Thursday, March 31, 2005

RBS Extends Sponsorship of Six Nations Rugby Tournament

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Group has agreed a deal to extend its title sponsorship of rugby's Six Nations tournament for a further four years. The news comes at the end of this year's thrilling tournament, which generated huge amounts of media, and public, interest in the six participating nations. The previous RBS sponsorship was for three years, beginning 2003, and was worth around £22m. The new agreement represents the largest commercial partnership in European rugby history, and confirms the status of rugby as a prime target for big name sponsors. A recent report from Irish based market research company Amarach Consulting found that the Six Nations is now considered one of the "dream sponsorship properties" by businesses in that country.

Speaking about the sponsorship extension, Howard Moody, group director, communications, The Royal Bank of Scotland Group said: "The RBS Six Nations is the only major sporting event that sees nations across Europe pit themselves against each other on an annual basis, making it the greatest annual rugby tournament in the world". He continued: "The excitement of the RBS Six Nations is highlighted by three different winners of the Championship in the first three years of our sponsorship and by extending our association for a further four years we have shown our long-term commitment to the sport and the tournament".

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Lifetime Award for Sir Alex at HMV Football Extravaganza

Sir Alex Ferguson, the long-serving manager of soccer team Manchester United, was given a prestigious HMV Lifetime Achievement Award at the HMV Football Extravaganza last night. The event, held at London's Grosvenor House Hotel, is the world's largest football charity evening. This year the event celebrates its 10th anniversary and hopes to raise some £500,000 for Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy, a pioneering charity that treats disturbed and traumatised children. The Extravaganza has raised over to £2.4 million for the charity over the past nine years.

The HMV Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Nationwide, has been given to a very select group of British soccer legends. This includes Sir Bobby Robson (2001), Tony Adams (2003) and Kenny Dalglish (2004). All three of these recipients, along with Sir Alex, are also now patrons of the HMV Football Extravaganza. The award trophy itself consists of a replica of the HMV emblem of a dog listening into an old gramophone speaker.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The Filth and the Fury: British Press Awards

The British Press Awards, an annual industry awards ceremony that has been administered by trade journal Press Gazette for almost 20 years, were held in mid-March. The fall-out from the British Press Awards has continued now for several weeks, which may be an indication of the strength of opinion about the Awards or may equally be an indication of the willingness of British newspapers to continue a spiral of self-publicity by attacking their rivals and the Awards. To be fair, to gather a group of highly competitive newspaper professionals in a glamorous venue, ply them with food and drink, and then ask them to watch while a single rival from each category is announced as 'best in class', is always going to be a risky strategy. In previous years the event has been marred by fist-fights between leading industry names. This year the Awards hit the headlines initially due to comments made by one of the 'personalities' presenting the awards: Sir Bob Geldof indulged in a heated exchange from the podium with various editors and publishers over the issue of their coverage of Africa. Following those headlines, a longer and more vicious campaign has ensued, with leading newspapers criticising the Awards as 'corrupt'. These attacks led the chairman of Press Gazette to issue a strongly worded article defending the Awards and the judging process. The article - War of words could make losers of us all - rightly warns of the negative consequences of the very public bloodletting since the Awards. It is a lesson that all Awards programmes need to heed: while a well-run, and well-respected, industry awards scheme can benefit everyone involved (winners, organisers, sponsors and the wider industry), so too can poor publicity and undermining of the Awards have a detrimental effect on those same parties (winners, organisers, sponsors and the whole industry).

Saturday, March 19, 2005

David Cohen Prize for Literature 2005

One of the British literary world's most prestigious prizes, the David Cohen Prize for Literature, was awarded for 2005 this week. The prize is worth £52,500, of which £40,000 is contributed by the John S. Cohen Foundation and goes to the winning author, and £12,500 is contributed by Arts Council England to be given to an individual or organisation chosen by the winner. This second award, formerly known as the Clarissa Luard Award, recognises initiatives that encourage reading or writing among young people.

This year's award - the Prize is awarded biennially - is the first to include writers from Ireland as well as Great Britain. The prize recognises the lifetime achievements of living writers. The judging panel for the 2005 Prize consisted of Andrew Motion (Chair), Maggie Gee, Doris Lessing, Caroline Gasgoigne, Martyn Goff, Jennifer Johnston, Antony Beevor. The award went to biographer Michael Holroyd, who chose to donate the £12,500 to a project which encourages young people to read.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Royal Television Society Programme Awards 2004

London's Grosvenor House Hotel was the venue last night (March 15) of Britain's Royal Television Society (RTS) Programme Awards 2004. The event was hosted by TV presenter Kate Thornton and awards were presented in a total of 28 categories, plus the prestigious Judge's Award.

Of course, the beauty of an awards event in the media industry is that the publicity is generated for free. The BBC, for instance, has reported widely on the awards, not least because BBC programmes won 11 awards at the event. Rival broadcaster Channel 4 won nine awards, ITV won six and Channel 5 received one award.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Trophies and silverware still top motivator

As we like to say here at Winners Podium, "Nothing Succeeds Like Success Rewarded". And by reward, we mean recognition. We mean acknowledgement and recognition of your achievement by your peers and the public. And as if to confirm this belief in recognition awards as a prime motivator, we turn to a recent interview with English soccer's pin-up boy, David Beckham. The football star currently plays with Spanish glamour side Real Madrid, who crashed out of the EUFA Champions League last week and are currently 11 points behind league leaders Barcelona in the domestic league (La Liga). It looks likely that this will be the second year that Madrid, and Beckham, will go without winning any trophies. However, rather than returning to his mansion and counting his substantial income, Beckham revealed that it is the desire to win trophies and silverware, rather than the cars in his garage, that drives him and his superstar teammates. Beckham said, "I want to win something with Real Madrid and it is looking unlikely now that it will happen this season." He revealed: "Of course that has to motivate me and the other players to go on and win something because a club like Real Madrid needs to win trophies." So there we have it. Even those at the very height of ability and professionalism are motivated more by recognition and achievement awards than by mere financial reward.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Post-Oscar film awards continue at respectful distance

Two weeks after the glamour and hype of the world's leading film awards, the Oscars, the annual awards season continues at a respectful distance. First up in the UK is the reader-voted Empire Awards, or, to give them their full title, the Sony Ericsson Empire Awards. Now in their 10th year, these awards were held at London's Guildhall and will be broadcast on national UK television later this week. Crucially, these awards are not voted for by peers or by industry bigwigs - they were determined by 12,000 readers of the film magazine Empire. The Empire Awards featured 14 different categories, including the publicity-friendly 'Icon of the Decade' award and the sponsor's own 'Sony Ericsson Scene of the Year'. The awards trophies comprised of an 8x10in flat award, made from perspex with colour imprinted graphics.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Awards Entries: Be In It To Win It!

As one former soccer striker turned TV presenter likes to say, 'if you don't buy a ticket you don't win the lotto'. Which translates to the rest of us as 'if you don't enter an awards competition, you stand no chance of winning'. Tomorrow (March 11th) is the closing date for entries to one of the UK's most prestigious business awards, the Business in the Community Awards for Excellence. These awards programme seeks to recognise companies that demonstrate a high standard of excellence in their commitment to responsible business practices, and which can demonstrate a positive impact on both the business and on society. The 2004 Awards for Excellence recognised 138 companies, each of whom received the 'Big Tick' award. All these winners were able to use the Big Tick logo on their product packaging, corporate literature, web sites and other communications materials. The awards are run by the Business in the Community group in association with the Financial Times, are sponsored by the UK Government's Department of Trade and Industry and are supported by the retail group Marks & Spencer.

On a similar note, tomorrow is also the deadline for entries to the 2005 Oxfordshire Business Awards, the winners of which will be listed in July. Entries for the National Business Awards 2005 close on March 25th. These awards, dubbed 'the UK's business Oscars', have been running for four years now and recognise the importance of national and regional business excellence to the success of 'UK plc'.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Tinkering with Format Undermines Cherished Soccer Trophy

Football authorities in England are under fire again following their latest announcement of changes to the format of their flagship cup tournament, the FA Cup. The English FA had previously courted controversy with the suggestion that the final of this prestigious competition might be held on a Wednesday night, as opposed to the traditional Saturday afternoon, for the 2006 final. This was to allow the England national team a full four weeks to prepare for the 2006 World Cup. Outcry over that proposal have forced the FA to change their plans, with the final now being played a full week earlier. But they have also made other changes to the format, in order to guarantee the earlier final, and it is those changes that have disappointed many commentators and fans.

The latest changes mean that teams involved in the EUFA Cup competition will not have to play replays in the fifth and sixth rounds of the FA Cup. Teams involved in the so-called Champions League will not play FA Cup replays in the sixth round. This opens up a two-tier system, whereby some ties may go to extra time and penalties while others in the same round will go to a replay. One league manager, Neil Warnock of Sheffield United, said of the changes:"It is an absolute disgrace, an example of how authorities seem intent on messing with a competition that should be sacrosanct."

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Nominees Announced for Daytime Emmy Awards

The nominations have been announced for the Daytime Emmy Awards, the winners of which will be revealed at a ceremony on 20th May in New York. These Awards, which are open to television programmes broadcast between 2am and 6pm, have been run for 32 years under the guidance of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. These Emmy awards recognise some 58 categories and administrators process over 5,000 entries a year.

Among the nominees for the 2005 awards are Martha Stewart, the lifesytle guru currently jailed for deceiving investigators into her finanial affairs. Leading the nominations is the soap opera All My Children, which has been shortlisted in 18 categories. The Ellen DeGeneres Show has 11 nominations and children's show Sesame Street has 13 nominations.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Oscars Still Top of the Awards Shows

For anyone living in space for the past couple of days, the 77th Academy Awards were held on Sunday night. Accompanied by an absolute mountain of media coverage, the Oscars once again proved that they are indeed the original and still the best industry awards going. In the US, the three-hour television broadcast attracted an average audience of 41.5 million viewers. In contrast, the Golden Globe awards in January had an average TV audience of 16.8 million viewers, and the Grammy Awards attracted some 18.8 million viewers. As would be expected for an awards event of this size, there are the usual negative comments following the show. Canadian comedian Chris Rock, who hosted the show for the first time, received mixed reviews from critics for his performance. And others have pointed out that the TV audience was actually down 5 per cent, or two million viewers, on last year's show. But despite these small issues, the Oscars once again showed us how to run, promote and stage a truly successful industry awards programme.