Blackburn Rovers have been awarded ‘The Football League Family Excellence Award’ for the 2015/16 season.
Created in 2007, the Award recognises the outstanding experience provided by clubs for young fans and families as part of a scheme that won the Gold Award at the European Professional Football Leagues’ Best Practice Awards.
A total of 44 clubs from across all three divisions of The Football League have achieved the Award for 2016, with a significant increase in the benchmark standard being applied by the judging panel.
More than ever this year, Football League clubs are providing families with engaging and innovative matchday entertainment, including high levels of ticket booking assistance, extensive pre-match advice, guidance and materials, exciting entertainment both inside and outside the stadium, and money can’t buy experiences for young fans.
Many clubs are setting benchmark standards in providing such things as matchday menus for entertainment schedules and catering options, innovative locally-sourced refreshments, along with magic moments of interaction with club mascots, players and enthusiastic family-friendly staff within dedicated family zones.
Rovers, in particular, were highlighted by the Football League for their work in this area, thanks to the FanZone, Strikers Family Lounge and the popular sensory room. With the club winning the "If the football doesn't entertain you - this will" award.
In announcing the successful clubs, Football League Chief Executive, Shaun Harvey, said: “The Football League Family Excellence Award continues to provide clubs with a standard to aspire to. The objective of the Award is to recognise those clubs who have successfully attracted more families and young fans to matches.
“Innovation is at the heart of clubs’ success and the League’s partnerships with Channel 5 and Nickelodeon (via Nick Kicks) are part of an ongoing commitment to support clubs in this important area by increasing the profile of our games among the next generation of fans.”
Six clubs have secured the Award in every year they have been eligible to receive it - Doncaster Rovers, Huddersfield Town, Ipswich Town, Milton Keynes Dons, Cardiff City and Reading. Wigan Athletic have been awarded the accolade for the first time.
The Award recipients are decided by an independent assessment using real families that has been commissioned by The Football League, at all 72 League clubs, during the 2015/16 season.