Created in 2007, the EFL Family Excellence Award recognises the outstanding experience provided by clubs for young fans and families, as well as their efforts to enhance the match day experience.
Frances Fielding, Rochdale Football Club's Sales and Marketing Manager said: “We are thrilled to have been awarded the Family Excellence Award. We have worked hard to obtain this during the season, as family is the heart of Rochdale AFC. It is fantastic to be recognised for this achievement.”
“Throughout the season we have delivered a range of family friendly workshops including Spiderman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Paw Patrol and Fireman Sam (who is joining us this Sunday), to enhance the matchday experience for children and families.
“We are excited to be investing further in a unique Kids Zone next season that will be situated in the Carlsberg Lounge and our new Junior Dale Club for 2016/17 will be another major coup in enhancing our family offer further.”
Now in their 10th anniversary year, an unprecedented number of clubs (51) have attained the Family Excellence Award for 2017, with a significant increase in the benchmark standard being applied by the judging panel.
More than ever this year, 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.
Such evidence is a strong indication of a healthy future for football in this country according to Shaun Harvey, EFL Chief Executive.
He said: “The EFL Family Excellence Awards have proven to be a fantastic vehicle for celebrating and highlighting the excellent progress that clubs are making in providing families with improved match day experiences.
“Now in their 10th year, the Awards have made a significant impact and this year’s winners have once again shown how innovative thinking and a strong commitment can enhance the experience for both home and away.
“I wish to congratulate each and every club who has been recognised for playing their part in continuing to attract a growing number of younger fans to the game in what is undoubtedly a valuable indication of a bright and healthy future for the EFL.”
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.