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The Stadium Events & Hospitality Awards heads to Manchester for the first time

The Stadium Events & Hospitality Awards will be heading to Manchester for the very first time. The organiser, Stadium Experience, is delighted to announce that the 2019 Stadium Events & Hospitality Awards will be hosted at the Etihad Stadium, home of Premier League champions, Manchester City FC. The awards will take place in the prestigious Legends suite, during late May / early June 2019, with over 400 guests enjoying a four-course menu and awards ceremony, followed by entertainment.
The Etihad Stadium is a world class 55,000 seater stadium and has been home to Manchester City FC since 2002. Featuring 66 hospitality boxes, three concourse levels and 14 lounges, including the prestigious Tunnel Club, the stadium can also host up to 500 guests for a dinner or conference. The stadium also offers fantastic road links, a tram station on site and free parking for over 2,500 cars.
The awards aim to recognise and reward the efforts and dedication shown by the catering, conference and events teams at every football and rugby stadium across the UK and Ireland. For 2019, there are two brand new categories, and the independent industry judges will also be returning, with representation from HGEM and Salon Culinaire, as well as a special panel made up of experienced experts from; arrangeMY, Conference News, The Change Group, fcbusiness, HBAA, and Venue Smart. The Stadium Events & Hospitality Awards 2019 will officially launch for entries on 1st October 2018, closing on 1st April 2019.
There will be a total of 14 award categories (Winner, Silver & Bronze available in each category), including:

  1. Visiting Directors Award – Football (Voted for by visiting directors)
  2. Visiting Directors Award – Rugby (Voted for by visiting directors)
  3. Chef Team of the Year Award (Judged by Salon Culinaire)
  4. Non-Matchday Mystery Shopper Award (Judged by HGEM)
  5. Best Digital Enquiry Award (Judged by HGEM)           
  6. Shining Star Award (Judged by panel of industry experts)
  7. Operations Team of the Year Award (Judged by panel of industry experts)   
  8. *NEW* Matchday Sales Team of the Year Award (Judged by panel of industry experts)
  9. *NEW* Non-Matchday Sales Team of the Year Award (Judged by panel of industry experts)
  10. Best Stadium Venue Award (Judged by panel of industry experts)
  11. Matchday Hospitality Award – Small (up to 1000 hospitality seats) (Judged by Salon Culinaire)
  12. Matchday Hospitality Award – Medium (1001 – 2000 hospitality seats) (Judged by Salon Culinaire)
  13. Matchday Hospitality Award – Large (2001+ hospitality seats) (Judged by Salon Culinaire)
  14. Overall Matchday Hospitality Award (Judged by Salon Culinaire)

Paul Burridge, Director of Hospitality for Fabulous Fan Fayre (F3) at the stadium, commented: “At long last The Stadium Events & Hospitality Awards has made its way to Manchester! It’s with pride we are hosting the 14th awards evening here at the Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City Football Club. We are delighted to welcome the variety and diversity of each of the stadiums who will be joining us at the awards evening!”
Collette Salmon, Chair of Stadium Experience, said: “This will be the 14th annual awards organised by Stadium Experience. Every year has grown to be bigger and better than the last, so where better to host the awards than at the home of a Premier League champions Manchester City. We are very excited to be working with this world-class venue for the 2019 awards.”


Edgbaston confirms increased capacity ahead of ballot launch for Specsavers Ashes Test match

•    Pre-sale ticket sales up 35 per cent on 2015 Ashes Test
Birmingham’s Edgbaston Stadium is increasing its capacity by an extra 840 seats for next year’s marquee programme of major match cricket, which includes the ICC Cricket World Cup, Vitality Blast Finals Day and the first Test of England’s Specsavers Ashes series against Australia.
With ticket sales for next summer’s Specsavers Ashes Test match increased by 35 per cent in in the pre-sale window, in comparison Edgbaston’s last Test meeting between England and Australia in 2015, the Birmingham venue is working with Arena Seating to install a temporary stand for use across all days.
Gareth Roberts, Commercial Director at Edgbaston Stadium, said: “There’s never been a bigger programme of cricket in Birmingham than what’s coming in 2019, with the Ashes, ICC Cricket World Cup and Finals Day all coming to Edgbaston.
“We’re very proud to bring the biggest fixtures in the game to Birmingham and, in response to the initial demand that we’ve seen, we wanted to give more spectators an opportunity to secure tickets for these games.”
Edgbaston is introducing a public ballot for the first time for its Specsavers Ashes Test match, which opens on Thursday 20 September and is live until midday on Friday 12 October.
Roberts added: “We’ve spent time this summer examining ticketing operations for other major sporting events to ensure that we provide the fairest possible process, whilst also recognising loyalty and giving priority to our Warwickshire CCC Members.
“Having sold out our first allocation of Ashes tickets via a priority window for our Members and regular visitors, a second allocation of tickets for the first four days will be available in the ballot, with tickets subsequently being randomly assigned to ballot entrants once the three-week period has ended.”
“Should the number of requests for tickets exceed availability on set days, we hope to give fans an opportunity to purchase on other days.”
England will arrive in Birmingham ahead of the Specsavers Ashes series having lost just once in their last 14 Test matches played at Edgbaston; a record that also includes wins in the last four Tests.


Rigby Taylor Products Score Consistently Well For Leicestershire County Cricket Club

Having spent his complete working life at Leicestershire County Cricket Club, head groundsman Andy Ward is unswerving in his dedication to keep The Fischer County Ground’s square, outfield area and nets up to first class standard.
He and his five-strong grounds team’s implementation of a methodical pitch maintenance regime is coupled with the use of the appropriate machinery and equipment, as well as amenity supplies to ensure this is the case, year-in and year-out.
Andy joined the Leicestershire Foxes’ grounds team in 1985 on a youth training scheme and has gradually moved up the ladder, beginning with tasks that included cutting the surrounds, outfield and practice area. After being appointed deputy head groundsman he progressed into the position of head groundsman in 2009.
With 21 wickets – 15 of them being for first-class games – Andy reflects that “there’s a lot of variation in the job over an annual eight-month season,” he says. “And this year it has been particularly tricky weather-wise, with ice and snow followed by a period of heavy rain then drought!
“This has played havoc with wicket preparations – from April onwards we’d normally spend 12/13 days preparing individual wickets, but that’s not always been possible – for a ground that is heavily used for a variety of games by the Leicestershire CCC teams as well as, for example, T20 games and England Women’s matches in addition to non-sporting events such as music concerts.
“But with a great grounds team who between them have a lot of experience, complemented by the use of some superlative amenity products from Rigby Taylor, we’ve been able to keep pace with the demands while also be able to present a top-class playing surface – which has resulted in us winning the ECB 1 Day pitch award alongside Nottinghamshire in 2017 and being outright winners in 2013.”
Andy says the use of Rigby Taylor supplies – especially the R range of seed mixtures that have been developed using highly rated, top performing cultivars – has been a constant at the club even before he became head groundsman.
“We’ve always used R9 (100% ultra-fine rye) on the square and nets, and R11 (100% perennial rye) on the outfield – R11 being especially hard-wearing and drought-tolerant.”
In addition, Microflow and Fineturf fertilisers are used alongside a programme of Fusion fungicide and the Mascot Hi-Aktiv and Chikara herbicides (glyphosate, and contact/residual, respectively). Also, Duraline Dazzle line-marking paint is used on the wickets.
“In addition, I know that Rigby Taylor’s technical sales representative Carl Chamberlain is always available by ‘phone, and that’s a great reassurance when I need to discuss an issue or order something quickly.”
This year’s first-class wickets have been reduced to 13, says Andy, after two were re-laid last year when the top seven inches were removed and replaced with Ongar loam [all wickets are Ongar; the nets – “some of the best in the country”, says Andy – are of Boughton loam]. “The plan is to put a (second team) game on them this year. This is in stark contrast to what we used to do with new wickets – and that is to leave them for four or five years before staging a game on them.”
Wicket re-laying is part of an ongoing plan to renovate the complete square, says Andy. “The square has historically received so many different topdressings over the years, with no real science behind the applications, and with nine of the 15 squares being at least 50 years old the plan now is to gradually renovate them all to give them a new lease of life.”
This is part of the club’s ongoing improvement programme which, in 2016, saw the installation of floodlights.
Going forwards, with the use of new wickets year-on-year, Andy and his team obviously have pitch care down to an art, “which is helped in no small way by the use of Rigby Taylor products”, he adds.

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