It was an exciting and emotional night at Stamford Bridge for the Football Business Awards. A number of the underdogs triumphed this year with Notts County for example winning the “Best Club Marketing” Award and Sporting Memories winning “Best Community Scheme”

Sam Rush from Derby County won the overall CEO of the year whilst Peter Kenyon won the “Outstanding Contribution to Football” Award. It was a special moment indeed when Sir Bobby Charlton gave a speech in acceptance of his “Global Football Ambassador” Award.

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2014 Winners

A message from Bruce Buck

Best Club Marketing Campaign

Winner – Notts County Football Club

FBA_2014_WNR001Notts Countys BENCH program was designed to engage supporters on the core reasons that created Footballs Character and strong presence in their lives historically. Using a strong Media team to capture each “signing” of a season ticket holder and modern technology to circulate the concept and program, the strategy was built around technology being the delivery tool rather than the attraction. Team, membership, ownership, inclusion,pride, sincerity, equality,nostalgia all combined with tactile experiences, seeing, smelling, feeling the club in it’s working, living, breathing daily life, to delivery a meaningful campaign that saw supporters and staff alike gain new energy and enthusiasm for the club.

The judges said: The Bench project is a fantastic example of how Clubs can lead the way in creative marketing. Notts County have truly opened the doors with this novel project and reaped the rewards. The results provide a counter argument to the view that commercial gain is dependent upon success on the pitch.


Best Business Serving Football
– up to £2m turnover (non professional service)

Winner – Perform, at St. George’s Park


FBA_2014_WNR002Perform is the Official Healthcare Partner of St. George’s Park, operating a 25,000 square-foot sports medicine centre combining innovative technologies, elite expertise, sports medicine and science to improve performance in football. It aims to provide the best environment and clinical support to its users – the 24 England football teams, the PFA, the LMA, visiting professional teams and the PGMO. It also offers the wider football family access to this expertise to rehabilitate and improve the health/performance of players and managers. Perform is part of leading private hospital group Spire Healthcare, seamlessly offering secondary pathways such as scanning and surgery.

The judges said: Sports science is now an integral part of all football teams’ operations and Perform provides excellent support for both professional and local teams. FIFA approval is great testament to the work that they do. A fantastic business that has integrated very well into the football world.


Best Business Serving Football
– over £2m turnover (non professional service)

Winner – ADI UK

FBA_2014_WNR003Ahead of the 2013/14 season ADI undertook a game-changing project for the Premier League and Football League – to expand the company’s Live Venue fibre network and connect all 92 professional football league stadia to the company’s SportsHub operations centre – transforming the way football content is delivered to fans screens booth in the UK and across the globe. Tasked with connecting 92 stadia to the Live Venue network, ADI installed some 28,000km of fibre optic cabling, creating a platform through which all Premier League and Football League live match feeds are now delivered to broadcasters – providing greater immediacy and an increased number of camera feeds from every game to enhance the viewing experience and add value to the broadcast rights. ADI now delivers over 8,000 live feeds each season – realising the vision that has enabled the Premier League to boost television revenue to over £5bn and the ability for the Football League to deliver live match feeds to broadcasters for the first time.

The judges said: Enhancing the quality of broadcasting is central to the development strategy of the Premier League and ADI are playing a major role in that development. Big tasks handled with great expertise and knowledge. Outstanding.

Best Football Club Hospitality

Winner – Chelsea Football Club

FBA_2014_WNR004Chelsea Football Club continually invests in new products and services to better their customer service offering whilst delivering a product that’s accessible across their entire customer base. After such a successful 2012/2013 season, the bar was raised to ensure the team bettered their performance against the previous year with targets relating to both profitability and customer retention in order to deliver value for money for the customer and commercial success for the business. New hospitality packages have been designed and introduced to reflect the individual needs of Chelsea FC’s diverse customer base – including a unique accessible hospitality experience in the UTB Sports Lounge which has been very well received. In addition, a new global partnership with Levy Restaurants signed this year has seen much change and diversity in the food offering and new technologies such as a dedicated Hospitality Mobile App, have also been introduced this year to further enhance the guest experience.

The judges said: Chelsea have broadened the appeal of their hospitality and had some outstanding results. Some very strong initiatives including their mobile app. They really do care about their customers and have achieved impressively high renewal rates.

Best / Most Innovative use of Technology
– club specific

Winner – Firstkind Ltd with West Ham United


FBA_2014_WNR005The innovative OnPulse™ NMES technology powering the firefly™ and geko™ devices, brought to the market by Firstkind Ltd, is used by football players to enhance sports recovery. The size of a wrist watch and worn at the knee, small electrical impulses stimulate the nerve to increase blood circulation in the lower legs, improving recovery after high intensity exercise and to aid recovery after injury. A convenient and effective sports recovery tool for elite athletes seeking marginal gains for improved performance, OnPulse™ technology is used by football teams across the UK as part of their recovery strategies. The perfect addition to a footballer’s kit bag!

The judges said: OnPulse is clinically proven to reduce delayed onset muscle soreness. Results are particularly effective in the first 24 hours post injury. Brilliant and innovative. Firefly is now part of West Ham’s recovery protocol.

Best / Most Innovative use of Technology
– non-club specific


Winner – FIFA

FBA_2014_WNR006The success of the Global Stadium during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil forever changed the way in which worldwide sporting events are digitally consumed. FIFA Digital has established this groundbreaking platform as a barometer for future products and organisations to use technology to effectively reach a worldwide target audience, the success of which will likely remain uncontested for a long while to come.

The judges said: The success of the Global Stadium during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil forever changed the way in which worldwide sporting events are digitally consumed. Billions of fans also enjoyed the World Cup from the comfort of their own homes, at work, on the move. Truly groundbreaking.

Best Football Community Scheme

Winner – Sporting Memories Network

FBA_2014_WNR007Sporting Memories Network uses memories of football and sport to engage older fans living with dementia, depression & those at risk of social isolation. Working with 200 organisations, we have created over 100 sporting memories groups in community venues including at football stadiums. We create sustainable, accessible, volunteer-led community projects. At our project in Bristol, former Rovers players facilitate weekly group activities. In addition to recalling favourite moments of football, the activities frequently reignite a desire for participants to engage in physical activity and exercise, a key factor in living well with dementia and in alleviating low mood and depression.

The judges said: Sporting Memories are achieving excellent results in tackling 3 major challenges facing an ageing population – dementia, depressions and social isolation. Their project work is first class in all aspects. This is a really inspirational programme and it is great to see so many clubs involved.


Best Corporate Social Responsibility Scheme


Winner – Tottenham Hotspur Football Club

FBA_2014_WNR008Tottenham Hotspur has developed a partnership with NHS England (London)’s ‘Get to know cancer’ (GTKC) campaign, aimed at using the unique appeal of the Club to raise awareness of cancer symptoms and promote early diagnosis. Adopting the slogan ‘THFC – Tottenham Hotspur Fighting Cancer’, the Club has set about supporting through a combination of high profile events with first-team players and dedicating one home game each month to raising awareness of the campaign. Tottenham Hotspur’s support for GTKC has generated national, regional and international media coverage, and received the backing of Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. Following an overwhelming response from fans, the Club extended its partnership for a second season.

The judges said: This campaign successfully raises awareness of the cancer risk for many people in disadvantaged communities. Brave, local and relevant, the results show both the reach of the campaign and the engagement. 


Best Match Day Experience


Winner – Manchester City Football Club

FBA_2014_WNR009Manchester City Football Club aspires to be the best in all areas of customer service and continuously strives to create the most memorable match day experience in the world. From on stage entertainment in City Square- their pre match entertainment programme, to their coveted Playmakers, to gaming in the EA Blue Zone, there really is something for everyone to enjoy at the Ethiad. Win or lose, the experience at MCFC is one of a kind and whether you are a home or away fan, new to the stadium or a season ticket holder, your day will be truly unforgettable.

The judges said: A truly magnificent effort in engaging with their their fan base both within and around their stadium. Efforts to improve transport, the myriad of activities at Fan Zones and the consideration of international fans have all contributed to this success 

Best Football App


Winner – Everton Football Club

FBA_2014_WNR010Everton Football Club has always prided itself on its position as an innovator in the sporting arena, from the first club to wear numbers 1-11 on shirts, the first English club to boast a purpose-built stadium and, in a more modern context, the first club to launch its own official app across ios and Android platforms. That eagerness to remain ahead of the curve in order to deliver innovative and engaging digital platforms for fans has seen the Club move into uncharted territory in the last year with the runaway success of the latest iteration of its official Club app. It is a success story founded on engaging, innovative interactive content, access to free video and the ability to purchase tickets and retail from the app. A single app platform, it is a native solution that maximises the potential of Android, iPhone and iPad devices.

The judges said: Everton is clearly pushing boundaries within the digital world and has incorporated the app into this. Bringing together written and video content, alongside commercial and ticketing capabilities across multiple platforms was ambitious but the results tell their own story.


Best Non-match Day use of Venue

Winner – Royal Berkshire Conference Centre, Madejski Stadium, Reading

FBA_2014_WNR011This year around the 53 fixtures of the Madejski stadium, the RBCC has created a turnover of £2.8m, an increase of 16% YOY with target profit also being met. The team introduced a self-taught rate management system and increased pro-activity to meet the target and secure a number of high profile events. Standards have not been compromised with consistently good client feedback including ‘your innovation and passion is inspirational’ The Team has seamlessly managed the Pride of Reading, Waitrose Supplier Conference, Primark Spring/Summer launch and a number of last minute events after flooding in the area, winning the title of Operations Team of the Year at the Football Hospitality Awards.

The judges said: The team met and exceeded tough targets in a very challenging operational environment with innovative solutions and hard work attracting outstanding feedback. An impressive example of how a focused team effort and a never say no attitude can deliver impressive returns to non match day business.


Best Professional Service Business
Serving Football

Winner – Brabners LLP

FBA_2014_WNR012Brabners’ sports team has over 35 years’ experience of advising in football. We are recognised as the true market leader in the football industry, advising on a national and international basis. We provide a full range of legal services, including regulatory and commercial advice, to a wide range of clients within football, including clubs from the Premier League, Football League and Scottish Premier League, player associations (including the Professional Footballers’ Association), governing bodies, individual players, agents and businesses operating in football, including sponsors.

The judges said: Brabners has done an excellent job of covering the space at a high profile level, they acted on 5 out of the top 10 most expensive summer signings in 2014 – their client list as well as industry expertise is significant. 


Best Fan Engagement by Club

Winner – Queens Park Rangers Football Club

FBA_2014_WNR013The #weRtogether campaign emerged after the club narrowly missed out on automatic promotion to the Premier League. The campaign was designed to use engaging and social content across multiple channels to unite the fans, players and staff at QPR during a period of immense importance to achieve its ultimate goal, promotion back to the Premier League. After 18 months of uncertainty, relegation and divided support, the #weRtogether built bridges and united the club when it was really needed.

The judges said: A really strong and rounded campaign to create togetherness amongst the fans when it was really required. The club used an extensive array of assets to ensure the campaign was as effective as possible.


Sponsorship / Partnership of the Year

Winner – Football Foundation / Barclays Spaces for Sport

FBA_2014_WNR014In 2004 Barclays partnered with the Football Foundation, the nation’s largest sports charity, creating a community-based sports programme which used sport as a platform to engage young people from disadvantaged communities and show them the benefits of developing life skills. In the past ten years the partnership has invested over £67m in the programme with Barclays contribution representing the biggest investment in community football by a private company in the UK. The funding has created 202 Barclays Spaces for Sports sites with the majority in the top 20% most deprived areas of the country. 53,000 people attend these facilities every week and in doing so ensure all sites are there for future generations to enjoy, which is one of the programme’s primary aims.

The judges said: The partnership between Barclays and the Football Foundation has impacted local communities hugely. The over-arching goal of the Partnership’s 10th anniversary was to ensure successful sustainability through hands-on practical support. This was a great initiative with strong results. Well worthy of recognition.


fcbusiness CEO of the Year


Overall Winner – Sam Rush, CEO Derby County FC



fc Business CEO of the Year – The Premier League

Winner – Ivan Gazidis, Arsenal Football Club 

fc Business CEO of the Year – The Championship

Winner – Sam Rush, Derby County Football Club

fc Business CEO of the Year – League One

Winner – Robbie Cowling, Colchester United 

fc Business CEO of the Year – League Two

Winner – Russ Green, Hartlepool United FC


fc Business CEO of the Year – The Scottish Premiership

Winner – Steve Brown, St. Johnstone Football Club



Global Football Ambassador

Winner – Sir Bobby Charlton

A message from Bruce Buck



Marks of Excellence

Best Club Marketing Campaign

Mark of Excellence – Aston Villa Football Club


Tickets for Schools Like many football clubs, Aston Villa has to work very hard to fill seats for home games. In season 13/14 Aston Villa introduced Tickets 4 Schools (T4S), a scheme designed to build relations with local schools and acquire thousands of new fans. Aston Villa issued T4S vouchers free of charge to local primary schools. These vouchers were then sold by the schools to pupils. Pupils then redeemed these vouchers for tickets (game of their choice). This enabled schools to generate money, pupils to get cheap tickets and Aston Villa to acquire thousands of new fans. T4S has been a resounding success. 18,733 people have attended a home game on a T4S ticket, with 98% saying they would return to Villa Park.

Best Business Serving Football

Mark of Excellence – PureNet


PureNet is an eCommerce specialist with an impressive track record in football and sports retail. We have delivered solutions to Birmingham City, West Ham Utd, West Bromwich Albion and Norwich City 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, ticketing and CRM systems, to deliver a truly joined-up solution. We use leading edge technology to deliver real business benefits to our football clients, booting revenues and delivering demonstrable results.

Best Football Club Hospitality
– over £2m turnover (non professional service)

Mark of Excellence – Walsall Football Club


Walsall Football Club, as a whole from Chairman to Receptionist, have adopted the ‘You Said, We Did’ approach to a fan’s experience on Matchday. We have listened to our fans, sponsors and hospitality guests and allowed them to help shape our Hospitality direction. We meet the challenge of providing quality and value for money in a competitive environment head on by constantly seeking ways to provide a highly tailored service and by treating all customers as individuals with their own needs, expectations and ideals.We see our customers truly as invited guests, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better – it’s a job that we are proud to do and to do well.

Best Football Community Scheme

Mark of Excellence – Crystal Palace FC Foundation


The Crystal Palace Foundation’s submission to the Football Business Awards is based on spotlighting how a comparatively small team can make a long-standing and far-reaching impression in our communities. We are proud to be based in South East London and believe we can be a key contributor and driver of the wider rejuvenation process, particularly in our home borough of Croydon. We stand for the passion of the fans, the tenacity of the CPFC team and the pride of our local communities. Raising the aspirations and broadening the horizons of our local people are key priorities and we firmly believe that we can, and do, provide the backdrop for positive change. To be selected among some of the most highly regarded Foundations, not just in London, but in the country, i

s a real honour for us.

Best Football App

Mark of Excellence – TribeHive Ltd, Brighton and Hove Albion, and University of Sussex


TribeHive, Brighton and Hove Albion and the University of Sussex have worked together to utilise networking technology built for space communication within an app that boosts connectivity for fans.  In this way, fans get an app that provides live scores, match statistics, twitter and other services better than any other app,  and the club has the digital gaze centered on the messages the club wants to deliver to the fan. The technology has been running for the last 18 months at the Amex stadium, and is now being used by QPR, Birmingham, Bolton, Middlesbrough and Watford, as well as Brighton.

Best Non-match Day use of Venue

Mark of Excellence – Emirates Stadium


What do Muse, Simon Cowell, Citroen, Barclaycard and the Jamaican Olympic team have in common? They have all held events at The Emirates Stadium – home of Arsenal F.C. Hosting concerts, private parties, awards ceremonies, conferences, exhibitions, weddings, meetings, corporate on-pitch activities, charity events and even the X Factor London auditions, the Emirates Stadium is uniquely versatile – capable of catering for a wide range of events.