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'Freedom Air People's Choice Sports Awards'

24 September 2004

Sky Television, The Radio Network And Fairfax New Zealand Join Forces To Launch 'Freedom Air People's Choice Sports Awards'

SKY Television, The Radio Network (Radio Sport & Newstalk ZB) and Fairfax New Zealand (Sunday Star-Times, Sunday News & TV Guide) confirmed today that nominations are now open for the inaugural Freedom Air People's Choice Sports Awards. The awards provide for the first time, an opportunity for New Zealanders to choose their favourite sports heroes of the year under a new, exciting and different format.

The New Zealand public can now nominate their sporting heroes via the Freedom Air People's Choice Sports Awards website as well as phone, text messaging, fax or coupons. The Freedom Air People's Choice Sports Awards comprise six awards categories: Sports Team, Coach, Paralympian, Sportswoman, Sportsman and International. Proceeds from the event will be donated to Paralympics New Zealand.

In a unique partnership between SKY Television, The Radio Network and Fairfax New Zealand, the awards are designed to deliver on the expectations of viewers, listeners and readers. The awards will be promoted across all of SKY's sports channels, The Radio Network's Radio Sport and Newstalk ZB, as well as Fairfax publications, Sunday Star-Times, Sunday News and TV Guide.

SKY and The Radio Network believe their sports channels have a strong synergy, and Fairfax, through the Sunday Star Times, Sunday News and TV Guide, together with other newspapers owned by the group reach a substantial audience of sports fans throughout New Zealand.

According to Bill Francis, General Manager Talk Programming, The Radio Network, says "anecdotal feedback showed that over the years, the New Zealand public has been clamouring to play a part in choosing the major sporting awards. The Freedom Air People's Choice Sports Awards delivers on these expectations."

Tony O'Brien, Director of Communications, SKY Television believes this is the first time that three key media players have successfully collaborated on a project of this nature. "Together we have created a powerful combination of television, radio and print media that enables us to reach a considerable portion of New Zealand's passionate and opinionated sports audience," he says. Craig Calder, Marketing Manager, Fairfax New Zealand agrees. "Utilising SKY Sport, Newstalk ZB and Radio Sport, as well as Sunday Star-Times, Sunday News and TV Guide allows us to reach the whole of the country. No matter where you live you can participate in the selection of the winners and raise funds for Paralympics New Zealand," he says.

As the naming sponsor for the awards, Freedom Air is proud to play a role in helping the New Zealand public acknowledge their favourite sporting heroes. Freedom Air Sales and Marketing Manager Rachel Gardiner says "Freedom Air sees itself as the people's choice of airline which makes the People's Choice Sports Awards sponsorship a natural fit."

About the Freedom Air People's Choice Sports Awards The six weekly shows will be broadcast on SKY Sport and simulcast on Radio Sport. Hosted by SKY's Stephen McIvor and The Radio Network's Martin Devlin, each show will focus on one of the six awards categories. The five finalists in each category, as chosen by the New Zealand public, will be announced on these shows, that New Zealanders can vote for their favourite sporting hero from the finalists in each category via SKY Television Interactive, phone or text messaging. The first show focusing on The Freedom Air People's Choice Sports Awards Sports Team of the Year will go to air 8:30pm on Thursday 4 November 2004.

The winner from each of the six categories, as well as the overall Freedom Air People's Choice Sports Awards Supreme Winner will be announced on Thursday 9 December 2004 at the Supreme Awards Gala Dinner. The Gala Dinner and Red Carpet event will be broadcast live from the Hyatt Regency Auckland, and will screen on SKY Sport and simulcast on both Radio Sport and Newstalk ZB.

For more information on the Awards and how to nominate your sporting heroes please visit


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