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Bringing an end to 2020 as promptly and seamlessly as possible was high on the agenda for almost everybody last year. However, we managed to squeeze in a virtual event in December before we could all put the feet up and relax over the Christmas period. It was the first time this annual, physical event had been transformed to a virtual event, a sign of the times and a trend we will see continue throughout the events sector in Ireland and around the world. Usually set
amongst a large gathering of people in a Dublin hotel, the annual SSE Airtricity / Soccer Writers Association of Ireland banquet stayed with the times and transformed from a physical event to a virtual event.
As with this event each year, we work very closely with the SWAI and SSE Airtricity to bring this event to life. This year, we assisted and managed the event from a virtual perspective – organising the recording studio, designing LED backdrops to be used in studio, organising the press release, producing branded trophy plinths and managing the overall production alongside the SWAI and production team. The SWAI looked after the media side of things, as some may say that is their speciality, and the final few edits of the production to align the end product with their target market.
As part of the banquet each year, there are three main awards on the night with the winners accepting their award on stage in front of the attendees. We tried to keep the sense of achievement for each winner and replicate the award acceptance, albeit in a socially distant manner. We were fortunate enough to welcome two out of the three winners in to the studio to accept their award and speak to our MC, Nathan Murphy, for the banquet. The other award winner was dialled in remotely over Zoom as they could not attend the studio. We incorporated this Zoom interview in to the overall production of the banquet. Our MC conversed directly with the winner on a Zoom link and the interview was cut down and edited to fit seamlessly in to the production.
The two winners that came in to studio were delighted to accept their awards in person before having a few words with our MC. They were mic’d up as they arrived and got in to position within the studio to begin recording. Both interviews went very well in terms of filming and retakes. We did not require many retakes of each interview which helped the end production look so smooth. Alan Mannus received the SWAI/SSE Airtricity Goalkeeper of the year award whilst Conan Byrne collected the Liam Tuohy Special Merit award. The overall winner and SWAI/SSE Airtricity Personality of the year for 2020 was Jack Byrne.
Jack and Alan had great seasons personally and collectively for Shamrock Rovers as they ended the season unbeaten as they claimed the SSE Airtricity Premier Division. They narrowly missed out on the FAI cup also which was very nearly a historic season for the hoops.
Jack was the stand out player in the league in 2020 and as a result he was recognised as the personality of the year winner. Jack also claimed the PFAI player of the year award which was a memorable season for him personally. He was head and shoulders above the rest and he let his feet do the talking on the pitch.
Alan had a great season between the posts and was a deserved winner of the goalkeeper of the year award. He kept numerous clean sheets and made some excellent saves as he helped his side go unbeaten in the league in 2020. It was a great achievement for Mannus who had come back for his second spell with Shamrock Rovers. At the virtual event, Alan confidently stamped his authority that he will be playing for as many years as possible and hopefully at the top of his game.
Conan Byrne, a now retired League of Ireland player turned Northern Ireland Premiership player, collected his award from the live virtual event studio in Dublin. Conan was on hand to accept his award and answer a few questions from our MC on the day, Nathan Murphy. Conan will go down as a League of Ireland legend as he enjoyed some great years with St Patrick’s Athletic, Shelbourne and UCD. The award was seen as well deserved from those within the footballing circles in Ireland.
We had sought the assistance of an RTE videographer editor, who like every year, to help pull archived footage together to accompany the three players receiving their awards. We intertwined the highlight reels with the interviews to pull the full video together. The SWAI looked after the end edit of the video along with the virtual event production company, Conference Services.
The Ripple Events team managed the virtual event from the outset. They liaised with all parties and managed the studio and production booking. They also sought the assistance of Ripple Marketing’s design team to create virtual branding to impose over the final video. The design team also designed a large LED branded backdrop that was visible throughout the entire virtual event whilst the events team organised a branded plinth to showcase each award on the day. The branding was all created to highlight SSE Airtricity’s sponsorship of the virtual event.
Virtual events certainly look like the future of the events industry, at least while social distancing remains in place. At Ripple we know, from hosting these events, that the audience size is huge and that virtual events have huge potential for event planners and sponsors alike. Once people realise their full potential and the impact, they can have for a fraction of the expenditure then the virtual event industry will explode. They will all become a lot more common in 2021 and we look forward to hosting more of them in the year ahead.
If you would like to hold a virtual event this year then please get in touch with Harry on [email protected]
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