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Sheffield Utd shirt sponsor nominated for top award

Tue 23rd Feb 2010 | Marketing & PR

Sheffield United’s groundbreaking partnership with the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) has been recognised by a leading authority in sponsorship. The visitMALTA.com sponsorship has been shortlisted for the prestigious 2010 Hollis Sponsorship Awards, on 9th March.

The BBC’s Garry Richardson will be hosting the glamorous awards ceremony. The shortlisted and winning campaigns will be celebrated during a Gala Dinner at the London Marriott Grosvenor Square.

The Hollis Awards are one of the most renowned sponsorship accolades in the UK. The Awards are judged by 22 leading industry figureheads, who put each entry through a rigorous examination during the two-stage judging process.

The visitMALTA.com entry will face respected competition in the popular sports category, including fellow shortlist nominees: Barclays (Ticket Office campaign); Bet Fair (Fan v Fan Ashes Cricket campaign); and British Gas (British Swimming sponsorship). The visitMALTA.com sponsorship has also been shortlisted for a ‘First Time’ sponsor award.

Malta Tourism Authority CEO, Josef Formosa Gauci said: “This is the perfect reflection of the relationship we enjoy with Sheffield United Football Club. Malta’s presence in the UK has never been more prominent due to the innovative campaigns, creative engagement and genuine implementation of our partnership.”

Sheffield United finished the 2008-2009 Coca Cola Championship in a credible third position. While the Blades may not have won last season’s play-off final at Wembley, the club’s sponsors benefited from the wide-reaching coverage of the game which was seen in over 150 countries, with the drama unfolding in front of more than one billion households.

Complementing the shirt branding, VisitMALTA.com is prominently displayed across the Bramall Lane stadium, including the Malta Family stand. United enjoyed the second highest average match day attendance in the 2008/2009 Championship of 26,023 fans. During the same season, the Blades boasted a higher average gate figure than seven Premier League teams, including West Bromwich Albion (25,828), Hull (24,816), Fulham (24,340), Blackburn (23,479), Bolton (22,486), Portsmouth (19,830) and Wigan (18,350).

Another highlight last year saw Sheffield United stage a pre-season tour of Malta, which was timed to coincide with the Isle of MTV music festival. The ‘Football, Fun, Music and Sun’ campaign helped attract a large contingency of the Blades fan base to combine a summer holiday with the opportunity to take part in a series of activities hosted on the Mediterranean Island themed around football and music.

The success of the first year of the visitMALTA.com association has led to the partnership being extended by a further two years.

Mike Farnan is the Executive Director heading up Sheffield United’s international drive. Farnan commented: “Sheffield United is very proud to be the only football club in Britain to be sponsored by a country. Our relationship with Malta is more than a just a shirt sponsorship deal.

“This is a true partnership where both parties have been pro-active. Whilst United has successfully helped deliver football tourism to the island, the club is building a significant fan base among the people of Malta.”


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