The winners of TheStadiumBusiness Awards 2018 were announced tonight at a gala evening hosted at Emirates Old Trafford stadium, Manchester, UK during TheStadiumBusiness Summit 2018 – the annual celebration of the global stadium sector.

Winners in 10 categories were showcased in front of an international audience of stadium and arena owners, operators and teams.

“Well done to all our shortlisted nominees and congratulations to the eventual winners,” says Ian Nuttall, Founder of TheStadiumBusiness Awards. “Now in their ninth year these Awards are the undisputed ‘Oscars’ of the stadium sector and the volume and quality of entries this year really underscores the tremendous energy, enthusiasm and experience that exists across our industry when it comes to putting on great entertainment events in the world’s best venues.”

Our special thanks also to the 2018 panel of expert judges which included:

  • Kevin Warren, Chief Operating Officer, Minnesota Vikings, USA
  • Robin Buchanan, General Manager, Celtic Park/Celtic FC, UK
  • Charlene Nyantekyi, General Manager, Club Wembley – Wembley Stadium, UK
  • Umut Kutlu, Chief Marketing Officer, Besiktas JK, Turkey
  • Roser Queraltó, Chief Business Officer, Euroleague Basketball, Spain
  • Ron VanDeVeen, President and CEO, MetLife Stadium, USA.

Download the WINNERS BROCHURE HERE with background and images on the winners.

The Winners and shortlisted entries in each category are as follows:

THE 2018 WINNERS

The Winners and Shortlisted Nominees in each category – along with comments from the Judging Panel – are as follows:

VENUE OF THE YEAR AWARD

Category Winner: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, USA

Judging Panel comments: “The Atlanta Falcons, the City of Atlanta and the team behind this new NFL stadia have demonstrated an incredible understanding of delivering a successful guest experience through innovation and design – arguably setting the benchmark for stadia globally. From the Halo board to the focus on sustainability and even pushing forward with the brave decision to drop food and beverage prices – has simply highlighted that if stadium operators provide fans with the right environment, they will continue to return and support their teams.”

Shortlisted nominees:

  • Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, USA
  • Optus Stadium, Perth, Australia
  • CenturyLink Field, Seattle, USA
  • Etihad Stadium, Manchester, UK
  • AAMI Park, Melbourne, Australia
  • Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, USA

EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR AWARD

Category Winner: Tery Howard, former CTO/SVP of Information Technology, Miami Dolphins & Hard Rock Stadium – and now Founder, Peer Vision Consulting, USA

Judging Panel comments: “After 19 years, Tery Howard has stepped down from her role as Senior Vice President/Chief Technology Officer at the Miami Dolphins. Most recently she led all technology aspects over the three-year redevelopment of the Dolphins’ home at Hard Rock Stadium. Howard will now be applying her experience through a new consulting business, with a particular focus on the digital transformation challenge at sports and entertainment businesses. One of the few female technology leaders in sports, this Award recognises her great work in leading the field during her near two decades with the Dolphins”

Shortlisted nominees:

  • Al Guido, President, San Francisco 49ers, USA
  • Javier Martinez, Board Advisor for Sports & Entertainment (formerly Managing Director for Business, Club Atlético de Madrid), Spain
  • Jacques Grobbelaar, CEO, Stadium Management South Africa, South Africa
  • Lee Zeidman, President, Staples Center, Microsoft Theater & L.A. LIVE, USA
  • Tery Howard, Founder, Peer Vision Consulting (former CTO/SVP of IT, Miami Dolphins & Hard Rock Stadium), USA

EVENT OF THE YEAR AWARD

Category Winner: #Game4Grenfell at Loftus Road, Queens Park Rangers, UK

Judging Panel comments: “The stadium sector is nothing without events. There are many worthy nominees in this category however our winner is #GameForGrenfell, where the local football club delivered an incredible event raising money for its community at such a poignant time and within sight of the location of the tragic tower block fire. True credit should be given to the club who are continuing with their support of the victims of Grenfell to this day.”

Shortlisted nominees:

  • First Day-Night Ashes Test at Adelaide Oval, Australia
  • Wrestlemania at Camping World Stadium, City of Orlando Venues, USA
  • #Game4Grenfell at Loftus Road, Queens Park Rangers, UK
  • NatWest T20 Blast Finals Day at Edgbaston Stadium, UK
  • “Battle of Brisbane” – WBO Title Fight, Suncorp Stadium, Australia
  • Arsenal FC in Sydney Tour, ANZ Stadium/VenuesLive, Australia

 

UNSUNG HERO AWARD

Category Winner: Patrice Lafarge, Stadium Operations and Maintenance, Paris Saint-Germain FC, France

Judging Panel comments: “There are many unsung heroes in our industry but this year we recognise a Gallic hero! Patrice Lafarge is one of the longest serving employees of Paris Saint-Germain FC, having worked at Parc des Princes for 37 years. He began his career as a gardener at Le Parc before moving into Operations and Maintenance. Today, he leads a team which ensures everything runs smoothly at the stadium, both for match fixtures and the numerous and varied non-matchday events. No wonder everyone at his club simply calls him ‘Magic Patrice’.”

Shortlisted nominees:

  • Patrice Lafarge, Stadium Operations and Maintenance, Paris Saint-Germain FC, France
  • Human Resource Team, Everton FC, UK
  • Rafael Mangabeira, Marketing Leader, Arena Corinthians, Brazil
  • Sarah Smith, John Motton & Facilities Management Team at Wembley Stadium & St George’s Park, The FA, UK
  • Thomas Franke, Head of Infrastructure & Organisation, VfL Wolfsburg, Germany

 

FAN EXPERIENCE AWARD

Category Winner: The Junior Tigers Club and the JTC Takeover Day, Leicester Tigers, UK

Judging Panel comments: “A special mention goes to The Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s kid park. Providing parents not only with an amazing and safe place for kids to enjoy their own event experience is fantastic but providing bookable slots is genius! However our collective votes go to Leicester City Tigers who, year-on-year, showcase how they are growing as a venue with the Fan Experience at the forefront of all of their enhancements across all levels. Creating an environment to connect and empower youth to participate in sports venue management is very powerful.”

Shortlisted nominees:

  • Looking After The Fans at Ashes Test, Sydney Cricket Ground, Australia
  • The Junior Tigers Club and the JTC Takeover Day, Leicester Tigers, UK
  • ‘Fans First’ design at Optus Stadium, Australia
  • The Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s kids park at SunTrust Park/Atlanta Braves, USA
  • Daily’s Place at EverBank Field, Jacksonville Jaguars, USA

 

PRODUCT INNOVATION AWARD

Category Winner: The Tunnel Club at Etihad Stadium (Manchester City FC), UK

Judging Panel comments: “Special mention to AFC Bournemouth and its innovation in AI Chatbots as a future fan portal but the majority winner is Manchester City FC’s The Tunnel Club at Etihad Stadium. The Tunnel Club redefines both hospitality standards and the customer experience on a global scale, further demonstrating the Club’s commitment to bringing supporters closer to the action. Opening up previously ‘off-limits’ spaces provides a fan experience like no other – unprecedented backstage access to the most exclusive of moments.”

Shortlisted nominees:

  • “ASB G9” Stadium Golf at Eden Park (Eden Park), New Zealand
  • The Tunnel Club at Etihad Stadium (Manchester City FC), UK
  • CherryBot AI Chatbot at AFC Bournemouth (Greenwood​ ​Campbell,​ ​Microsoft​ & Bournemouth​ ​• University), UK
  • Virtual Hybrid LED digiBOARD (ADI.tv, Supponor), UK
  • The District Detroit Mobile App (Olympia Entertainment, XFINITY), USA

 

SUSTAINABILITY & COMMUNITY AWARD

Category Winner: Sustainability Programmes at Century Link Field / Seattle Seahawks, USA

Judging Panel comments: “CenturyLink Field continues to be one of the most environmentally-friendly and sustainable sports and entertainment facilities in the world. In the past year alone, the Seahawks and First & Goal Hospitality (FGH) have announced partnerships covering composting – with payback in organic vegetables – ongoing energy and water usage reduction, food donations to the Salvation Army, sustainable seafood supplies and many more programmes. The entire stadium transitioned to paper-based, ocean-degradable straws in 2017. We recognise Century Link Field’s ongoing efforts to minimise the impact of stadium events on our shared environment.”

Shortlisted nominees:

  • Rush2Recycle at Super Bowl LII, U.S. Bank Stadium/Minnesota Vikings, USA
  • Reds Going Green at Anfield, Liverpool FC, UK
  • Sustainability Programmes at CenturyLink Field/Seattle Seahawks, USA
  • #ThisIsOurIce Campaign, NHL Minnesota Wild/Xcel Energy Center, USA
  • Our Neighbourhood Initiative, Eden Park, New Zealand
  • Cleveland Cavaliers’ Quiet Space Sensory Room at Quicken Loans Arena, USA

 

SPONSORSHIP, SALES & MARKETING AWARD

Category Winner: Pitchside Bedroom at Audi Cup, Allianz Arena, Germany

Judging Panel comments: “A synergistic fan engagement initiative which utilised the strengths of global brands – such as Audi and AirBnB – to provide a once-in-a-lifetime concierge matchday experience at Allianz Arena. A great demonstration of a partner activation. The club and Airbnb have identified some synergies and executed this a great opportunity to enhance a fan experience and bring them to the heart of FC Bayern Munchen whilst being hosted by won of its best players. The global media coverage which followed speaks for itself.”

Shortlisted nominees:

  • Uber & AEG Global Partnerships Multi-Venue Deal, USA
  • ‘GAME Pods’ at Deepdale, Preston North End FC, UK
  • Rebranding of “Ciutat de Valencia” Stadium, Levante UD, Spain
  • Pitchside Bedroom at Audi Cup, Allianz Arena, Germany

 

VENUE TECHNOLOGY AWARD

Category Winner: Venue Operations Centre for Sydney Cricket & Sports Ground Trust, Australia

Judging Panel comments: “Stadium security is once again top of the agenda. Provide a safe and secure environment for all guests is a priority but this project takes it one step further with the application across a multi-agency approach of new technologies in facial recognition, social media monitoring and centralised information”.

Shortlisted nominees:

  • Venue Operations Centre for Sydney Cricket & Sports Ground Trust, Australia
  • Location Based Services at SAP Arena, Germany
  • Digital Ticketing & Fan CRM, Orlando City Soccer/Orlando Stadium, USA
  • Aston Villa FC’s One Card, UK
  • Jewel Skin Projection Mapping at Little Caesars Arena, USA
  • The Inside Outside Multi-Use Design at U Arena, France
  • Halo Board and Mega Column Video Board at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, USA

 

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Category Winner: Lee Zeidman, President, Staples Center, Microsoft Theater & L.A. LIVE, USA

Judging Panel comments: “Lee Zeidman is one of the sports and entertainment sector’s true leaders. The first employee hired for the nascent Staples Center back in 1999, Zeidman has spent the past two decades driving the downtown destination in Los Angeles, delivering great shows and guest experiences, constantly innovating and reinventing the customer offer – and, above all, showing other venue leaders – leading by example – how to be the best in the business. Zeidman doesn’t just talk a great talk but he continues to walk a great walk and our global venue business is all the better for it.”

 

>> Nominations for the 2019 Awards open in November. Stay tuned!

 

What are people saying?

I had a great time and more importantly I learned a great deal. The networking alone was worth the trip but when you add the ability to come back and improve your business…well then you have a real winner

Ron Velazquez Vice President, Ticket Operations, Cleveland Cavaliers

Probably the best place to be on the planet to discuss this exciting industry that we all work in

Paul Sergeant Director, PMY Group

Your conferences are well run, well thought out, and well executed. I’ve been to many, and really appreciate the way you handle yourself. Well done.

Bart Wiley Chief Operating Officer, Seattle Sounders

it is an honour and an amazing opportunity for us being part of such an excellent group of professionals from the industry!

András Katona Head of Marketing, Liberty Stadium

We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, which isn’t a phrase normally associated with doing events, but it was really good and we have a lot of excellent contacts to follow up on.

Carolyn Baillie Head of Marketing, Exterity