Atlanta United has been named “Sports Team of the Year” at the 2019 Sports Business Awards, presented by SportsBusiness Journal, during a ceremony at the New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square. Fellow finalists included the reigning NBA Champion Golden State Warriors, the reigning Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals, as well as the Milwaukee Brewers, Milwaukee Bucks and Portland Thorns FC. Atlanta United became just the second MLS team to ever win the award.
AMB Sports & Entertainment was also represented elsewhere, as Mercedes-Benz Stadium won “Sports Facility of the Year.” In addition, Super Bowl LIII was a finalist for “Sports Event of the Year”, Major League Soccer was a finalist for “Sports League of the Year” and MLS Commissioner Don Garber won “Sports Executive of the Year.”
“We are truly honored to be named the ‘Sports Team of the Year’ by the Sports Business Awards,” Atlanta United President Darren Eales said. “To be named a finalist two years in a row amongst some of the top sports organizations in North America is a direct reflection of the amazing support we receive from our fans and the city of Atlanta. The award is especially meaningful this year as it not only celebrates our historic 2018 season, but also the efforts of our organization off-the-pitch. We launched this club with the intention of becoming a global brand and we accept this award with great pride knowing that we’ve taken another step toward that goal.”
Atlanta United followed an historic 2017 expansion season by becoming the youngest team to win MLS Cup since the league’s third season in 1998. Atlanta claimed the title by defeating Portland Timbers 2-0 in front of an MLS-record 73,019 fans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 8, 2018. The club also broke several of its own attendance records this past season, including total regular season attendance (901,033), regular season average (53,002), regular season single-game (72,243) and U.S. Open Cup single-game (41,012). Including home playoff matches, the club welcomed more than 1 million fans into Mercedes-Benz Stadium and averaged 55,278 fans per game, which ranked 13th worldwide against other clubs during the 2017-18 FIFA season, and ahead of global clubs such as Atletico Madrid, Manchester City and Liverpool.
Launched in 2008, the Sports Business Awards were established by Sports Business Journal and Sports Business Daily to celebrate and recognize the leaders, visionaries and day-to-day practitioners who personify excellence in the business of sports. The 2019 nominees and winners were among recognized for excellence and outstanding achievement in the business of sports for the period from March 1, 2018 – February 28, 2019. Atlanta United joins Seattle Sounders (2010) as the only MLS teams to ever win the award.
Sports Business Awards “Sports Team of the Year” Recipients
2019: Atlanta United
2018: Vegas Golden Knights
2017: Chicago Cubs
2016: Golden State Warriors
2015: Los Angeles Kings
2014: Golden State Warriors
2013: Oklahoma City Thunder
2012: Boston Bruins
2011: San Francisco Giants
2010: Seattle Sounders
2009: Boston Celtics
2008: Boston Red Sox