Memorable night at the 2016 SPIAs

Joy Chakravarty 06:48 24/03/2016
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Crowned: 2016's winners.

Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, Gulf Marketing Group and Zayed Sports City were among the big winners of the 2016 Sports Industry Awards (SPIA), presented by Cadillac, on an unforgettable night for the region’s sports industry.

In the presence of 570 guests in JW Marriott Marquis hotel – the largest gathering in the four-year history of the SPIAs – gold, silver and bronze winners were announced in 14 categories.

The Abu Dhabi Sports Council-owned Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship won the Live Experience at a Professional Sports Event, as well as prize for Best Integrated Sport Marketing Campaign, and the Best Use of PR in Sport.

Sports management giants IMG, who organize the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, were also adjudged the Best Sport Agency or Organisation.

More accolades were in store for tournament sponsors HSBC as well, as they won the Best Sponsorship of a Sports Event for the popular Sevens World Series and their partnership of the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens.

Greg Sproule, managing director of IMG Middle East, was a delighted man as he said: “It’s humbling, and it’s also hugely gratifying for the team, who work so hard for each and every event that we do.

“The SPIAs are always special for us, more so because the judges are our peers from the industry and experts in their fields. Also, to win against such strong competition is also very satisfying.”

It was a memorable night for the region’s biggest sports retailers – Gulf Marketing Group, owners of Sun & Sand Sports. They won theBest Sport Retail Experience of the Year for their stunning new store in Dubai Mall, followed by the Sports Brand, Retail or Product Activation of the Year for their ‘Show Them you Own The School’ campaign.

“This is the first time we have entered the SPIAs and we have won in all three categories. This is a fantastic night for us,” said Razan Akrouk, marketing manager of Gulf Marketing Group.

Zayed Sports City won the first two golds of the night – the Best Indoor, as well as the Best Outdoor Sports & Recreation Facility of the Year.

The two youth-related awards – Best Youth Development Project and Sport Youth Academy or Organisation of the Year – was won respectively by Du Football Champions, and E-Sports Football Club.

One of the most coveted award of the night, Best Sports Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative, was swept by ActiveLife by Daman, who won the gold for their various community events, and also the silver for National Sports Festival.

During the course of the evening, Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation (ISSF) secretary general Faisal Al Nassar recognized the contribution of Sport360 and presented Didier Brun, Sport360 Deputy CEO, with a memento.

Earlier, welcoming the guests, Brun dedicated the SPIA to the sport industry itself, saying: “As we have always believed, this evening is all about you.

“This simple guiding principle has turned year on year into a room full of sport lovers encouraging each other to be bigger and better. We aspired to reward you, to connect you, to give you a stage where your talent and your tireless efforts will be the stars of the show.

“But it was you who stepped up the game, who have astounded us every year with your professionalism, with the ever-increasing quality of your applications, with your ideas and the innovation you bring into the region.”

Apart from Cadillac, the 2016 SPIA were Emirates Airline, Dubai Sports City, Singha Corporation and Lacoste.

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