The Official Shortlist of the Sport Industry Awards 2020 has been revealed, highlighting an industry rich in creativity and innovation that has used an incredibly successful sporting year to bring about new collaborations, ground-breaking achievements and entrepreneurial invention.
In a year that saw Eliud Kipchoge become the first human to break the two-hour marathon mark, the England Men’s Cricket Team take home the ICC Cricket World Cup in dramatic fashion, and the England Women’s Football Team and England Men’s Rugby Team reach new heights at respective World Cups, the Official Shortlist reflects the creativity that these opportunities offered, and the agile and exciting brains behind the campaigns that brought them to life.
The world’s biggest brands have been richly rewarded, with the likes of EA SPORTS, Visa, adidas, Coca-Cola, and American Express among the incredible organisations to be represented. INEOS, meanwhile, scooped five nominations after making an immediate splash in the world of sport in 2019, while ever-present sponsors Specsavers, Vitality, and O2 also received nominations.
Subversive marketing was also brought to the fore throughout the Official Shortlist, as Paddy Power’s #SaveOurShirt campaign joined Southampton FC’s SAYNTS kit launch and BT Sport’s Unscripted activity in creating contemporary, tongue-in-cheek content that offered consumers genuine authenticity through humour.
Away from brands, invention and innovation at rightsholders was a constant theme, with brand new sport properties including the W Series, SailGP, Rugby X and Extreme E all making their debuts on the Official Shortlist – at the first time of asking. As the distribution of content becomes easier, and fan engagement opportunities increase, new properties are able to establish themselves quickly, and their successes have been duly recognised alongside those of more established organisations, like the FA, the ECB, the ICC and Wimbledon.
The Official Shortlist, in full, can be read here: https://www.sportindustry.biz/sia/2020/shortlist
Agencies return for the crown
Four of the agencies shortlisted for Agency of the Year in 2019 return to compete in 2020, with Octagon aiming to defend its title against stalwarts Two Circles and M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment. The Goat Agency – highly commended in 2019 – also return to the fore while Aurora Media Worldwide join the shortlist for the first time ever and CSM complete the group.
Meanwhile the Young Agency of the Year category – which this year featured a high-pressure 10 minute live-pitch to judges – saw creative agency Mox and data and creative firm Halfspace make the Official Shortlist for the first time. Joining them were the previously shortlisted Fifty-Three Six, The Playbook, Fifty Digital and Dark Horses in representing an exciting look at the future of the industry. During their live-pitches, all six illustrated different but increasingly important areas of agency work, from film production to gamification, collaboration, and beyond.
Real stories land real results
Throughout the Judging Process, authenticity was a highly regarded quality, and the Official Shortlist reflects the important impact that real human stories have had on generating business results or brand success. The #RedForRuth campaign – driven by the Ruth Strauss Foundation – gained real cut-through both inside and out of the cricket community, while World Rugby’s Sweta Unstoppable and Arsenal FC’s Visit Rwanda campaigns captured the imagination of Judges and drove tangible results for all involved.
The Official Shortlist also holds a number of intriguing subplots, as familiar faces join each other in a range of categories. Wimbledon are placed alongside the LTA’s Fever-Tree Championships for the Event of the Year in association with Miller Insurance, joining the ICC Cricket World Cup, the Vitality Netball World Cup, INEOS 1:59 and MLB’s London Series, while BT Sport and Sky Sports are among the six to lock horns over the Experiential Marketing Award.
Premier League rivalries will also be renewed as Arsenal and Manchester United take their places on the Individual or Team Partnership Award shortlist, for their respective Visit Rwanda and Marriott Bonvoy collaborations, while Formula 1 are set to take on the W Series – as well as SailGP, the FA, the ECB and Swim England – for Sport Organisation of the Year in association with AXA XL.
Tables and tickets for the event, which has sold out for the past six years, can be purchased via: https://www.sportindustry.biz/sia/2020/attend
Alex Coulson, Managing Director of Sport Industry Group, said:
“The Sport Industry Awards really are the apex of the sport sector, so congratulations to those shortlisted today. It is a phenomenal recognition of the work done throughout the year and their commitment to excellence in everything they do. We had an incredible amount of entrants this year so to emerge on the final list is a great achievement, and it’s a great opportunity to celebrate them all at the industry’s biggest night of the year.
“Our Judging Process is incredibly rigorous, with round one – known as Industry Selects – welcoming more than 60 external experts to Sport Industry Group HQ alongside adjudicator EY, carefully scrutinising each. We take an immense amount of pride in it and I want to thank everyone who took part.
“I’d also like to thank all of our partners, without whom the Awards would not be possible and who we continue to work with to ensure that the year-long Sport Industry Awards campaign is an enjoyable one. A final congratulations to all those shortlisted today – we look forward to a fantastic night.”