The English Cricket Board (ECB), Football Association (FA), and Ocean Race were double winners and Octagon scooped Agency of the Year at the BT Sport Industry Awards, which took place on Thursday at Battersea Evolution in London.
The annual showcase began with a speech by former prime minister Tony Blair paying tribute to the work of his friend and former colleague Tessa Jowell, who, as Olympic Minister, played a key role in securing the legacy of the London 2012 Games.
Blair went on to award the Dame Tessa Jowell Social Impact Award – renamed in honour of the late former minster – to Ocean Race for its #TurntheTideonPlastic campaign.
Mr Blair was followed on stage by Baroness Amos, the former UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, who announced The FA and the England Men’s World Cup Squad as winners of the Leadership in Sport Award.
The outgoing and incoming chief executives of the FA, Martin Glenn and Mark Bullingham, were joined on stage by England Men’s Manager Gareth Southgate to receive the trophy.
Southgate then presented Raheem Sterling with The Integrity and Impact Award founded by Dow Jones Sports Intelligence. The presentation recognised the England and Manchester City star’s powerful use of his platform to speak out on a range of important societal issues including racial abuse and discrimination.
Outgoing UK Sport chief executive Liz Nicholl was also honoured with the Coutts Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of her role in transforming the UK into a global sporting power.
Nicholl was presented with the trophy by her colleague Dame Katherine Grainger, now chair of UK Sport, who recognised the impact of Nicholl’s work on her earlier sporting career.
Dame Katherine Grainger said: “I have had an amazing time as an athlete being part of the incredible system Liz built and I have had the most incredible privilege over the past two years working alongside her and seeing first-hand not just the phenomenal professionalism that she brings and the respect she has everywhere, but also the heart and the passion and the excitement of working in high performance sport that is there every day.”
The FA was successful in both the Communications Award and Film Content Award categories, while the ECB won the Diversity & Inclusion Award in association with BT Sport and the Fan Engagement Award in association with Socios.com.
The Ocean Race added to its early success by securing a further win in the Cutting Edge Sport category.
The evening concluded with International Campaign of the Year in association with YouGov Sport going to Visa for its Zlatan Ibrahimovic-fronted Ultimate Fifa World Cup FOMO.
Meanwhile, UK Campaign of the Year, in association with Smart Group, category was won by Paddy Power’s Rainbow Russians campaign.
Brand of the Year in association with Wiggin went to adidas, while Event of the Year, in Association with Miller, was awarded to The European Tour for the Ryder Cup 2018.
Sport Organisation of the Year in association with AXA XL was presented to England Netball, with judges praising the governing body’s smart long-term strategic approach which delivered an impressive commercial performance as well as fantastic results from grassroots to elite level.
Three-times shortlisted MATTA was named Young Agency of the Year in association with Getty Images. The judges were impressed by MATTA’s abundant client roster, impressive financials, and a very good pitch/win ratio – all underpinned by a strong culture and identity of its own.
The final award of the evening saw Octagon successful for the first time in the coveted Agency of the Year category.
The judges recognised the clear step change the agency has gone through over the last year. Boasting an enviable client roster, the judges said it scored consistently highly across every touchpoint with quality of work, happy clients and happy employees.
The Goat Agency, a former winner of Young Agency of the Year, was also Highly Commended in the Agency category, with judges highlighting its position at the forefront of a changing industry and impressive rapid growth.
For the full list of winners from the BT Sport Industry Awards 2019, click here.