Campaigns showing true grit, resilience and exceptional creativity spanning marketing, PR, virtual events, sponsorship, advertising, community investment, social media, production and branding were recognised at the virtual 2021 Hollard Sport Industry Awards.
‘This year we celebrate the brand owners, the agencies and the media owners who have inspired us, entertained us and keep us healthy at a time when we needed it more than ever. We’ve seen so much wonderful inventiveness in entries this year – somehow we’ve managed to hear crowds cheering, even though there weren’t any in the stadiums,’ said Heidi Brauer, Hollard’s Chief Marketing Officer. ‘Heartfelt congratulations to the deserving winners, and to each and every person who has played a part in keeping sports, brands, and campaigns alive and entertaining during this really strange and difficult time,’ she said.
This year the Agency of the Year Award, sponsored by Gallo Images, went to Mscsports. Founded as a sports memorabilia company in 2000, Mscsports has grown and evolved into one of South Africa’s most reputable sports and entertainment agencies. Their consistent drive to change the game, create opportunities, and deliver impact for sponsors, rights holders and athletes, secured them this prestigious win.
Two campaigns featured prominently within numerous categories this year. These included Mscsports for Castle Lager #InOurBlood and Levergy for the Nedbank Breaking Barriers Race.
#InOurBlood took home the much sought-after Campaign of the Year Award, sponsored by Ab InBev, as well as the Worldwide Sport Event or Competition Sponsorship Award, and came third in the category of Social and Environmental Impact.
Winning agency Mscsports used our collective passion for rugby and Castle’s sponsorship of the British and Irish Lions Series as a unique opportunity to build a campaign for South Africans to come together and unite behind the Springboks. Taking this campaign one step further was its partnership with the SANBS, to drive desperately needed blood donations
Last year’s Agency of the Year, Levergy, continued their winning streak with the Nedbank Breaking Barriers Race, winning both the Communications Award and the Virtual Event of the Year Award. This campaign created a way to ignite momentum into elite running when little else was happening. Backed by Nedbank’s longstanding heritage in the sport, Breaking Barriers saw an attempt made to break the 50km world record with an exclusive ultramarathon in Gqeberha, creating a high when running in South Africa was at an all-time low.
Two new categories were included this year, with the Active and Wellbeing Award, sponsored by C2, going to Spar for the Spar Virtual Women’s Challenge, which also won the Fan Engagement Award.
For the first time this year, submissions were opened to the rest of Africa. The Cross Border Award, sponsored by SuperSport, went to Basketball Africa League, the NBA’s first collaboration outside of North America. With basketball being one of the fastest growing sports in Africa, this initiative is part of broader efforts to use basketball as an economic growth engine across Africa and to improve health and wellness of one of the world’s youngest populations.
Other notable wins included:
• Audiovisual Content of The Year (Long Form) – Walt Disney for ESPN Africa/Walt Disney Company Africa & 10th Street Media.
• Audiovisual Content of The Year (Short Form) – T&W for Luckhanyo Am.
• Brand or Sponsor of The Year, sponsored by Hollard – Princess Sports for Brabo Hockey.
• Social And Environmental Impact Award – Team Qhubeka.
Young Agency of The Year went to Matchstick Creative, a virtual creative agency comprising work-from-home freelancers established during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Matchstick Creative, with a full-time staff compliment of 1, has gone from zero to hero in a matter of 12 months, establishing firm clients, ongoing projects and some phenomenal storytelling and production.
‘This is our third year sponsoring these awards and celebrating the energy, enthusiasm and creativity of the business of sport. These awards are about so much more than the sports themselves or the sporting codes. They are about the people who bring them to us, those people who create sponsorships and communication campaigns and events, who often go unrecognised,’ said Brauer. ‘But these people and these teams are so important, because sport is so important. Sport brings down barriers and creates better futures, which is everything that we are about at Hollard’.
Highlights were the presenting of four special awards, voted on by peers within the sporting industry within South Africa. The ESPN Leadership in Sport Business Award went to Pitso Mosimane, one of the longest serving and most decorated coaches in all of South African football. As head coach of Al Ahly in Egypt, Pitso has continued his success, being named as Best Manager in Africa earlier this year.
With her emotional win in Tokyo taking the gold medal and setting a new world record in the 200-metres breaststroke, there is little surprise that the Sport Industry Personality of the Year went to Tatjana Schoenmaker. Africa’s breaststroke queen and our Olympic golden girl is the epitome of what can be achieved when you don’t give up on your dreams.
The Sport Lifetime Community Award was presented to former South African opening batsman, Gary Kirsten, for his work in uplifting cricket and access to cricket in communities around South Africa. World boxing’s remarkable referee and judge, Stan Christodoulou, was presented the Sport Lifetime Achievement Award, for his immense contribution to South African boxing.
Also new to this platform, the Pendoring Indigenous Commentators Award, celebrates the richness of South Africa’s indigenous languages and pays tribute to those sports commentators who bring passion and excitement to the game, those who make the best calls and those whose emotive anecdotes continually inspire and engage. The winner of the first ever Pendoring Indigenous Commentators Award went to Masomelele Jucwa.