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Beat the Scrum > News > Beat The Scrum wins global award!

Beat The Scrum wins global award!

Leaders Sports Award - James Rule and John Hughes

The Beat The Scrum campaign has been named the Best Sponsorship programme in world sport at the prestigious Leaders Sport Awards, receiving the top honour ahead of initiatives with the likes of Manchester United, NFL, LA Clippers, NHL and England Cricket.

Beat The Scrum sees Widnes Vikings stars and legends of Rugby League unite to help educate the public on how to make the right NHS choices when they experience illnesses or injuries. Through delivering creative social media campaigns, securing significant PR coverage, featuring on the Vikings playing shirts, and being showcased matchday events, it gives the NHS an exceptional platform to engage with the public.

This partnership has been commissioned by a coalition of NHS organisations within the Mid-Mersey A&E Delivery Board and is supported by Renova Developments. A key objective of the Beat The Scrum campaign is to raise awareness of how by choosing walk-in or urgent care centres in situations that aren’t serious or life threatening, instead of A&E departments, people can avoid longer waiting times and also take pressure off local hospitals. With over 120,000 people from Warrington, Knowsley, St Helens and Halton unnecessarily visiting A&E services in the 2016/17 year, at the cost of £10m, Beat The Scrum has a vital aim.

Leaders In Sport celebrates ‘companies and individuals who are shaping the future of sport’. The awards were judged by a panel of 100 experts, drawn from fields such as governing bodies, including Serie A and IAAF, broadcasters, such as ESPN and BBC Sport, and major sports teams including FC Internazionale Milan, Manchester United and Team GB.

The nominations were as follows: 

Beat the Scrum

by Widnes Vikings, with the NHS Mid-Mersey A&E Delivery Board & Renova Developments

Cricket Has No Boundaries

by NatWest and M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment

Female Empowerment Program

by L.A. Clippers and Bumble

Head & Shoulders, #ShouldersofGreatness Social Program

by MKTG, Head & Shoulders and the NFL

Hockey is for Everyone Month Activation

by Monumental Sports and Entertainment and Etihad Airways


by DHL, Manchester United & Bright Partnerships

This award, which was presented by football legend Stiliyan Petrov, recognises the ongoing success for the campaign, with it achieving more than 500,000 online video views in less than one year and unprecedented media coverage. It has previously received the Rosa Parks Award from the NHS Academy Of Fab, been named Best Digital Campaign and Best Integrated Campaign by the Chartered Institute of Marketing North, and is currently shortlisted in two categories of the health sectors’ most illustrious awards, The Health Service Journal Awards.

James Rule, Chief Executive of Widnes Vikings, says: “For a campaign that has been planned and delivered within our organisation to receive global recognition as the best sponsorship programme is a real source of pride.

“We would like to thank our partners at the Mid-Mersey A&E Delivery Board for their vision in backing this programme, as well as Renova Developments for supporting the campaign. Special thanks must also go to the Rugby League legends, media outlets and Widnes Vikings players who have been integral to the campaign’s success. To be able to represent our club, Rugby League and the NHS at an event of this calibre, alongside leading campaigns from the NHL, NBA, NFL, ECB and Premier League, is an incredible honour.”

John Hughes, who developed and implemented the programme as Director of Communications and Digital for Widnes Vikings says: “For Widnes Vikings to feature alongside such incredible clubs and brands is a genuine honour. To see an idea that we developed in-house grow to become something that is selected as the Best Sponsorship campaign in sport is beyond belief, and a testament to the support of the Rugby League community and the innovation at Widnes Vikings.

“This success has only been made possible because of the vision of our NHS partners and Renova Developments, the brilliant contributions from our players, staff and legends, and the incredible backing from rugby league supporters. I hope that everyone associated with the club feels proud of their contribution to the campaigns.

“Special thanks must also go to our digital partner, Carbon Creative, and video partner, Jack-All Productions.”

Robert Elstone, the chief executive of Super League, added: “Congratulations to everyone involved at Widnes and elsewhere in this innovative campaign. It’s a perfect example of the importance of our game and our clubs in their communities, and it’s great that the Vikings have secured this deserved recognition.”

Mel Pickup, Chief Executive of Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS FT, says: “Beat the Scrum has been a really innovative campaign that has taken our messages to a very diverse audience, many of whom we have struggled to reach in the past.

“Making the campaign totally relevant to Rugby League fans has ensured that the fun and impactful short films have been widely viewed and shared across multiple channels. We certainly could not have hoped to have reached and informed so many potential users with our traditional and very stretched NHS resources.  We congratulate the Vikings on winning the Best Sponsorship accolade at the Leaders Sports Awards – this is richly deserved and we look forward to working together again soon.”