AdNews publisher Yaffa Media was crowned Australian Event of the Year in two categories at a gala awards ceremony in Caloundra last night.
The Sydney-based, family-owned publisher won both awards for its first foray into sports event management, the Bowral Classic which beat all-comers to win Best New Event and Best Community Event at the hotly contested Australian Event Awards for 2017.
The Bowral Classic is a Grand Fondo (Long Ride) event that had its inaugural running in the NSW Southern Highlands on 23 October 2016.
It was conceived and organised by AdNews Publisher James Yaffa, who also publishes Australia's pre-eminent cycling publication Bicycling Australia.
It quickly captured the imagination of cyclists everywhere. An initial target of 1,000 riders was blown out of the water as more than 3,000 cyclists from around the nation and eight overseas countries descended on the historic township of Bowral to take part.
Two separate judging panels each determined that the Bowral Classic was a stand-out in its category, beating dozens of entries received from every state and territory, when handing out two of the coveted Awards.
In winning the Best Community Event trophy, Bowral Classic beat a stellar line up of finalists that included the Sydney Royal Easter Show. In winning Best New Event it crossed the line ahead of the likes of Usain Bolt who was the star attraction of fellow finalist the Nitro Athletics series.
James Yaffa devised and oversaw a media and marketing campaign that generated $3m worth of exposure for the event, from an investment of just $50k for the event.
Nearly half of the 3,023 riders that took part brought their families to make a weekend of it, injecting $1.5m into the local economy, while participants raised $109,000 for a variety of charities.
"We are absolutely over the moon to have the Bowral Classic recognised as Australia's best event by this prestigious awards program," Yaffa said.
"Our double success is testament to the enormous hard work from a lot of people and the tremendous faith shown in us by key stakeholders, sponsors and all the cyclists that took part on the day."
The Bowral Classic awards entry
The Bowral Classic was also a National finalist for Best Achievement in Marketing, Communication & Sponsorship, a category won by Tourism Australia for its World's 50 best Restaurants event.
A number of other media companies were honoured at Australian Event Awards last night.
Fairfax won Best Sporting Event for its Sun-Herald City2Surf while Mumbrella was a beaten finalist in the Best Meeting or Conference category for its annual Mumbrella360 event.
Former AdNews sales executive Justine Kendall was also a winner with her business Rizer taking out Australian Event Management Company of the Year.
Now in its ninth year, the Australian Event Awards are considered the most prestigious prize of their kind among industry leaders and event organisers from around the nation.
Co-chair of the Australian Event Awards Judging Panel, Sandy Hollway AO said: “The Awards puts a spotlight on the industry suppliers delivering incredible technical, design, marketing and other achievements, often behind the scenes.
"Once again, the winners of this year’s Australian Event Awards demonstrate the strength and variety of Australia’s events industry, from outstanding events in regional areas, to events raising awareness and funds for important causes, bringing Australian brands to life with innovative activations, tourism events pumping money into local economies."
The Bowral Classic has become an annual event with the 2017 version to ride off on 22 October. The concept has also expanded into other states in 2018 with the inaugural Clare Classic to be held in South Australia's stunning Clare Valley on 8 April and the first Noosa Classic to take place on 26 August.
Regional tourism body Destination New South Wales has come on board with significant backing of the Bowral Classic through to 2019.
A full list of Australian Event Awards Winners for 2017 is available here.
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