Best Sports Event of the Year – UK

Big Game 11 – Harlequins

Harlequins is a Premiership rugby club based at The Twickenham Stoop, a 14,800-capacity stadium in South West London. Each year the Club moves its Christmas fixture over the road to Twickenham Stadium for its annual Big Game. As the Club approached its 11th year, it was aiming to go bigger and better than ever before. And it delivered.

The ultimate aims are a win on the pitch and a sell-out crowd, which equates to around seven times the average attendance at The Stoop. Both were achieved. But the Club also uses Big Game as an opportunity to engage with children from local Community Clubs, raise funds for the Harlequins Foundation as well as innovating and develop a product that goes beyond a traditional rugby match and introduces the sport to new audiences. This is where the Club set its targets even higher this year – and was proud to overachieve against them.

Big Game is the best attended event in the festive sporting calendar. The fixture embodies the Harlequins Purpose; it is innovative, courageous and ambitious. Big Game 11 was the most successful of Big Games and Harlequins’ biggest and most successful match ever.


BT Sport Pub Cup 2018

Aimed at BT Sport pub landlords and Sunday league football players, the BT Sport Pub Cup gave grassroots teams the chance to feel like Premier League superstars.

The initial phase of the campaign saw over 1,600 grassroots teams enter the competition.

BT Sport then followed the progress of each team, with live draws on the BT Sport Score Show and video content of teams training with players including Arsenal’s Petr Czech and Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler.

The final was held at Leicester’s King Power stadium, complete with high-profile managers. Fans of the teams who couldn’t make the final in person could watch the game live in their local pub.

This campaign gave landlords and their customers a unique, money can’t buy experience, connecting pubs to local football teams in the community. And for BT Sport, it reduced commercial churn by 20%.


Deloitte Ride Across Britain – Threshold Sports

Deloitte Ride Across Britain is the largest Land’s End to John O’Groats ride of its kind, with 1,000 riders taking on the 9 day, 980 mile challenge every September. For most, this isn’t just a 9 day event, but a year long journey where people dedicate hours of training through all kinds of conditions.

2018 saw the Ride’s 9th edition, which has steadily grown from just a few hundred riders, helping to raise millions of pounds for hundreds of UK charities. With an average fundraising per head of £2,600, the 2018 event helped to raise £1.1m, with partners The Prince’s Trust, Macmillan Cancer Support and Cancer Research UK, the main benefactors.

The Ride also has a huge impact on the economy as we travel up the length of Britain. An incredible £3.3m was contributed to UK sites, suppliers and local businesses as a result of the event, which was a 27% increase YOY.

Deloitte Ride Across Britain is a one of a kind event, which attracts global participation. From bucket list challengers to professional cyclists, and charity fundraisers in between – few walk away from this event without making life changing memories.


Glasgow 2018 European Championships – Glasgow City Council

History was made when the inaugural multi-sport European Championships took place from 2 to 12 August in the great sporting cities of Glasgow and Berlin.

While Scotland hosted the Aquatics, Cycling, Golf, Gymnastics, Rowing and Triathlon, the Athletics was staged in Berlin.
More than 3000 athletes from 48 nations competed across 12 disciplines in Scotland. They competed in world-class fields with records broken and history made.

The ground-breaking event was broadcast across Europe, with a staggering 1.4 billion cumulative audience watching 850 million hours of action on television across the continent and beyond.

Festival 2018 brought a carnival atmosphere to the world-class sporting action, with live music, circus, dance, theatre and much more.

Glasgow’s George Square attracted thousands of visitors daily with a spectacular line-up that allowed Scotland’s renowned creativity to shine.

GO LIVE! at the Green also welcomed many thousands of people to enjoy a world-first attraction – a live experience which brought together sport, fitness, health, food and drink, arts and entertainment in an engaging and exciting way to encourage people to live more active lives.


Lancashire Lightning v Yorkshire Vikings – Vitality Blast – Lancashire Cricket

Lancashire’s rivalry with Yorkshire is one of the biggest in cricket and dates back over 150 years which started during the famous War of the Roses.

The Club’s Vitality Blast fixture against Yorkshire has become one of the most highly anticipated games in the domestic cricketing calendar. Attendances and match day revenues have increased significantly over the past five years with Lancashire Cricket aligning with the Aspire ticketing model so the right fans are sitting in the right stand, enjoying the right experience, whether that be in the Party or Family Stand.

Last year’s fixture, the second most watched domestic game on Sky Sports Cricket this decade with nearly 900,000 viewers, welcomed the biggest ever attendance in domestic T20 cricket (excluding Finals Day) outside of London of 22,515.

The Club wanted to provide an experience that encompassed a number of appropriate and relevant partners and sponsors as part of the event, in this instance Emirates, who continued their previously successful ‘Catch a 6’ competition whereby an Emirates cap was placed on 4,000 seats in the stadium and they were then offered a free holiday for the first person to catch a six wearing an Emirates cap.


Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup – England Hockey

The Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup was the culmination of four years of major event hosting by England Hockey. Buoyed by the women’s Gold Olympic medal success in Rio, the scale and stature of the event exceeded all expectations.

• Recorded 115k tickets sold generating £3.16m net revenue, a staggering three times the initial target and more than any other women’s stand-alone sports event
• Stadium capacity doubled to 10600 to accommodate demand
• An innovative Fan Zone was built on a second site to provide spectator experiences that couldn’t be hosted on the Arena site
• Spectators rated the event on average 9 out of 10
• 1960 hours of coverage was aired on 44 channels across 98 markets with an audience of 9.7m
• High calibre brands such as Vitality associated with the event
• PR activity such as #behindeverygreatplayer, Team Captain’s launch on the banks of the Thames, and adidas kit launch boosted the profile and helped to evolved perceptions of the sport
• 1506 grassroots club hockey events were staged as part of the ‘Your World Cup’ campaign