SoL up for award

by Stuart Vose

Home of the Black Cats in the spotlight.

The Stadium of Light has been shortlisted for a prestigious award for the role it has played in bringing tourism to the north east.

The stadium has been shortlisted in the category of Tourism Experience of the Year, incorporating Best Event, in the North East England Tourism Awards, after staging a number of high profile concerts with some of the biggest names in showbusiness.

The stadium, which has attracted world famous stars such as Coldplay, Bruce Springsteen and Take That - and is set to welcome Bon Jovi and Rihanna in the summer of 2013 - was shortlisted by judges from a number of organisations, including NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Northumberland County Council, Nexus and the North East Chamber of Commerce.

The awards honour the achievements of venues, attractions, hotels and service providers working in the tourism industry and the winners of the 14 categories will be announced at a ceremony on January 31 2013 at The Sage Gateshead.

Should the Stadium of Light win its category it will then have the chance to compete against winners from other UK regions in the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence in 2013.

SAFC Commercial Director Gary Hutchinson said: “It was our goal to become much more than just a football stadium; to become an iconic venue in the events sector.

“So far we have staged 12 concerts with internationally famous stars to combined audiences of around 650,000 people - 130,000 of whom came from outside the North East, generating £42m for the region’s economy. 

“This has been the result of a vast amount of work and perseverance from a large number of people, both at the stadium and within the wider regional community and it is thanks to all their efforts that we have been shortlisted for this prestigious award.”

For further information about events and facilities at Sunderland AFC call 0871 911 1243.