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Sport Industry Awards launches in South Africa

The Sport Industry Awards, Europe’s largest and most prestigious commercial sport awards, are to be replicated in South Africa – the first-ever opportunity for the rapidly evolving South African sports market to celebrate its business achievements.

The move has already garnered the support of global brands and international icons, with Virgin Active signing up as Headline Partner and three of the country’s most inspirational and successful sport stars – Lucas Radebe, Bobby Skinstad and Natalie du Toit – serving as the event’s ambassadors.

The city of Ekurhuleni will stage the inaugural Virgin Active Sport Industry Awards, which will take place on February 17, 2011 and will be hosted by Emperors Palace.

Presented in front of a star-studded audience of all the key stakeholders in South African sport, the Virgin Active Sport Industry Awards will recognise and reward the best the South African sport business has to offer in categories covering marketing, PR, sponsorship, media, advertising and design.

The annual awards ceremony will see the country’s top-performing sport brands and organisations receive recognition for their work at a glamorous black-tie event in what has become the most visible and sought-after endorsement of commercial achievement in sport.

Having just completed its eighth year, the corresponding UK gala event is the largest sport business event in Europe and has attracted the highest profile global sporting and non-sporting celebrities, including the likes of David and Victoria Beckham, Jenson Button, Martin Johnson, Dame Kelly Holmes, Kevin Pietersen, Thierry Henry, Bernie Ecclestone, Sven-Goran Eriksson and Michael Johnson, who have lined up alongside all the key stakeholders from within the UK sport industry to celebrate the annual Awards.

The introduction of the Virgin Active Sport Industry Awards will be supported by a breaking news and views website (, providing the South African sport business with a one-stop information source for all the developments in this fast-evolving industry.

Aside from Virgin Active’s involvement as Headline Partner, a number of corporate companies have given their backing to the awards. SuperSport will serve as the Official Broadcaster of the Sport Industry Awards, while Rapport and City Press will add their considerable online and print expertise as the event’s Official Media Partners. EA Sports is the first of a number of category sponsors to confirm their involvement.

Deloitte, the major international accounting and consulting firm, will be the event’s Official Independent Adjudicator, overseeing the judging process for the awards.

Nick Keller, chairman of the Sport Industry Group, which organises the awards, says: “No country in the world knows more than South Africa how powerful sport can be, and with the upcoming 2010 World Cup set to reaffirm South Africa’s status as a key region for the commercial world of sport, it is absolutely the right time to launch an event that recognises best practice in this area. The awards will serve to reward the best work that the South African sport business has to offer, and bring the industry together to share, celebrate and reward.”

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