Entry Criteria and Categories

Entry Criteria and Categories

Launched in 2008, the Sports Business Awards were established by SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily to celebrate and recognize the leaders, visionaries and day-to-day practitioners who personify excellence in the business of sports. The 2018 nominees and winners are being recognized for excellence and outstanding achievement in the business of sports for the period from March 1, 2017 – February 28, 2018.

Selection Process

Once the nominees for the 2018 Sports Business Awards have been selected by a panel of editors, writers and researchers from SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily in March, the selection process then opens up to include a panel of sports industry executives who will serve as category judges. The judge committees, consisting of a mix of industry executives and staff members representing SportsBusiness Journal/Daily, will evaluate the nominees and determine the category winners by a private vote. The list of judges for each category will be announced in SportsBusiness Journal following the awards ceremony. The categories for Sports Executive of the Year and Athletic Director of the Year will continue to be judged by an internal panel of editors, writers and researchers from SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily.

Eligibility

The 2018 awards will recognize achievements from March 1, 2017, to February 28, 2018. Entries should contain information relating only to this time frame. While recognizing the global marketplace in sports, emphasis will be placed on those activities and events that occur in the United States and North America.

New for 2018

   Each entry may include a one-page, single-sided Executive Summary highlighting the contents of the full entry. The Executive Summary will not count towards the limit of eight content pages and five image pages.

   It is no longer a requirement to submit an entry video for any category. However, it is still permissible to submit entry videos as long as the total length of all videos submitted does not exceed three minutes. Preferred formats include .mov or .wmv.

Entry Procedures

All entries must be submitted via the online entry form. Each entry should contain basic general information (submitted on the entry form), along with information related to the category-specific questions (submitted in your entry materials). 

Basic general information must include the following on the entry form:

  • Category entered
  • Name of company, agency, team or league (as it would appear on the award)
  • Top three reasons why the entrant should be nominated. These answers should only include information pertinent to the eligibility period. Answers are limited to 500 characters (including spaces) per reason.
  • Key sports contact, including name, title, phone and email address (the top sports executive, the person most likely to accept the award should the entrant win)
  • Person submitting the entry, including name, title, company, phone and email address (the person who can answer any questions on the entry)
  • Three external references for the entrant (executives not affiliated with the entrant), including name, title, company, phone and email address, who can speak about the entrant if the committee wants additional clarification

Additional basic information to be included in your entry materials:

  • Budget, growth and other statistical data. (All budget information remains confidential and will not be used for publication purposes).

Category-specific questions
In your entry materials, submit statistical data, descriptions and examples that address the criteria and questions listed for the category being entered.

Attachments
Once you click “Submit” on the entry form with the basic general information, you will receive a confirmation with a link to our FTP site. At this point, you can attach materials for the entry. This would include a document detailing answers to the category-specific questions. Additional supporting materials could include Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, Excel spreadsheets, collateral materials, video files, etc.

Please be succinct in your answers, providing material preferably in four (4) to six (6) pages, but NO MORE THAN EIGHT (8) TOTAL CONTENT PAGES FROM ALL FILE FORMATS. 

You may submit up to five (5) additional pages of photos or images with up to a one-line caption per photo. Each page can contain more than one photo/image.

For entrants who need to make minor addendums to their entry (to cover the period from January 13 through February 28), please contact Maggie MacKenzie at 704-973-1427 to receive approval and to discuss the process.

Material should be provided separately for each category entered.

Once the nominees are chosen, material originally submitted during the entry phase will be provided to the external judges for the second phase of judging. NOMINEES WILL NOT BE ABLE TO SUBMIT A NEW ENTRY. Nominees who would like to submit minor addendums (to cover the period from January 13 through February 28) for the external judges must receive prior approval from SportsBusiness Journal/Daily. Please contact Maggie MacKenzie at 704-973-1427 to discuss this process.

SportsBusiness Journal/Daily FTP site
– material must be submitted via an FTP site. You may submit material up to 1 GB through SportsBusiness Journal/Daily's FTP site. Go to http://sbjuploads.com. Fill in your contact information and then select "Sports Business Awards." At the next screen, select the appropriate category. On the third screen, follow the instructions on the screen – "Add Files", "Upload" files and "Send my files." 

Other FTP Options – You may also choose to submit material through a third-party file transfer site, such as We TransferHightail etc., or through your company's FTP site or other transfer protocols. The email notification should be sent to Maggie MacKenzie, mmackenzie@sportsbusinessjournal.com

Address Entry Questions to: Maggie MacKenzie, SportsBusiness Journal, 120 West Morehead Street, Charlotte, NC 28202; mmackenzie@sportsbusinessjournal.com; 704-973-1427.

Deadline: Friday, January 12, 2018
All entries and supporting materials must be submitted by January 12, 2018. For supporting materials pertaining to the period from January 13 through February 28, please contact Maggie MacKenzie to discuss the process for adding this information to your previously submitted entry and supporting materials that were received by January 12. 

Entry Fees: There is no fee to submit an entry.

Video Materials (for use at the awards ceremony): Entrants selected as nominees will need to submit video highlights to be used during the awards ceremony, which may be streamed live. A request for the video, with format specifications, will be made at the time entrants are informed of their status as nominees. The deadline for the video materials is Friday, April 6, 2018.

Timeline

Deadline to submit an entry – Friday, January 12, 2018
Nominees announced – Monday, March 19, 2018
Winners announced/Awards presentation – Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Awards Presentation

Wednesday, May 23, 2018
New York Marriott Marquis at Times Square



Winners will be awarded in the following categories:

Categories

Click on the category name to be taken to the criteria and entry form

Sports Team of the Year – Sports teams in the major and minor leagues and U.S. national teams; in leagues whose central offices are located in North America. This does not include individual college teams, recreational adult teams or children's teams. Eligible teams personify best in class and demonstrate excellence, innovation and creativity in the business practices of operating a sports franchise. This includes, but is not limited to, gains or improvements in attendance, ticket and merchandise sales, revenue and profitability; brand development; fan and client services; sponsorship sales, development and activation; media, new media and social media innovation; social responsibility/community relations and outreach programs; and on-field performance.

Sports League of the Year – Major and minor leagues, national Olympic committees, national governing bodies and collegiate conferences whose central offices are located in North America. This does not include recreational adult leagues or children's organizations/leagues. Eligible organizations demonstrate excellence, innovation and creativity in the business practices of operating a sports league. This includes, but is not limited to, gains or improvements in attendance, ticket and merchandise sales, revenue and profitability; brand development; media, new media and social media innovation; sponsorship sales, development and activation; fan and client services; licensing; and social responsibility/community relations and outreach programs.

Sports Event of the Year – Single game or event, or event series, for professional or collegiate teams, sanctioning/organizing/operational bodies, or national or international governing bodies. The event or series must take place in North America. An event can represent a single game or production; a series can represent a cohesive set of games or events over a period of time, not to exceed 14 days.

Sports Executive of the Year – Executives who have a primary involvement in sports business and whose principal office is located in North America. Individuals must demonstrate excellence, innovation, creativity, outstanding leadership and vision. They must offer a clear and distinct vision, make a significant impact on the industry and lead their business unit to improvements.

Athletic Director of the Year – Athletic directors from colleges and universities in the United States. Individuals must demonstrate excellence, innovation, creativity, outstanding leadership and vision. Athletic directors must make a significant impact on collegiate sports; provide a vision for the department’s facility footprint; and lead the department to improvements that include, but are not limited to, attendance; ticket sales; brand strength; revenue and profitability; sponsorship; fundraising; graduation rates; student, fan and client services; and social responsibility/community relations and outreach programs.

Best in Sports Media – This all-encompassing category is for individual companies, leagues, teams and governing bodies that deliver sports programming and content through a combination of various media platforms including, but not limited to, linear television, digital, over-the-top, mobile, social, radio and print. This includes broadcast, cable and over-the-top networks that produce and deliver sporting events, sports programs, sports news shows and sports specials; leagues, teams and governing bodies that provide programming content for media companies to distribute and/or that produce and deliver their own content – including sporting events, sports programs, sports news shows and sports specials; terrestrial, Internet or satellite radio stations that produce and deliver sporting events, sports programs, sports news shows and sports specials; digital, mobile or print media that deliver sports content and programming; and authenticated streaming services. Entities should demonstrate breadth and depth in their sports media offerings. They should demonstrate excellent business practices, innovation and creativity in new business development; successful execution of overall media strategy; property and event rights – new deals, renewals, extensions; creation of sporting events or specific sports programming; all aspects of sports programming; production, including graphics, use of technology and viewer enhancements; talent development and retention; cross-platform programming; commercial partnership, sponsorship or advertising support and overall sales efforts; and continued growth of engagement metrics/audience development. 

Best in Digital Sports Media – Companies across sports that provide digital applications and programming across digital-first destinations, including broadband, streaming, over-the-top and mobile. This category focuses on originally developed and distributed programming and content. This includes entities that have developed content/programming that has made an impact on the industry through innovation, creativity, execution and/or excellence; entities that are informing fans with news, information or audio/video content/programming across digital platforms; and/or free or premium level subscription-based digital products. This does NOT include content produced primarily for television that is digitally simulcast; or authenticated services.

Best in Sports Social Media – This category is for athletes, executives, teams, leagues, events, facilities, agencies, brands, media and any other sports-based company, with operations based in North America, whose use of social media exemplifies excellence, creativity and innovation; and has made a significant positive impact on their business and/or brand awareness. This includes an entity’s integrated use of various social media platforms over a season, series or event; and/or for a specific individual campaign, product launch or marketing effort. Social media platforms could include Facebook, Flickr, Foursquare, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Reddit, Slideshare, Snapchat, Tumblr, Twitter, Vine and YouTube, among others.

Best in Mobile Fan Experience – Companies that provide consumer-facing mobile or digital applications for sports. This includes entities that have developed applications that have made an impact on the industry through innovation, creativity, execution and/or excellence; and/or entities that are using digital or mobile technology to engage sports fans and enhance the fan experience, including applications for in-venue, at-home or fantasy/gaming, etc.

Best Talent Representation of the Year – Talent representation agencies, with operations in North America, that offer any combination of the various services, including contract representation; endorsement representation; image development and enhancement; develop and advise clients on charitable and community involvement and execution; post-retirement advice and career planning; and/or media training. Agencies should select a number of their top clients for whom, during the eligibility period, they were involved in new playing, coaching or media contracts; new endorsement deals, brand activations and executions; and/or charitable, philanthropic and community involvement activities. This would NOT include clients currently on the agency's roster, but for whom the agency did not complete significant business during the eligibility period; or existing clients for whom no contract or endorsement deals have been negotiated. 

Best in Corporate Consulting, Marketing and Client Services – Agencies with operations in North America that offer any combination of the various services on behalf of corporate brands, including corporate consulting; strategic planning; sponsorship valuation, acquisition, activation and execution; rights evaluation, research, analysis and measurement; naming-rights representation and acquisition for corporate brands; corporate brand development, growth and management through sports sponsorship; event creation, ownership and management on behalf of corporate clients; hospitality, ideation, development and activation on behalf of corporate brands; media production, programming and development related to sports; multimedia services; licensing and merchandising; and consumer engagement efforts for corporate brands.

Best in Property Consulting, Sales and Client Services – Agencies with operations in North America that offer any combination of the various services on behalf of properties/facilities/events they represent or own, including property-rights representation and sales; rights evaluation, research, analysis and measurement; naming-rights representation, strategy and sales for properties/facilities/events; media production, programming and sales for properties/facilities/events; media-rights representation and sales for properties/facilities/events; hospitality, ideation, development and activation on behalf of properties/facilities/events; property brand development, growth and management; property licensing and merchandising; event creation, ownership and management for properties; consumer engagement efforts for properties/facilities/events; and other sponsorship, marketing and sales services for properties/facilities/events.

Best in Sports Event and Experiential Marketing – Companies with operations in North America that offer comprehensive sports event services involving strategic planning for event and experiential marketing; innovative and creative sponsorship ideation, fulfillment, activation, production and execution; on-site execution of event and experiential marketing; and handling various forms of corporate hospitality.

Sports Sponsor of the Year – Companies or specific brands that provide financial or in-kind assistance for leagues, teams, sporting events, or national or international governing bodies in return for visibility and use of logos/marks and other in-kind exchanges. Companies must demonstrate excellence, innovation and creativity in the use of their sports sponsorship through strategic planning, development, activation and execution. Companies must also exhibit how the partnership fits into the company’s mission and culture; show extensive program activation; and demonstrate that the sponsorship met its objectives and investments and that the results achieved the company’s goals.

Sports Facility of the Year – Sports facilities (new, renovated or established) in North America whose primary tenants are major league teams or events, minor league teams, college teams, training facilities, practice facilities or sports-related buildings (i.e., halls of fame). While maximizing potential uses of the facility in creative ways, facilities must demonstrate excellence, innovation and creativity in design, functionality and offerings; providing the ultimate user-friendly fan experience; corporate sponsorship development, activation and integration; and in providing a quality playing environment for athletes. Sports facilities must also show increases in the statistical categories of the number of events, attendance and revenue.

Best in Sports Technology – Technological developments or enhancements for sports that demonstrate innovation, excellence and/or creativity. This includes developments or enhancements that are used in sports to significantly enhance the experience, engagement or enjoyment of sports by fans/consumers; developments or enhancements that assist teams, leagues, agencies, companies or the media in conducting their sports business operations; development of wearable player-tracking technology that has a connection to the professional and/or collegiate sports industry; and/or development of the infrastructure for digital/mobile applications. Emphasis will be given to those technologies that have made a major impact on the market. This award does NOT encompass new product technology, such as athletic equipment (uniforms, bats, balls, gloves, helmets, etc.), apparel, outerwear or licensed merchandise, etc.

Sports Breakthrough of the Year – Sports-based companies, events, brands, facilities, agencies, teams, leagues, executives or athletes, with operations based in North America, that had a major breakthrough in the sports space through a significant increase in their social/brand awareness, major transactions, business objectives/results and/or other notable accomplishments. Entries need to have made an immediate and significant impact in their category and/or marketplace; must have demonstrated excellence, innovation and creativity resulting in a demonstrable impact on the business of sports; and/or had a breakthrough achievement during the eligibility period. 

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