The Hollard Insurance Group, well known for taking the path less travelled, has done so once again with its approach to the 2020 Sport Industry Awards.
“We recognised the need to do things differently this year,” says Heidi Brauer, Hollard’s chief marketing officer. “While we don’t like the term ‘new normal’, it is important to recognise that it has been a rough year and the world is not the same as it was when we last presented these awards 372 days ago”.
“The Covid-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns have had a huge impact on sport at a global level and we considered not holding the Awards at all. But we’ve been amazed by the resilience and innovation of the people who are involved in bringing sport to the fans - the hidden figures who’ve continued to do what they do so well, despite the uniquely challenging circumstances. It was important for us to celebrate the role they’ve played in connecting us, harnessing the power of sport in the most creative ways, to bring together South Africans of all persuasions”.
As a result, the 2020 Sport Industry Awards event went ahead, using a unique platform that allowed for both virtual and real-world interaction. As well as celebrating the people that support the stars of the sports world, the platform allowed more than 1200 registered attendees to network and experience lessons from local and international sports industry giants.
Co-hosted by celebrated local star sports presenter, Motshidisi Mohono, and comedian S’ne Dladla, Awards were presented in 10 categories, including “Campaign of the Year”, “Digital Platform of the Year”, “Social Media Campaign of the Year”, “AV Content of the Year” and “Young Agency of the Year”. There were also awards for “Social and Environmental Impact”, “Event or Competition Sponsorship”, “Communications” and “Fan Engagement”. And despite the hybrid virtual/real-world experience the enthusiasm of the winners was not diminished in any way!
Michael Johnson, the only man to ever win the 200m and 400m at a single Olympic Games and once dubbed “the fastest man in the world,” joined proceedings from the United States, and was interviewed by Mohono. As well as sharing how lessons learnt in sport have helped him in the business world, Johnson spoke about the increasing need for businesses, both within sport and in general, to understand and respond to messages being delivered by societal movements.
Four giants of the South African sport scene were honoured by special awards. Rassie Erasmus, coach of the world-cup winning Springboks, was awarded the prestigious “Leadership in Sport Business” Award, while Desiree Ellis, coach of the all-conquering Banyana Banyana won the “Sportperson’s Lifetime Community” Award for her ongoing contribution to community upliftment. Dr Irvin Khoza was presented with the “Sport Lifetime Achievement” for his contribution to South African soccer over more than four decades, but the biggest virtual cheer of the day was reserved for Springbok Captain Siya Kolisi, who was named “Sports Personality of the Year”.
The most coveted award, “Agency of the Year”, went to Levergy SA, the day’s big winners. They won three other awards, namely “Campaign of the Year”, “Digital Platform of the Year” and the “Event or Competition Sponsorship” Award.
The “Social and Environmental Impact Award” went to Tennis South Africa for their work on a programme called “Rising Star Tennis”, while the ABSA Cape Epic scooped the “Fan Engagement” Award. BrandInc Sports bagged the “Social Media Campaign of the Year” accolade for their work on the Toyota eSports Challenge. “AV Content of the Year” went to Rand Merchant Bank for the RMB Story of Courage, who also scooped “Communication of the Year” for the same programme. Retroactive was recognised as the “Young Agency of the Year”.
“Our heartfelt congratulations go to all the winners. We salute their exceptional work, but more importantly, we thank them for inspiring us with their ‘labours of love’. We truly believe they have made a significant contribution to ensuring a better future, not only for the sports industry but for the country as a whole,” concluded Brauer.