Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club took home three accolades at the annual Business of Cricket Awards (BOCAs) which was staged at the Ageas Bowl on Thursday night.
The Trent Bridge-based club won The Warmest Welcome Award for the second successive year while also taking home The Inclusivity Award and Blast It Communications Campaign Award.
ECB Chief Executive Officer Tom Harrison was in attendance at the awards, which were hosted by BBC presenter Mark Chapman, as the county network joined together to celebrate outstanding and innovative business practice to grow cricket following a memorable year for the game both on and off the field.
This year marks the start of the ECB’s new five-year strategy, Inspiring Generations, as the whole game comes together to reach new audiences while continuing to serve cricket’s loyal fans.
The BOCAs provided a clear example of the innovation and hard work within the county network to do just that with the evening’s host county Hampshire celebrating an awards double.
The club claimed the Best Loyalty Initiative for their innovative Hampshire Cricket App while the club’s Head of Marketing, Harry Walklin, won the Rising Star Award.
The Hampshire app has provided its fans with a one-stop location to easily buy match tickets and keep up to date with the club, including the ability to watch live streams of matches.
Harry Walklin said: “We’re absolutely chuffed. It’s a massive privilege to host the awards let alone to win on home turf.
“We wanted to innovate with the app which is a content platform but outside of that it also has a digital ticketing wallet. Fans can access their tickets on the app and send them on to friends or family via Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger or email.
“Someone watching the live stream from home will have full access to the ticker and the scores and the live commentary. Hopefully it is a decent way to watch cricket if you can’t be at the ground.
“We’ve had 18,000 users since launching in May and we’re keen to give people another platform and opportunity to engage with us and make sure that we’re front of mind when they’re thinking cricket or sport.”
Yorkshire also won two awards, including the first of the night when they were presented with the Team Awesome Award for the club’s Yorkies Match Day Support Team.
The White Rose county collected the Community Engagement Impact Award, for high-profile match venues, for its Women’s Charity Cricket Tournament which the judges said was “rooted in the community” and that went “way beyond being inclusive and has legacy and longevity”.
Somerset claimed the second Community Engagement Impact Award of the night for their inspiration work with people with additional support needs, that the judges said: “Truly changes lives of the young and old."
It was Notts who were the most frequent visitors to the stage including their back-to-back Warmest Welcome Award – which is decided by a customer survey to every ticket buyer across all women’s and men’s formats of the game – to underline the consistently high-class fan experience at Trent Bridge.
The club’s inclusivity programme, which was shaped on the back of 18 months of research, was duly rewarded to highlight the work done in its community while their “amazing behind-the-scenes access” for fans helped to win the Blast It Communications Awards for a high-profile match venue.
Warwickshire’s Head of Stadium Operations Claire Daniel and Cricket Operations Manager Keith Cook shared the coveted Unsung Hero Award for their dedicated commitment to delivering the smooth match day experience at Edgbaston, where the pair have worked together for almost a decade.
Claire Daniel said: “There’s no other person in this world more than Cooky that I would want to share this award with. He is an absolute legend, he’s probably the most genuine guy in cricket and he has taught me so much.
“We have got each other’s back which is so important and why we’ve been at Edgbaston so long, but it is a team effort and it’s all about delivering the best fan experience. The Edgbaston mantra is to be the best at everything we do.”
County Championship and Vitality Blast champions Essex added another award to their trophy cabinet as they won the Most Improved Match Day Experience.
Durham won the Welcome Families Award for its Family Zone Roadshow, which helped to increase attendances across the season and introduce new audiences to cricket.
The Blast It Communications Campaign, for first-class cricket venues, was won by Derbyshire for its Local Rivals Collide campaign as the club reached Finals Day for the first time on the field and sold its record number of group-stage Blast tickets off it, including a first sell-out against derby rivals Notts.
Derbyshire Media and Marketing Manager Tom Skinner said: “As a small county we pride ourselves on punching above our weight.
“We have such a tight unit as a club with players and off-field staff. The players understand the hard work we do and the success they’ve had on the field has helped us to push things off the field. I’d like to think that works both ways and our hard work in attracting fans through the gates helps their performance. It’s been a successful year for the club all round.”
BOCAs – AWARD WINNERS & NOMINEES
TEAM AWESOME AWARD
Highly Commended: Warwickshire
BEST LOYALTY INITIATIVE AWARD
Nominees: Somerset, Warwickshire.
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT IMPACT AWARD
Winner (High-Profile Match Venue): Yorkshire
Nominees: Durham, Gloucestershire, Lancashire.
Winner (First-class Cricket Venue): Somerset
Nominees: Worcestershire, Essex.
WELCOME FAMILIES AWARD
Nominees: Nottinghamshire, Warwickshire
Nominees: Somerset, Warwickshire
BLAST IT COMMUNICATIONS CAMPAIGN AWARD
Winner (High-Profile Match Venue): Nottinghamshire
Nominees: Hampshire, Lancashire
Winner: (First-Class Cricket Venue): Derbyshire
Nominees: Somerset, Sussex.
MOST IMPROVED MATCH DAY EXPERIENCE AWARD
WARMEST WELCOME AWARD
UNSUNG HERO OF MATCH DAY OPERATIONS AWARD
Joint Winners: Claire Daniel & Keith Cook (Warwickshire)
RISING STAR AWARD
Winner: Harry Walklin (Hampshire)