*Unprecedented entries in the Agency of the Year category
*Media shortlists dominated by rightsholder OTT platforms
*Football still king, with more than 40 shortlisted entries
The Official Shortlist for the BT Sport Industry Awards 2019 has been revealed, pointing to a sport industry in robust health, despite broader economic pressures and the influences of a radically-shifting global sports media landscape.
For the first time in the 18-year history of the world’s largest commercial sport awards, seven businesses have been named on the shortlist for Agency of the Year.
It follows an unprecedented number of entries in the coveted category, with last year’s FIFA World Cup contributing to significant growth in turnover and headcount at many of the UK’s leading sports agencies over the past 12 months.
On average, those on the Agency shortlist posted 72% year-on-year gross profit growth and 49% growth in employee numbers during 2018.
The shortlist notably includes first-time entrant Shift Active Media from Bath, which specialises in the fast-growing cycling sector, alongside six-time winner M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment and Two Circles, which has twice won the Award in recent years.
Ear to the Ground, Octagon, Pitch Marketing Group and former Young Agency of the Year The Goat Agency are also in the running.
Rise of the rightsholder OTT
Other key trends evident in the overall shortlist include the radical transformation of the sports media landscape.
New for this year, the Media Content Award category is dominated by rightsholder OTT platforms, with only one ‘traditional’ broadcaster, Discovery Eurosport, making the list for its Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games coverage.
The media company faces competition from the AELTC (Wimbledon), Copa90, the European Tour and Formula E TV.
In addition, four out of six entries shortlisted in the returning Cutting Edge Sport Award category also come from the field of digital sports media.
BT Group, Discovery Eurosport, EFL Digital and The Ocean Race will see their respective sports viewing innovations compete against performance tech from Catapult and Fanatics’ vertical commerce solution for the licensed sports merchandise sector.
Football still king
The BT Sport Industry Awards 2019 recognise outstanding work delivered over the preceding calendar year.
With 2018 a World Cup year, it’s perhaps no surprise to see football continuing to dominate the shortlist.
Overall, more than 40 of the shortlisted entries centre on the beautiful game, well ahead of motorsport on eight – the second most-shortlisted sport in 2019.
Winners of the BT Sport Industry Awards 2019 will be announced at the industry’s biggest night of the year on Thursday April 25th at Battersea Evolution.
Tables and tickets for the event, which has sold out for the past five years, can be purchased via: www.sportindustry.biz/book.
Always an unrivalled showcase for the best of the commercial sport industry, this year’s event also promises to renew some heavyweight sport industry rivalries.
Bookmakers Paddy Power and William Hill are both shortlisted for the Communications Award; and Mastercard and Visa will face off for International Campaign of the Year in association with SMG Insight.
Meanwhile, the inaugural Event of the Year in association with Miller category sees Wimbledon on the opposite side of the net from The Fever Tree Championships (Queens).
The lawn tennis classics face competition from the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup, ESL One Birmingham, the Ryder Cup 2018 and the Randox Health Grand National.
Alex Coulson, Managing Director of Sport Industry Group, said: “As the biggest commercial sport awards in the world, the BT Sport Industry Awards have always served as a fantastic barometer of the industry’s health and an indicator of emerging trends.
“This year’s shortlist provides yet more evidence of the highly resilient nature of sports, with clear signs that the industry has enjoyed a bumper year.
“What’s also clear is the ongoing transformation of sports media landscape, whose impact we expect to see ripple further through the industry in years to come.
“It’s a powerhouse list that we will look forward to celebrating when the industry comes together on Thursday 25th April for what is the greatest annual commercial showcase in sport.”
The BT Sport Industry Awards 2019 Official Shortlist is the product of the rebranded “Industry Selects” phase of judging, which involved more than 60 organisations – a greater diversity than ever before – in a process fully overseen by EY.
The “selectors” included senior representatives from, among others, Nike, the RFU, InCrowd, Tellyo, the Premier League, the European Tour, Sport England, TeamGB, Right Formula, Getty Images, Jaguar Land Rover, the FA, the IAAF, AELTC, the BBC, Stonewall, Manchester United, YouGov Sport / SMG Insight, Aser, AOK Creative, Formula E, Yahoo, Women in Sport, Polygon Events, GMR Marketing, AEG Europe, Monterosa, AJ Boxing, Dimension Data, Buddy Films, Accenture, the Jockey Club, Disney, ITV Sport, VERO, London Legacy Development Corporation, Smart Group, Dow Jones Sports Intelligence, Two Circles, Adidas, Subway and Vivendi.
Integrity and impact
Alongside the winners of the 19 category shortlists revealed today, a small number of special Judges Awards will also be presented on the main stage at the BT Sport Industry Awards on 25th April.
They include the Integrity and Impact Award founded by Dow Jones Sports Intelligence, which recognises exemplary levels of ethics, integrity and trust in sport helping set global standards for best practice in sport governance and business.
The Award is currently open for industry nominations, which can be made online at: https://www.sportindustry.biz/events/awards/2019/judges/awards/dow-jones-sports-intelligence-award