Best Sports Event of the Year
1. 2019 NFL London Game – Raiders VS Bears – NFL
The NFL has been a regular part of the sporting landscape in the UK since 2007 and, has been increasing in momentum year on year. Aiming to create world-class experiences that are authentically American whilst appealing to UK fans, regardless of their NFL knowledge, NFL games in London are not only welcoming and enjoyable for fans of all ages but, push the boundaries of the sporting and entertainment experience – none more so than the first-ever NFL game at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium during the NFL’s historic 100th season. The sold out game had an overall experience rating of 8.5 out of 10 not only matched the rating of Super Bowl LIII but, was the joint-highest scoring of all NFL London games to date. The historic event received worldwide attention both prior to and following the riveting 24-21 game between the Las Vegas Raiders and the Chicago Bears. The event was picked up by numerous media outlets, resulting in 686 pieces of coverage – a 25% volume increase from 2018.
2. Big Game 12 – Harlequin Football Club
Harlequins once again delivered the sporting event of the festive calendar with over 75,000 fans packed into Twickenham, the home of rugby to watch the Club take on Leicester Tigers in the Gallagher Premiership and then Leinster Women in a friendly – the first time a women’s club game has been held at HQ.
Despite the train strike across the South Western Rail network which affected the number of trains coming into Twickenham Station, Harlequins worked extensively with their travel partners (SWR, TFL, RFU and Highways England) to offer alternative routes for all supporters and to make their journeys to and from the stadium as seamless as possible, resulting in a supporter score of 9.2/10 for transport.
The fixture once again generated record revenues for the Club and attending fans gave the whole day a Net Promoter Score of 61, nine points higher than Big Game 11 with a match day experience score of 8.2/10.
The addition of the women’s game also saw a younger and more female audience than in previous years with over 7,500 fans staying to watch as Harlequins Women made history.
3. Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships
The 2019 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships was one of the most successful tournaments in the 27-year history of the event, with around 80,000 spectators attending during the fortnight. The event also generated a global TV audience of 1 billion with a gross advertising media value of US$1.3 billion.
The final result was won by two Swiss nationals, with Belinda Bencic winning her first Dubai title, while Roger Federer won his 8th Dubai title. The win in Dubai also saw Roger claim his 100th singles career title, which resulted in massive worldwide coverage, including 7,000 news articles, hours of TV coverage and over 35,000 mentions on social media.
The tournament consistently attracts the top players in the world, and was last year voted as the “WTA Premier 5 Tournament of the Year.” The ATP tournament has now won an incredible 35 awards in the event’s 27-year history.
4. India vs Pakistan, ICC Cricket World Cup – Lancashire Cricket, Emirates Old Trafford
In 2019, Emirates Old Trafford hosted the India vs Pakistan ICC Cricket World Cup fixture, the biggest and most highly anticipated cricket match in the world. The two teams only compete against one another in International Cricket Council (ICC) fixtures every two or four years, due to the political unrest surrounding the countries.
On 16 June 2019, the fixture was the first of six Cricket World Cup games at the stadium and didn’t fall short to its billing. Twelve months prior to the game taking place, tickets went on sale via a Ballot on the ICC website. Incredibly, over 600,000 supporters applied for tickets for this match at Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester, which has a capacity of 23,500. The game was an official sell out after 48 hours.
5. Obstacle Course Racing – Spartan UK and Ireland
The Spartan Stadion itself revolutionised the way an entire stadium can be viewed and used; delivering a unique 5km obstacle race within the stadium footprint from both purpose-built obstacles and the natural twickenham structure (steps, concourses, pitchside etc). The result, a compelling, challenging and world class experience, unrivalled in the UK and suitable for racers of all ages and abilities. The obstacles themselves included functional style routines, from box jumps, slam balls, low Para cord crawls and stair climbs, through to some of Spartan’s more traditional obstacles (including the infamous spear throw and Hercules hoist). The event’s festival, set up around the perimeter fence, enclosed the course providing an interactive environment where spectators could first hand experience the live thrill and emotion of the race as it unfolded. It too hosted various ancillary wellbeing activations, such as a yoga zone and an impressive ‘Gymbox’ activated training base.
6. ONE : CENTURY – ONE Championship
It’s the biggest event ONE Championship has ever done. World Champions filled the historic Sumo Hall in Tokyo. So much was at stake at ONE: CENTURY, it was definitely the biggest martial arts event in the last 100 years. Just take a look at the massive turnout. Media from all over the world came to support ONE Championship and to see all the compelling bouts that took place. The electric atmosphere at the Ryogoku Kokugikan was infectious.
With two full-scale World Championship events, ONE: CENTURY was without a doubt the biggest martial arts spectacle in ONE Championship history. With 28 World Champions featured across various martial arts, no other organization in history has ever attempted to throw two full-scale world championship events on the same day. It is the first time in history.
7. Rugby World Cup – Japan 2019 – World Rugby
The Rugby World Cup (RWC) set out with bold and ambitious goals to use the tournament to ensure the sport exploded into a brand-new market, reached beyond rugby’s historically limited boundaries to young, non-traditional fans in developing markets.
We managed the creative, content, digital and social media communications pre, during and post the RWC 2019 across English, French, Spanish and Japanese. We executed a full creative and design overhaul of the RWC’s social media and content while generating a humorous and witty tone of voice, which brought rugby’s unique spirit to life.
The outcome? The most engaged RWC in history. 2.1 billion organic video views, 1.8 million new followers gained and 153.5 million website views, with more than half from Japan.
We successfully engaged a new audience with World Rugby.
8. The 2019 Solheim Cup – VisitScotland/EventScotland
The 2019 Solheim Cup redefined expectations of a women’s golf event on and off the course. Remembered as one of the most dramatic conclusions in sporting history with Suzann Pettersen’s remarkable closing putt, outside the ropes it provided a global platform for women’s sport and broke new ground for a golf event. It attracted the biggest-ever UK crowd for women’s golf of more than 90,000. It had a potential audience reach of 875 million homes in 100 countries around the world. Social and digital engagement delivered more than 7.7 million video views and almost 86,000 social posts with nearly 16,000 online press articles and a potential readership of 3.2bn. Strong global sponsor support saw sponsor revenue targets exceeded by 100% with more than $34 million returned in gross media value. Attendees included more than 6,000 children with women accounting for 59% of all spectators, while 88% of those attending with children regarded the event as family friendly. Not only did The 2019 Solheim Cup provide the perfect stage for the world-class athletes to showcase their skills, it set a new benchmark for the future staging of the world’s biggest women’s golf event.
9. Vitality Netball World Cup 2019 – International Netball Federation / England Netball
The Netball World Cup is the International Netball Federation’s (INF) flagship event. The 15th edition of the event hosted in 2019 in England, Liverpool was the culmination of four years of major event planning by England Netball, Vitality Netball World Cup 2019 (VNWC2019) and the INF. The scale, stature, and success of the event exceeded all expectations.
• Record-breaking ticket sales of over 112K
• An innovative Fan Zone with sponsorship activation, large screens and experiential events attended by over 44,000 fans
• Sponsors included Vitality, UK Sport, Jaffa, Gilbert Netball, Sky Sports and BBC Sport with the value of the coverage estimated to be around £19.22 million
• Ground-breaking host broadcast agreement with Sky Sports and the BBC led to FTA (Free To Air) broadcast and YouTube live streaming ensuring all netball games were accessible to all
• Over £8million economic impact from the event
• 1.4million social media engagements and 3.7million UK TV audiences
• 160,000 adult women in the UK started playing netball or playing more post-event
• INF Member Associations celebrated netballs progress and defined the governance roadmap towards the NWC Cape Town, 2023
• Net promoter score of 81.4%
10. World Darts Championship – Professional Darts Corporation
The Professional Darts Corporation is the world’s leading promoter of professional darts events, staging over 120 events per year around the world, selling over 500,000 tickets and paying out in excess of £15m prize money.
The pinnacle of the sport is the World Darts Championship, played annually at Alexandra Palace in north London over 28 sold-out sessions throughout the Christmas period.
With fans travelling from over 70 countries to attend the event (a third of the total crowd fly in from Germany, Austria and the Netherlands) to create one of the most unique atmospheres in sport, it has to provide a welcoming, fun environment which services their needs and gives them a memorable experience.
The event has grown from its humble beginnings in an Essex night club back in the early 90s to its status now as the most watched non-football event on Sky Sports and where tickets sell out five months in advance before fans know who they’ll be watching on the day.
It is firmly established as a staple part of the British event calendar and has become a bucket-list event for sports fans around the world!