Now in their 10th anniversary year, an unprecedented number of clubs have attained the Family Excellence Award for 2017, with a significant increase in the benchmark standard being applied by the judging panel. Four clubs - Cambridge United, Mansfield Town, Newport County and Aston Villa - have also received the accolade for the first time this season.
More than ever, EFL clubs are providing families with engaging and innovative matchday entertainment, as they continue to find new and unique ways to attract fans and their families to matches. Such experiences include high levels of ticket booking assistance for families, extensive pre-match advice, exciting entertainment both inside and outside stadiums, access to players, mascots and dedicated family zones and activities.
Over the past 10 years, more and more young people have made their way through the turnstiles in the EFL, with junior season ticket sales having increased by a staggering 37% since 2007, and 20% of all EFL club match attendees now under the age of 16.
Over the past decade eight clubs have secured the award in every year they have been eligible to receive it; Birmingham City, Bolton Wanderers, Cardiff City, Doncaster Rovers, Huddersfield Town, Ipswich Town, Milton Keynes Dons and Reading.
The Award recipients are decided using independent assessments from real families, who make matchday visits across all 72 League clubs, during the 2016/17 season.
Judging Comments & Process
The judges were particularly impressed with the efforts clubs are making to engage with families through matchday entertainment, refreshment facilities and mascot activities, all ensuring they can enjoy the match in a dedicated, safe, welcoming and entertaining environment.
The provision of informative, detailed pre-match information for families and first-time fans has also increased across League clubs, along with dedicated family stadium staff and specially trained family area ‘greeters’, and a comprehensive effort to rid family areas of abusive language and anti-social behaviour. These initiatives have all combined to again increase the benchmark this year.
The EFL also provides best practice guidance, benchmarking feedback and training for all clubs, to encourage them in their efforts towards achieving the mark next season.
Family Club of the Year
The EFL has already recognised the clubs delivering the very best family experience in each division this season through the ‘Nickelodeon Family Club of the Year’ award at this season’s EFL Awards. Millwall were announced as overall winners, with Blackburn Rovers picking up the Championship award and Stevenage being crowned League 2 winners.
Clubs shortlisted for the Family Club of the Year Award were Blackburn Rovers, Brighton & Hove Albion, Millwall, MK Dons, Carlisle United and Stevenage.
Clubs that received the Award in 2017:
Brighton & Hove Albion
Preston North End