The Stadium Events & Hospitality Awards 2019 – The Results

And the Winner is…

Specialist events and hospitality teams from 50+ football and rugby club venues across the UK and Ireland have celebrated their ‘off the pitch’ successes at the 14th Stadium Events & Hospitality Awards 2019 last night.

The prestigious event, sponsored by CCS and RAK Porcelain, was held at the Etihad Stadium, home to Manchester City Football Club. The 460 guests work in conference and events, matchday hospitality, chef teams, public catering, operational departments and senior management. They experienced a warm welcome to Manchester in the venues stunning Tunnel Club, before a moving to The Legends Lounge for a fine dining four course menu and awards ceremony, followed with live entertainment at the after party in the 93:20 lounge until 4am.

The event is organised by Stadium Experience annually, and recognises the efforts and dedication shown by the catering, conference and events teams at every football and rugby stadium across the UK and Ireland. 70 football and rugby clubs were nominated for awards, with 26 different clubs scooping at least one of 42 gongs (across 14 categories).

Independently Judged…

All of the award categories are judged completely independently by industry experts. This year’s judges include HGEM and Salon Culinaire, as well as the return of the panel of senior representatives from arrangeMY, Conference News, Craig Prentice, FC Business, HBAA, and Venue Smart.

The Results…

Chelsea FC scooped 4 of the top awards (plus other awards), and event hosts F3 (Fabulous Fan Fayre) won 3 of the top spots with their venues Manchester City FC and Watford FC (plus other awards). The final winner of the awards evening was Swansea City AFC, who scooped the top gong for Overall Matchday Hospitality Experience 2019, fighting off tough competition from 33 participating venues across the leagues. The full list of 2019 award winners includes:

Non-Matchday Mystery Shopper Award – Sponsored by Conference News

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

WINNER – Chelsea Football Club
SILVER – Southampton Football Club
BRONZE – Sheffield United Football Club


Best Digital Enquiry Award – Sponsored by Hi-Impact Media

The Best Digital Enquiry Award category is judged by HGEM in a mystery shopper style email enquiry. Three clubs achieved 100% score.

WINNER – Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club
WINNER – Chelsea Football Club
WINNER – Hampden Park Stadium 


*New for 2019* Matchday Sales Team of the Year Award – Sponsored by Acme Facilities Group

This award recognises the best matchday sales team in stadium venues across the UK and Ireland.  Judges were specifically looking for teams demonstrating consistent growth and using new ideas to drive sales and cross-selling.

WINNER – Chelsea Football Club
SILVER – Heart of Midlothian Football Club
BRONZE – Manchester City Football Club 


*New for 2019* Non-Matchday Sales Team of the Year Award – Sponsored by Target Response

This award recognises the best non-matchday sales team in stadium venues across the UK and Ireland.  Judges were specifically looking for teams demonstrating consistent growth, using new ideas to create unique and different events, whilst also providing value for money and overcoming any challenges.

WINNER – Chelsea Football Club
SILVER – Watford Football Club
SILVER – Derby County Football Club
BRONZE – Newcastle United Football Club 


Best Stadium Events Venue Award – Sponsored by Corium Designs

The Best Stadium Events Venue Award aims to recognise the very best stadium events venue within the UK and Ireland. The judges specifically looked for a stadium venue which consistently displays exceptional venue facilities and outstanding guest experiences.

WINNER – Manchester City Football Club
SILVER – Chelsea Football Club
BRONZE – Leeds United Football Club 


Shining Star Award – Sponsored by Taste Coffee

The Shining Star Award category aims to recognise those individuals who are simply outstanding at what they do.  Judges looked for someone who continuously shines. 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 – Emelie Lundberg – Watford Football Club
SILVER – Gemma Nugent – Newcastle United Football Club
BRONZE – Carla Grierson – Heart of Midlothian Football Club
BRONZE – Jess McLean – Liverpool Football Club
BRONZE – Clare Appleby – Newcastle United Football Club 


Operations Team of the Year Award – Sponsored by Braehead Foods

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

WINNER – Leicester Tigers Rugby Club
SILVER – Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club
BRONZE – Chelsea Football Club 


Visiting Rugby Directors Award – Sponsored by The Rugby Paper

The Visiting Directors Award categories are voted for by Directors at each club. They are asked to nominate 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 when casting their votes.

WINNER – Saracens Rugby Club
WINNER – Wasps Rugby Club
SILVER – Exeter Chiefs Rugby Club
BRONZE – Northampton Saints Rugby Club 


Visiting Football Directors Award – Sponsored by FC Business

WINNER – Bradford City Association Football Club
SILVER – Derby County Football Club
BRONZE – Middlesbrough Football Club 


Chef Team of the Year Award – Sponsored by Chef Works & Corprotex Apparel

This award is judged by Salon Culinaire chefs as part of the live kitchen event which took place alongside the Foodservice Show at NEC, 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 – Manchester City Football Club
SILVER – Everton Football Club
BRONZE – West Ham United Football Club 


Matchday Hospitality Award – Sponsored by Verteda

Reported by professional Salon Culinaire chef judges who experienced hospitality this season using strict criteria to score their experience. This is divided by size of hospitality offering with an award for: 

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

WINNER – Watford Football Club
SILVER – Newcastle Falcons Rugby Club
BRONZE – Morecambe Football Club 

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

WINNER – Swansea City Association Football Club
SILVER – Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club
BRONZE – Aston Villa Football Club 

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

WINNER – Manchester United Football Club
SILVER – Newcastle United Football Club
BRONZE – Manchester City Football Club  


The Overall Matchday Hospitality Award – Sponsored by CCS and RAK Porcelain

This award pitches all sized clubs against all, to announce the overall winning club (regardless of size).

WINNER – Swansea City Association Football Club
SILVER – Manchester United Club
BRONZE – Watford Football Club 

Stadium Experience Chair Person Collette Salmon, commented: “Every year we go all out to showcase that stadia across the UK and Ireland are at the top of their game when it comes to both hospitality and events. Our member venues are always looking for new and innovative ways to deliver above and beyond customer expectations – Whether on a match day or on a non-match day.  Our consortium works hard behind the scenes so the customers have a fantastic experience.  Stadium Experience is proud to organise and host the annual Stadium Events and Hospitality Awards. Thank you to our hosts, Manchester City FC, and congratulations to all of the award winners!”

David Timms, Senior Business Development Manager at Chelsea Football Club (Winner of Non-Matchday Mystery Shopper Award, Best Digital Enquiry Award, Matchday Sales Team of the Year Award, & Non-Matchday Sales Team of the Year Award) commented: “An amazing achievement by absolutely everyone involved at Chelsea Football Club, not just those here this evening. We are so proud to work hard, push the boundaries and deliver a world class service across from our venue.”

Andrew Boon, General Manager, at Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club (Winner of Best Digital Enquiry Award), commented: “A fantastic example of recommendation for the attention & effort that goes into our new match day sales for our venue.”

Jill Nicholson, Sales Manager, at Hampden Park Stadium (Winner of Best Digital Enquiry Award), said: “Delighted to be recognised as one of the premier venues in the UK for conference & Events.”

Rebecca Pickard, Sales Director for F3 at Manchester City FC (Winner of Best Stadium Events Venue Award), said: “We are Formidable! ????.  Incredibly proud of the team – We officially have the best events venue!!!”

Emelie Lundberg also from F3 based at Watford Football Club (Shining Star Award Winner), added: “It’s a great and fantastic achievement for me, and I couldn’t have done it without the great support from my fantastic managers.”

Nathen Brockbank from F3 at Manchester City (Chef Team of the Year Award Winner), commented: “What a great evening. We can’t put words to how we feel.  We are glad our passion & love of food carried us to Gold baby! #Smashing it. #There Are no boundaries”

Becky Mulligan, Match Day Coordinator, from Leicester Tigers Rugby Club (Winner of Operations Team of the Year Award), commented: “The team has worked really hard together all year and we can’t wait to take the Gold award back to Welford Road stadium to celebrate.”

Mark Roebuck, Associate Director from Bradford City Association Football Club (Winner of Visiting Football Directors Award), commented: “Having had a challenging 2018/2019 Season, Bradford City are proud to have been recognised by visiting Directors for our good old fashioned Yorkshire hospitality. The team in hospitality have done a fantastic job all season and we welcome next year’s Directors.”

Representatives from Swansea City AFC (Matchday Hospitality Award – Medium Stadium, and Overall Matchday Hospitality Award Winner) said: “We are so delighted to receive this honour. We’ve always delivered our hospitality with our guest’s experiences in mind. To receive this recognition is honestly a dream come true. Here’s to many more years.”

Swansea City AFC - Overall Matchday Hospitality Winners

Paul Colston, Managing Editor at Conference News has assisted with judging the awards for many years now. He commented: “In all the years I’ve been privileged to judge, the 2019 entries set a new high standard and, in particular, the Best Non-Matchday Sales Team category pained me to not vote for other clubs who were a real credit too. I think it is a great testimony of the power of Stadium Experience and the awards programme, to drive quality even higher across the industry.”

Find out more about the awards.

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