Three clubs previously honored in recent years for their excellence in marketing have returned to the podium as this season's Devotion Marketing Awards winners. FC Bayern Munich was selected as the Gold Award winner, Anadolu Efes Istanbul received the Silver Award and Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade the Bronze Award.
The winners were announced during the EuroLeague Clubs Business Meeting on Thursday in Barcelone before an audience of their colleagues and other top executives from the sports industry.
To become eligible for the Devotion Marketing Awards, clubs were invited to present a marketing initiative they had carried out during the previous season in areas such as digital strategy, sponsorship activation, brand development and game presentation.
Bayern's Gold Award was based on the club's Virtual Audi Dome. The goal of the digital project was to bring fans back to the Audi Dome and create a game-day-like experience that melted the borders between the actual venue and the digital one. In the Virtual Audi Dome, Bayern fans could interact thanks to exclusive and live content on game days, experience a lifelike atmosphere with live pregame shows, shop at the FC Bayern Store, engage in Zoom calls with members of the club and more.
Last season's Gold Award winner, Efes settled for silver this time due to three different initiatives to improve the connection to their fans during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Anadolu Efes Sports Club Digital Stands used video technology to create a game-like atmosphere that allowed fans' live cheering and reactions to the action to be seen at Sinan Erdem Arena and on live broadcasts of the game. Anadolu Efes Studio live-streamed 90 minutes of pregame activities for home games during the season on Twitter and YouTube, including a live background shot of the team warming up while the host and his guests discussed the upcoming game. And Efes Digital Away-Games meetings brought players and staff members and Efes's passionate fans together for online conversations.
Zvezda, which was presented the Silver Award last year, brings home the bronze in 2021 for the many ways it stayed connected with its fans during the pandemic-affected season. The club established a goal to treat its fans like family and included fan names in the team's main logo. Zvezda added a special pregame show to its broadcasts, set up 1,000 LED screens on its home court to show the faces of 1,000 fans, fully branded Stark Arena to fit its sponsorship needs, created Viber sticker packs for social media channels, and introduced a new Crvena Zvezda Podcast.
Congratulations to the winning clubs, and to all the others who submitted outstanding entries!