerce site that interfaces with every element of the club, such as back-office and CRM systems, to deliver a truly joined up solution. Our entry centres on how PureNet’s football eCommerce e deployments have seen dramatic increases in our club clients’ online revenues year on year.

The judges said:
“PureNet have identified a business need for the football industry, delivered for their clients in a difficult environment and have shown significant sales success. A demonstrable success with significant rollout potential.” 

Best Business Serving Football – over £2m turnover


  • St. George’s Park
  • StreamUK
  • The FA Group

Highly Commended – Designwerk 

Winner – Opta

_Football-Business-Awards-66Opta are a business that impacts the world of football in almost every possible sphere.

We collect live information from matches the world over. Over 1,600 individual pieces of data from every match in all of the top leagues and competitions across the globe.

This means a few things:

– Opta has developed the biggest and most detailed database of football information in the world.
– We’re able to use that database, and the live data that feeds it, to create a suite of products that are unmatched in our industry.
– These products and our data are used in every corner of football

The judges said:
“Almost everybody within the game relies on and depends on this company: Broadcasters, Digital publishers, Printers, Betting companies, Sponsors and Clubs. Fantastic work, underpinning so much of the value in sports today.” 

Best/Most Innovative use of Technology by Football Clubs


  • Birmingham City Football Club
  • WBA Football Club

Highly Commended – Arsenal Football Club

Winner – QPR Football Club

_Football-Business-Awards-71Having pushed the boundaries of innovation in their CRM and fan engagement strategy throughout the 2012/13 season, QPR Football club worked closely with agencies Sports Alliance, Ticketmaster and Blueclaw to design and implement the highly-personalised ‘#ForeverRs’ Season Ticket pre-sale campaign, driven by insight. The use of pioneering technologies allowed the club to gather real-time insight, which was innovatively applied to give fans a tailored customer journey across multiple channels, leveraging personal relationships with fans and ultimately driving sales. The campaign resulted in exceptional ROI and record sales despite relegation from the Barclays Premier League.

The judges said:
“The combination of a club-wide strategy to retain season ticket sales, combined with this extremely effective technology solution was an undoubted success. All achieved after a disappointing season and at nearly 50% of the cost of the previous year’s campaign.”

Best/Most Innovative use of Technology in Football


  • Collstream
  • Huggity
  • OptaPro
  • SportSessionPlanner.com
  • Teamer
  • Wyscout

Winner – Social Pundit

_Football-Business-Awards-69Social Pundit (www.socialpundit.co.uk) is the world’s first Sports Social Media monitoring and insight service that not just allows teams to measure their return-on-investment from Social Media, but also track their athletes on Twitter. Using a database of over 5,000 “trigger words”, Social Pundit monitors athletes and staff in realtime and will alert your club everytime a player tweets something potentially embarrassing to the brand. Additionally, by combining an online dashboard and access to a team of analysts, Social Pundit offers real full service consultancy, reporting and monitoring whether you want to a track a hashtag or get advice on your season ticket campaign.

The judges said:
“A neat and effective solution to a genuine problem. It brings together multiple dynamics and ensures an output that anyone in the business can utilise. Extremely user friendly and simple. Great stuff.” 

Best Football Club Hospitality


  • Cardiff City Football Club
  • Chelsea Football Club
  • Everton Football Club
  • Manchester United Football Club

Winner – Manchester City Football Club

_Football-Business-Awards-65Manchester City Football Club has grown from strength to strength on the pitch, but we’ve ensured that all aspects of our business off the pitch deliver the same high standards and value for money. Our approach to hospitality is to provide added value to guests, create immersive experiences and offer innovative, distinct products. Guests can select experiences from a range of products to suit a range of budgets. Our new catering partnership with Jamie Oliver is a further example of our commitment to providing an absorbing dining experience, combining the creativity of Jamie Oliver, with impeccable service.

The judges said:
“The occupancy figures and the sheer number of improvements is mightily impressive. Highly innovative with strong partnerships in place to enhance match experience to a wider demographic.” 

Best Football Community Scheme


  • Albion in the Community (Brighton & Hove Albion’s charity)
  • Continental Tyres
  • Foundation of Light
  • Leyton Orient Community Sports Programme
  • Sport Esprit Academy
  • West Ham United Community Sports Trust

Highly Commended – Fulham FC Foundation

Winner – Everton in the Community

_Football-Business-Awards-64Everton in the Community was established in 1988, in response to the many social and economic challenges facing the region, with the aim of engaging local people in positive and inspiring community-based activities. The iconic symbol of Everton Football Club continues to give hope to many and in this, our 25th anniversary year, the Charity has embarked on one of its most powerful and successful campaigns to date, maintaining our position as one of the most dynamic community schemes in world football. Highlights in the last year include becoming the first club community scheme in the country to be awarded a Free School by the Government.

The judges said:
“Absolutely superb. The scale and breadth of the impact of the programmes is quite incredible. The Everton the Community programme is interwoven into everything Everton does and stands for in its community. Quite brilliant! 

Best Corporate Social Responsibility Scheme


  • Aston Villa Football Club
  • Budweiser and The FA
  • Cardiff City Football Club
  • Freestyle Football Federation
  • Liverpool Football Club

Highly Commended – West Ham United Community Sports Trust

Winner – Albion in the Community (Brighton & Hove Albion’s Charity)

_Football-Business-Awards-78Albion in the Community’s groundbreaking community partnership programme with American Express, Realise the Potential of Community reached new heights in 2013.

Driven by a mutual commitment to reduce inequality gaps within local communities, the partnership is centred on a community volunteer programme, which sees Amex staff work alongside AITC employees to deliver projects that;

  • help tackle childhood obesity,
  •  provide supervised days out for local disabled children and families,
  •  support local unemployed people to get back into work, and
  • deliver family education sessions for parents and their children.

In 2012 the programme directly benefitted 3,222 local people – a staggering 312% more than 2011, and saw 712 American Express employees volunteer in the scheme, a three-fold increase on the previous year.

The judges said:
“A superb entry highlighting a huge amount of activity. An excellent example of a corporate and club partnership working well, involving staff as well as a large number of members of the community.” 

Best Non-match Day use of Venue


  • Anfield Stadium Liverpool
  • Arsenal Football Club – Emirates Stadium
  • Wembley Stadium

Winner – Chelsea Football Club

_Football-Business-Awards-83Chelsea Football Club’s Stamford Bridge stadium opened in 1905 and has been an established football club since that time. With 30 matches per season, there are over 330 non match days annually.  In 1993 CFC therefore introduced meetings and events and has since then cultivated London’s most complete venue, resulting in one of the UK’s most developed stadia for non match days and filling the venue on non-match days.A wide range of target audiences now utilise CFC and its excellent facilities – corporate, international tourists and leisure.

The judges said:
“Chelsea really work the limited space they have to maximum effect. The venue is effectively used every non-match day, in highly imaginative ways and with impressive results. A highly flexible space with excellent customer service.” 

Best use of Social Media in Football


  • Aston Villa Football Club
  • Budweiser
  • Manchester United Football Club
  • Royal Belgian Football Association

Highly Commended – EA SPORTS

Winner – Opta

_Football-Business-Awards-68Opta’s family of accounts is a genuine Twitter phenomenon.

We’ve used the stats in our database, which were previously only ever supplied to a b2b audience, to create a set of must-follow accounts.

The results have been spectacular, with the accounts resulting in a following of over 600,000 and regularly topping 30,000 retweets and 5,000 mentions in a single week.

We’ve used Twitter as a central facet of a B2Bc marketing strategy in which we’ve targeted the end users of our products (football fans) in order to drive pull-through and increase revenue from our core business audience.

The judges said:
“Opta’s Twitter feed, through the use of Characters is informative, engaging and promotes additional interest in the brand. It is scaleable, innovative and has undoubtedly delivered commercial results. Brilliant!” 

Best UK Club Marketing Campaign


  • Everton Football Club
  • Manchester United Football Club
  • QPR Football Club
  • WBA Football Club

Winner – Aston Villa Football Club, The Missing 15

_Football-Business-Awards-67‘Missing 15’ saw us attract 5,270 of our 15,730 lapsed season ticket holders back to Villa Park in 2012-13.

Following extensive analysis, the ‘Missing 15’ were whittled down and split into groups, helping us identify the most valuable supporters and families.

At Christmas, club legend Ian Taylor delivered cards to the homes of 30 families and spent around 30 minutes with each one.

This along with several other initiatives led to 34% of the ‘Missing 15’ returning as ticket or half season ticket purchasers, generating £584,000 in ticketing revenue. 620 of these are now 2013-14 season ticket holders.

The judges said:
“This is an outstanding example of how CRM can be used effectively to support a sales campaign. A well segmented and personalized marketing campaign, which delivered impressive results and significantly increased revenue.” 

Football Brand of the Year


  • Budweiser
  • Continental Tyres
  • Opta
  • St. George’s Park

Winner – FIFA Interactive World Cup

_Football-Business-Awards-63The FIFA Interactive World Cup (FIWC) is an annual tournament organised by FIFA in cooperation with EA SPORTS™ and Sony PlayStation® with the goal to find the best virtual football player in the world. The tournament is hosted on the PlayStation network and can be accessed via EA SPORTS’ FIFA 14, engaging with football fans all over the world. The FIWC has held its place in the Guinness Book of Records since 2010, breaking its own record every year and firmly establishing itself as the biggest videogames tournament in the world with 2.5 million competitors in 2013.

The judges said:
“FIFA Interactive World Cup really has become a brand of note with 2.5 million players competing in 2013 from around the world. It also raises awareness of players and teams that exist in the ‘real’ world. Fantastic work” 

Best Professional Service Business Serving Football


  • Garners Food Service Equipment
  • Pinsent Masons
  • Sport Value Credit Management
  • Walker Morris LLP

Winner – Bluefin Sport

_Football-Business-Awards-84The FA appointed Bluefin Sport as the insurance broker to deliver a brand new concept called The National Game Insurance Scheme (NGIS).  Our appointment presented us with the challenge of turning the vision of the NGIS into reality by creating a range of products and launching a scheme across England.

The NGIS provides a uniformity of cover, economies of scale and significantly improved insurance products for the National Game.  The scheme is also a new concept to encourage education and promote a risk management approach that should in turn help to provide a sustainable future for the grassroots game.

The judges said:
“Great portfolio of schemes that cover all insurance requirements from Grass Roots to the National Team. They do an excellent job in explaining risk to a broad range of people in football. Great results.”

Football Sponsorship/Partnership of the Year


  • Elite Soccer – Green Star Media / League Managers Association
  • Millwall Football Club / Prostate Cancer UK
  • Peter’s Food Service Ltd / Cardiff Football Club
  • Wonga.com / Newcastle United FC

Winner – The FA Cup with Budweiser

_Football-Business-Awards-81Having secured strong awareness of the sponsorship during the first season, Budweiser sought deeper engagement with football fans and therefore put social media at the heart of the solution through its #ToTheDream campaign in season two. In an FA Cup first, collecting user-generated photography via Facebook and Twitter, the main innovative solution was to produce an FA Cup Fan Film that would be broadcast on TV, and inside Wembley Stadium, minutes before The FA Cup Final. In addition, all other activations were developed to ensure Budweiser’s key objectives were met and allowed for continual conversation around the sponsorship to remain throughout the tournament.

The judges said:
‘To The Dream’ was a very catchy tagline play which grabbed fans’ interest, daring to dream their team could win the cup. This was a big ticket sponsorship with many components which was packaged into a thorough and integrated campaign. It delivered outstanding results.” 

Football Business Writer of the Year


  • Bill Wilson
  • Christian Radnedge
  • Nick Harris

Winner – Ashling O’Connor

A newspaper journalist of 17 years’ experience with a reputation for delivering exclusives, setting agendas and offering incisive analysis of the biggest stories within sport. Ashling’s specialism, built up over the last decade and a strong network of contacts, centres on the business and politics of the industry and its biggest players – both on and off the field. She led The Times’ award-winning coverage of the Olympics, which was widely regarded as the best in Fleet Street.  Ashling’s work has covered three summer Olympic Games and one winter, the World Cup, the Rugby World Cup, the Ryder Cup as well as Wimbledon, The Open, Formula 1 and numerous other international events. Prior to joining The Times, she was at the Financial Times covering the media industry.

The judges said:
“Ashling used her excellent sources to follow a story relevant to those of us who love sport and also to those people who believe public money should be spent elsewhere. A brave article in a space of intrigue, claim and counter-claim.” 

Innovation Award


  • Major League Soccer
  • Mask-arade
  • St. George’s Park
  • Teamer
  • We R Interactive

Highly Commended – Forest Green Rovers/Ecotricity

Winner – Cardiff City Football Club

_Football-Business-Awards-79We strive to provide the best possible match day experience for everyone that enters the stadium and the away end is no different. We have made a huge changes to make our away stand feel like a home from home. We ensure that all the information visiting fans need to know ahead of their visit is communicated to them efficiently so that they make the most of out of their time not only at the stadium but in the city as a whole. The staff that work within the stand work incredibly hard to ensure that everyone has a great day and leave happy whatever the result. We have had a fantastic response from all of those that have visited and boast a large array of thank you letters.

The judges said:
“Excellent innovation. Cardiff seem to have got the ‘service culture’ into their staff. A great example of how a true engagement strategy can deliver impressive commercial results and delight both home and away fans.” 

fcbusiness Football CEO of the Year
  • Premier League – Tony Scholes, Stoke City FC
  • Championship – Paul Barber, Brighton & Hove Albion FC
  • Division One – Mick Horton, Tranmere Rovers FC
  • Division Two – Russ Green, Hartlepool United FC
  • Scottish Premiership – Kenny Cameron, Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC

Overall Winner – Paul Barber


Outstanding Contribution to Football

Winner – Richard Scudamore