Specialist events and hospitality teams from football and rugby stadia across the country have celebrated their ‘off the pitch’ successes at The Stadium Events & Hospitality Awards 2017 last night. 


The sell-out event, sponsored by Carlsberg UK, was held in the new main stand at Anfield, home to Liverpool Football Club.  The 480 guests, who work in conference and events, matchday hospitality, chef teams, public catering, operational departments and senior management, experienced a fine dining four course menu, awards ceremony and entertainment, followed by onsite after party until 4am.


The prestigious awards were the 13th annual awards organised by Stadium Experience, and recognise the efforts and dedication shown by the catering, conference and events teams at every football and rugby stadium across the UK and Ireland.  80 football and rugby clubs were nominated for awards, with 21 different stadium venues scooping at least one of 33 gongs (across 11 categories).  Some awards were entered by the club themselves and others by nominations from colleagues, media and other club directors. 


In addition to this, Stadium Experience presented two extra surprise awards on the night to both Manchester City Football Club and Manchester United Football Club – The Above & Beyond Award 2017.  These were awarded for their key roles in reuniting friends and relatives involved in the Manchester Arena events last week, and also working with and supporting the authorities and emergency services. 


The overall winner of the awards evening was Hampden Park Stadium, who scooped the top gong for Overall Matchday Hospitality Experience 2017, fighting off tough competition from a record 36 participating stadia across the leagues – The highest ever number of entries!


The full list of 2017 award winners includes:


Media Choice Award – Sponsored by Conference News


The Media Choice Award category is voted for by visiting local and national media. This audience voted for a warm welcome, friendly service and top class food.   


WINNER – Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club  

SILVER – Watford Football Club                                                  

BRONZE – Manchester City Football Club

Non-Matchday Mystery Shopper Award – Sponsored by HGEM

The Non-Matchday Mystery Shopper Award category was judged by HGEM in a mystery shopper style sales call.

WINNER – Aberdeen Football Club                                                                                                                            

SILVER – Reading Football Club                                                                                   

BRONZE – Southampton Football Club


The Above & Beyond Award 2017 – Sponsored by Stadium Experience (Additional Awards)


WINNER – Manchester City Football Club

WINNER – Manchester United Football Club


Best Sales or Marketing Initiative Award – Sponsored by The CHS Group 


The Best Sales or Marketing Initiative Award category highlights the very best sales and marketing ideas created and introduced within any stadium team.  Judges specifically looked for brave new ideas which have led to increased support for stadium activities.


WINNER – Tottenham Hotspur Football Club                                                                        

SILVER – Reading Football Club

SILVER – Southampton Football Club                       

BRONZE – Chelsea Football Club 


*New* Shining Star Award – Sponsored by Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events


New for 2017, the Shining Star Award category aims to recognise those individuals who are simply outstanding at what they do, and continuously shine. This may be someone at the start of their career, making great strides in their roles, or someone in a more senior role leading the way in excellence. 


WINNER – India Harris – Wigan Athletic Football Club 

SILVER – Lorna Butler – Liverpool Football Club 

BRONZE – Danny Clarke – Bolton Wanderers Football Club 


Operations Team of the Year Award – Sponsored by Tom Hewer Catering


The Operations Team of the Year Award recognises the often unseen behind-the-scenes teams that make stadium events run so smoothly. Judges looked for teams which go above and beyond the call of duty to provide the very best service to customers.


WINNER – Liverpool Football Club                                                                             

SILVER – Chelsea Football Club                    

BRONZE – Morecambe Football Club


Chef Team of the Year Award – Sponsored by Hotelympia


The Chef Team of the Year Award is judged as part of the live kitchen event at Hotelympia, NEC in Birmingham.  Chefs teams had one hour to prepare, cook and present a three-course menu suitable for their Club Chairman to entertain the Head of the FA or RFU to dinner.


WINNER – Everton Football Club                                                                                

SILVER – Worcester Warriors Rugby Club                               

BRONZE – Hampden Park Stadium


Directors Choice Award – Sponsored by FC Business


The Directors Choice Award category is voted for by Directors at each club. They nominated the club where they had the best away experience when travelling with their team. They are specifically asked to consider the welcome, service and catering.


WINNER – Newcastle United Football Club                             

SILVER – Norwich City Football Club                                                                                                          

BRONZE – Bradford City Football Club


Matchday Hospitality Award – Sponsored by Verteda


Visited by professional Salon Culinaire chef judges who experience the whole hospitality offering at clubs this season, judged using strict criteria.   


Matchday Hospitality Award – Small Stadium (up to 1000 hospitality seats)


WINNER – Morecambe Football Club
SILVER – Heart of Midlothian Football Club
BRONZE – Dundee United Football Club


Matchday Hospitality Award – Medium Stadium (1001 – 2000 hospitality seats)


WINNER – Bolton Wanderers Football Club
SILVER – Southampton Football Club
BRONZE – Middlesbrough Football Club


Matchday Hospitality Award – Large Stadium (2001+ hospitality seats)


WINNER – Hampden Park Stadium

SILVER – Manchester City Football Club
BRONZE – Liverpool Football Club


The Big One – Overall Matchday Hospitality Award


This award pitches all sized clubs against all, to announce the overall winning UK stadium.


WINNER – Hampden Park Stadium

SILVER – Morecambe Football Club
BRONZE – Bolton Wanderers Football Club                                                                                             


Stadium Experience Chair Person Collette Salmon, commented: “Once again our members and Stadia across the UK and Ireland show true greatness in their field.  Our people are always looking for innovative new ways to better the service and hospitality on offer, and it is a pleasure to recognise all those who work so hard all year round to make their venues the very best they can be.  I think that we are proving a strong contender now for the Events and Hospitality industry markets and will only get better!  We at Stadium Experience are proud to organise and host the annual Stadium Events and Hospitality Awards. Congratulations to all of tonight’s winners and ours stars of the future!”


Paul MacGarry at Hampden Park Stadium (Overall Matchday Hospitality Award Winner) commented: “What a great award to receive with all these great great teams here around me.”


Ryan Candy at Aberdeen Football Club (Non-Matchday Mystery Shopper Award Winner) commented: “We are honoured to have won the Non-Matchday Mystery Shopper Award which reflects the high standards set by our C&E Sales Team.  As one of the smallest clubs which are Stadium Experience members, we are thrilled to be setting the standard for next year’s awards which will prove as competitive, if not more so than this year.”


Paul Cuttill at Liverpool Football Club (Operations Team of the Year Award Winner), said: “What an exceptional night topped off by winning the Operations Team of the Year Award.  I am incredibly proud of the team, such a great achievement.”


Frankie Angus at Newcastle United Football Club (Directors Choice Award Winner), commented: “We are absolutely thrilled to be the Winner of the Directors Choice Award.  This is the icing on the cake after securing promotion to the Premier League.  This award is testament to the hard work and dedication of the team both on and off the pitch.”


Tony Crosbie from Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events at Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club (Media Choice Award Winner), commented: “Thrilled to win the Media Choice Award for all the team at the Amex Stadium.  What a season! #WeArePremierLeague.”


Samantha Valentine at Tottenham Hotspur Football Club (Best Sales or Marketing Initiative Award Winner), said: “We are so thrilled that the SPURS (Stadium Project Virtual Reality Suite) has won tonight’s Best Sales or Marketing Initiative Award.  It is fantastic to be recognised for delivering a first in the industry for combining innovative virtual reality with a marketing initiative that generates premium sales for our new stadium.”


India Harris at Wigan Athletic Football Club (Shining Star Award Winner), added: “A huge thank you to all at the stadium Awards this evening and everyone at Wigan Athletic for their continued support.”