BEST SPORTS EVENT OF THE YEAR
2021/22 William Hill World Darts Championship – Professional Darts Corporation
The World Darts Championship has evolved into the festive period’s most popular sporting event, and the 2021/22 was a remarkable success as the PDC welcomed back capacity crowds despite the ongoing global effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The 2020/21 World Championship had been played primarily behind closed doors, but the 2021/22 tournament saw a full 3,000 per-session crowd return to London’s Alexandra Palace.
Guidance and protocols in relation to Covid-19 were in place around the event, including a requirement for all attendees to display an NHS Covid Pass before being able to gain entry, the wearing of face coverings when moving around the venue and cashless payments alongside regular testing for competitors.
The event saw almost 90,000 fans attend Alexandra Palace from December 15-January 3, despite ongoing restrictions on international travel preventing the traditional influx of fans from Germany, Austria and the Netherlands, who enjoyed the 100+ hours of global TV coverage produced by Sky Sports.
The World Championship also featured a record three nine-dart finishes, achieved by Willie Borland, Darius Labanauskas and Gerwyn Price, as well as the records for 180s in a match and the tournament being broken.
BLAST Premier Fall Final 2021
After 20 months of remote and online-only esports events due to the ongoing pandemic, fans had been crying out for in-person interaction and entertainment with their favourite teams and star players.
At the end of last year, Denmark and BLAST welcomed back crowds and in-person esports arena events for the first time in two years. The result, a record 25,000 fans across three days of action packed Counter-Strike in Copenhagen’s iconic Royal Arena venue.
UK-based company BLAST hosted eight of the world’s biggest esports organisations and their brightest stars to fight it out over five days of epic Counter-Strike with a combined prize pool of $425,000 on the line along with the crown of the world’s greatest CS:GO team.
The BLAST Premier Fall Final was more than a Counter-Strike spectacle for those die-hard esports fans in attendance and watching from home, it came to signify a celebration and festival of entertainment, emotion and bringing people together for a shared passion.
Extreme E – Extreme E Arctic X Prix
Extreme E is an all-electric off-road racing series. With a focus on highlighting the effects of climate change, promoting equality with equal male:female drivers and showcasing the capability of electric SUVs, it was designed to be disruptive and break the mould of established motorsport.
Operationally and logistically, the Arctic X Prix race in Greenland at the base of the Russell Glacier was the boldest, most ambitious motorsport event held.
Using the small remote town of Kangerlussuaq – with a population of 500 people – as our logistical hub represented significant challenges but also immense opportunities.
Greenland is the most sparsely populated country on the planet and the Greenland Ice Sheet covers 80% of the world’s largest island. Until the Arctic X Prix in August 2021, Greenland had never held a motorsport event.
Organising the event during a pandemic required the Extreme E operational team to consistently adapt and overcome all obstacles from local community engagement to catering, hospitality, broadcast, utilities and transport. The result was an enthralling race with the best drivers in the world competing in a dramatic landscape, which reached a live broadcast audience of over 17 million people in over 100 countries.
Telekom Cup 2022 #innovationgame – Deutsche Telekom & 1. FC Köln
The Telekom Cup 2022 #innovationgame that was held in July 2022. It was a friendly foot-ball match between 1.FC Köln and AC Milan in cologne, that presented the fans in the stadi-um and in front of the tv numerous new technical innovations around the world of sports.
Together with FC Köln the Telekom as technology partner has selected innovative compa-nies with cases, that have the potential to develop and improve the game of football.
Besides fans getting access to the stadium by wearing microchip integrated club scarfs, the more than 48,000 spectators took advantage of the strategic crowd system. The over 400,000 tv spectators on MagentaTV and MagentaSport gained entirely new insights into what was happening on the pitch thanks to the use of bodycams and cabling of players and referees. This technology can also be used in the future for match analysis or referee train-ing courses.
The Hundred – England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB)
The Hundred’s innovation in cricket is now the yardstick by which other sporting innovations are being measured. The ECB assessed the barriers which were preventing people from getting involved in cricket and looked at ways of redesigning one format of the game for a brand new, young, diverse, online and increasingly urban audience, with each decision based on deep insight.
The Hundred offers the chance to deliver a world-class combination of sport and entertainment, with an equal platform for men and women, brought through a new, digital-first approach that would excite new audiences.
Year two has been the blockbuster event of the summer holidays and once again encouraged millions of new fans to watch live in stadia and on TV, as well as engaging with the competition online.
It is continuing to bring new audiences to cricket, with more women, children and families than last year. It is fuelling the explosion in the women’s game, with record crowds and an equal platform.
It continues to deliver significant value for the whole cricketing ecosystem, from grassroots participation through to players, venues, domestic cricket and commercial partners, providing the base of further growth of the sport in future.
THE WFA & SPORT PARKINSON’S WALKING FOOTBALL NATIONAL CUP – THE WALKING FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION LTD & SPORTS PARKINSON’S
This unique and innovative event, held at the prestigious St Georges Park, was the first of its kind in the world. It comes less than a year after the start of a mission to get people with Parkinson’s playing walking football.
Over 10 regular sessions exist in the country now and over 100 people with Parkinson’s participated in this superb event, which has brought the Parkinson’s community together and inspired others to give it a go.
As a result, the first Parkinson’s England teams will be selected to further raise the profile of what can be achieved and how important physical activity is to the physical and mental health and well-being of people living with this dreadful debilitating disease.
This might not be the largest event of the year, but in terms of being a world first, breaking down barriers, building a community, impact on those that attended and their families and potential impact in terms of giving people hope and extending and enhancing lives- this was an enormously successful and significant event.
UEFA Women’s EURO England 2022 – The Football Association
The FA set up a dedicated tournaments team known as the Local Organising Structure [LOS] to work closely with UEFA to deliver UEFA Women’s EURO 2022. A tournament that set out to be record-breaking and a platform to inspire positive change to grow the game was played out across 31 games in 25 days in 10 venues across nine cities. 150 LOS staff worked with UEFA to deliver the biggest women’s European sporting event in history, seeing 574,875 fans (over 100,000 of which were children) attend – more than double the previous record. 87,192 fans were at the Wembley
Final, making it the most attended EURO fixture ever (men or women’s). Fans from 89 countries went to games with 365 million watching on from around the world. The legacy of the tournament is already being felt with over 416,000 playing opportunities provided to women and girls in the host cities seeing 7,900 women and girls newly registered and playing in clubs and over 14,600 playing recreationally. Truly record-breaking and inspiring. More than just a sports event; A defining moment in the growth of women’s sport.