The best and brightest in the sports industry gathered in London yesterday for the 21st Annual Sport Industry Awards. Held under the roof of a sold-out Evolution London, 1,500 sports industry professionals and athletes came together to celebrate and showcase the industry’s outstanding work and achievements over the past year.
Hosted by sports presenter Laura Woods and TV personality Mark Durden-Smith, the star-studded ceremony saw Tom Daley OBE walk away with the Outstanding Contribution to Sport award, following his gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. While human rights lawyer, Kat Craig, received the Integrity and Impact Award in association with InsightX, for her role in the evacuation of the Afghan women’s national football team from Kabul last year .
On accepting the prestigious award, Daley, who was presented with his award by fellow Olympic gold medalist and friend Greg Louganis, said: “Not only to receive this award, but to have it presented to me by my childhood hero, was so surreal Greg has been such an influence on my diving career.
“I’ve seen so many people receive the award for outstanding contribution to sport over the years and it’s so amazing. I was here for the first time when I was 12 and to have one myself now is crushing.
Daley became the fifth recipient of the award, following Manchester United player Marcus Rashford for his work in the fight for the less fortunate, American gymnast Rachel Denhollander for speaking out against her attacker Larry Nasser, Manchester’s Raheem Sterling City for his combat work. racism in football, and USWNT’s Megan Rapinoe for her unifying voice amid a divisive America and her ongoing advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community.
The evening began with the Integrity & Impact Award in association with InsightX, presented to Athlead Founder and CEO Craig by Tanni Grey-Thompson.
Craig accepted the award on behalf of a number of people and organizations who were instrumental in evacuating the Afghan women’s national soccer team and other vulnerable female athletes from Kabul in the fall. 2021.
Upon accepting the award, Craig said, “I am truly grateful to have this opportunity to honor the incredible group of people who have come together. But more than anything, it was the players who were forced to run a gauntlet of Taliban checkpoints and crush crowds to get to the airport. These are the players we asked to make the impossible choice: stay and die or leave their families behind while their country burned. They saved themselves, and this award, more than anything, is for them.
And it’s important to recognize all that courage and solidarity, because it shows us, as an industry, that off the pitch and on the pitch, it takes a team to make change happen.
The theme of ‘unity’ ran throughout the awards and never was it more evident than when Sport Industry Group Chairman Nick Keller announced the launch of the Sport Together Fund.
Created by sister organization Sport Industry Group and global charity Beyond Sport, Keller explained that while the Sport Together Fund’s immediate goal is to meet the needs of Ukrainian refugees, the long-term goal of the fund is to bring the sports industry together. to help communities around the world and better inform industry of the positive role it can play in times of crisis.
Announcing the Sport Together Fund, Keller said, “When we come together as an industry we can make big changes in the world, but we have to be united in action. When we use sport with intention, we can offer hope, transform lives and rebuild communities from the ground up.
Gathered here tonight, surrounded by friends and colleagues, I know that together we have the power to make a difference.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) were the big winners of the evening, taking home two prizes. The Hundred, the ECB’s abbreviated cricket competition which launched in 2021, won event of the year in association with Miller, while its ticketing strategy, which succeeded in attracting a diverse new audience to the inaugural season of the competition, was further awarded the Data & Insights Award in association with Sportradar.
Toyota GB won the Brand of the Year award in association with RPC for its Olympic and Paralympic Games and Team GB sponsorship activation. Meanwhile, the British Paralympic Association’s Parasport Powered by Toyota, a center designed to showcase publicly accessible sport and physical activity in the UK, won the Active & Wellbeing award.
Elsewhere, Premier League football club Brentford FC have been praised for an outstanding year on and off the pitch and as such won the Sports Organization of the Year award in association with egoli Media.
In a hotly contested category, Two Circles won agency of the year, in part for their work on The Hundred, while London-based sports and entertainment marketing agency The Space Between was the winner. deserved of the young agency of the year.