From the first direct arena to the TV studio
This year, Banana Kick celebrated the 18th Leeds Sports Awards with its first ever televised show, with highs of 20,622 peak viewers tuning in to watch on TV and 2.2k live viewers on Leeds+ Facebook page. Due to Covid-19 protocol, instead of hosting the event in a venue like the first direct arena, we were set a challenge of putting on our first ever TV show. For a first try, we think we did okay…
An unprecedented challenge
Despite the uncertainty surrounding events due to Covid-19, we were lucky enough to secure a significant amount of sponsorship which enabled the event to go ahead. Moda Living, brand new sponsors for this year, helped us launch on the 14th April at their new apartments, that are being built in the heart of Leeds’ cultural district. We were also joined by some familiar faces too; Leeds Rhinos wheelchair Rugby League star and Rugby League World cup ambassador, James Simpson and Leeds Rhinos Netballer Sienna Rushton.
An event like no other
The event itself was the first televised Leeds Sports Awards with it being shown live on Leeds Local TV on Sky, Virgin and Freeview. On the night, we were joined by our customary Leeds Sports Awards host, Tanya Arnold, who was accompanied for the first time in Leeds Sports Awards history by a co-host, and who better than Leeds royalty Jamie Jones-Buchanan.
Roll out the red carpet
Due to Covid restrictions, many athletes were isolating in their bubbles but we didn’t let this affect us. Leeds United and England star Kalvin Phillips sent us a pre-recorded message along with Director of Football, Victor Orta. Olympic Gold medallist Tom Pidcock also sent us a pre-recorded message as he prepares for the Tokyo Olympics. Women’s triathlon Champion, Georgia Taylor-Brown joined us via Zoom, as did Paralympic gold medallist Hannah Cockroft MBE and Tom Bosworth, as they were preparing for their Olympic endeavors. Many sporting heroes also joined us at the TV studio such as Kevin Sinfield OBE and Brian Deane.
As part of our involvement, this year we gained support from key sponsors such as returning sponsors, LeedsBid, Blacks Solicitors and Leeds City Council, as well as new sponsors Moda Living and Yorkshire Payments. Their sponsorship provides key funding to ensure the event continues to grow.
A quick turnaround
This year, after an update in Covid-19 protocol, we were given the green light at the start of April giving us a 2-month window to get everything in place, ready for the 27th May. The event managed to gain coverage in numerous publications including the Yorkshire Evening Post, who have supported the event for numerous years. In order to drive traffic to Leeds Sports Awards website and get people to nominate, we implemented a content plan across Twitter and the newly created Instagram page. The Sport Leeds Twitter page brought a lot of eyes onto the event with 340.8k impressions over the months of April and May.
Our Community Champions
As with previous awards, we came together to celebrate all of our sporting heroes that have helped put Leeds on the map with their sporting success. However, this year Sport Leeds felt it would only be appropriate to recognise all of our unsung heroes who have helped communities in 2020. That’s why Sport Leeds introduced two new awards; the Inspirational Community Champion Awards for both under and over 18’s.
The awards recognised the incredible individuals and organisations across Leeds who kept communities fit, healthy and active during 2020. To really highlight the incredible work of our Community Champions we organised for features to be shown on Leeds TV in the week building up to the event. Each Community Champion Finalist had a feature shown in prime-time slots across the week.
You can watch the behind the scenes video from the night by clicking here.
That’s a wrap!
Similar to the athletes, the Leeds Sports Awards requires a huge amount of time, preparation and implementation. Our team worked tirelessly securing sponsorship, creating specific design styles, facilitating ticketing and nomination services, creating all branding and print elements and managing all venue and guest liaison.
After such a memorable event celebrating an amazing year of sport, we now set our sights on making Leeds Sports Awards 2022 bigger and better than ever. To watch a behind the scenes video of the event click the link here.