Women’s football at the forefront as the Sport Industry Awards 2020 winners are revealed

03 Sep 2020

By: Sport Industry Group


The great and the good of the UK sport industry didn’t get together under one roof for the Sport Industry Awards this year, but instead 18 famous faces from across the world of sport united to help celebrate the sector, as the winners of the Sport Industry Awards 2020 were revealed online for the first time ever.

While the past six months have brought unprecedented challenges for the sport industry, the Sport Industry Awards 2020 celebrated some of the incredible work that was done throughout 2019, with three England national team captains, Harry Kane, Steph Houghton and Joe Root, international stars Siya Kolisi and Eliud Kipchoge, and favourite national heroes including Dina Asher-Smith, Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Maro Itoje – to name a few – helping reveal each one.

The Winners

Women’s football featured extensively across the winners, reflecting a period that saw the sport grow from strength to strength both domestically and internationally. The FA was named Sport Organisation of the Year in association with AXA XL, in part for the increased prominence and success of the Lionesses, while both Lucozade Sport and BT Sport were rewarded for their women’s football-focussed campaigns, winning the Fan Engagement Award and Individual or Team Partnership Award respectively. The Telegraph, meanwhile, took top honours in the Sport Event Coverage Award for its extensive following of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, where England made it to the semi-finals.

INEOS, who made a huge splash in the world of sport sponsorship in 2019, were also big winners. The Daily Mile – sponsored by the global chemicals company – claimed the Active Award, while the INEOS 1:59 Challenge – where Eliud Kipchoge became the first human to break the two-hour marathon mark – scooped the Cutting Edge Sport Award in association with PT SportSuite.

The 2019 Vitality Netball World Cup, held in Liverpool, also grabbed a double, with England Netball landing Event of the Year in association with Miller, and headline partner Vitality claiming the Event or Competition Sponsorship Award in association with CSM Live.

Cultural awareness and creativity also emerged as common themes amongst many of the winning entries, with Paddy Power’s daring Save Our Shirt initiative winning UK Campaign of the Year in association with Smart Group, after being lauded by the Judging Panel for its ingenuity and creativity.

Adidas’ This Is Home film, which put Arsenal’s 2019/20 home shirt in the hands of its players with dubbed cockney accents was also praised for its originality, scooping the Creative Content Award in association with Getty Images, while Specsavers landed the Communications Award not least for its agility to capitalise on Jack Leach and his glasses cleaning after Ben Stokes’ historic Headingley innings. 

Elsewhere, Two Circles won Agency of the Year for the second time in the last three years, while Fifty Digital claimed top honours in Young Agency of the Year on its third attempt, and in the last year that they’d qualify for the category, after an impressive year working on the both the World Athletics Championships in Doha and the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

The winners of the three Judges Award categories - the Coutts Lifetime Achievement Award, The Integrity and Impact Award founded by Dow Jones Sports Intelligence, and Deal of the Year - will all be announced at a later date.

Alex Coulson, Managing Director at Sport Industry Group said:

“This has been an unusual year in so many ways and delivering the Sport Industry Awards 2020 online for the first time is an exciting time to remind us all of the incredible creativity, ingenuity and ability that flows within this industry. It reflects a sector that is brimming with immeasurable talent, and it’s an honour to celebrate the incredible work it produces.

“I want to also thank everyone who entered, commiserations to those who didn’t take top honours, and to all the famous faces who helped in making the Sport Industry Awards 2020 just as special. The success of those who have been included on the Official Shortlist is testament to the resilience of this industry and I’m looking forward to working with the thousands of talented professionals as together we all help the sector bounce back to a bright future.”

Sport Industry Awards 2021

In 2021, the Sport Industry Awards will be celebrating its 20th anniversary, a period that has seen some of the most incredible sporting moments in our history. Sport has, however, been hit harder than most over the last year and 2020 is undoubtedly a challenging year for many.

With all of this in mind, and with the resurgence of our industry front centre, a new and refreshed Sport Industry Awards will be emerging in 2021. The ultimate 20-year celebration of our sport industry – the Sport Industry Awards 2021 will be a vibrant and inclusive celebration. As we return to mass gatherings, there will be new categories designed to honour the best work of the last 20 years and of today, as well as the thankless heroes who have guided us through tough times in 2020, and together we will look ahead to a rejuvenated industry and all the opportunities in front of us. Entries and nominations will open later in September and further information will be released in due course.

Coulson added:

“As we close the door on the Sport Industry Awards 2020 we immediately look forward to 2021. In what will be the 20th anniversary, the Sport Industry Awards 2021 promise to represent the new face of the industry, built around the vibrancy and inclusivity of ideas that we celebrate every year. A truly historic 20-year celebration, we cannot wait to bring you all back together for the Sport Industry Awards 2021.”