South Yorkshire School Games

Brief and objectives

The South Yorkshire Sainsbury’s School Games are designed to inspire young people of all abilities and backgrounds to participate in school sport. We were tasked to develop a creative campaign to promote the Level 3 School Games winter finals – a major, multi-sport festival held in Sheffield.

Our brief was focused on achieving four key objectives:

  • Maintain a high level profile for the Games through the media within a limited budget to achieve value for money spend
  • Position the Games as a must-attend, talked about occasion in the South Yorkshire schools calendar
  • Engage young people in the volunteering element of the Games 
  • Attract sponsorship 

Strategy and tactics

With a limited budget available, creativity was key to achieving the objectives.

We set up a partnership with a local university to recruit and train a team of PR students to volunteer at the Games, giving them valuable live event experience but also increasing the coverage of the event.

With the majority of the target audience under the age of 18, we focused our campaign work on social media to engage with young people through Twitter and Facebook.

Traditional media relations was also used to engage with the schools' decision makers – head teachers and PE teachers.


We developed a partnership with Sheffield Hallam University to identify a team of PR students to act as media volunteers on the day of finals to capture content for media and social media. We delivered  training for the students so they were equipped to source photos, quotes, write blogs and film video footage throughout the one-day event.

A partnership was set up with Sheffield Newspapers to ensure a high-level of profile for the Games through relevant titles including the Sheffield Telegraph and the South Yorkshire-wide Star. The newspapers were supplied with news and updates. We utilised two key standalone events in the run up the finals – badminton and trampolining - to build interest and excitement and position the Games as a must-attend event.

​We focused social media activity around Level 2 qualifying events and the winter finals with regular news and updates on the Games’ Twitter and Facebook accounts. During the Games, pupils were encouraged to share their experiences with tweets appearing on a live Twitter feed in the venue where the event was held. Social media details were promoted around the venue to encourage schools to create a buzz about the event.

We also developed a database of local businesses to target during periods of high publicity for sponsorship or in-kind support of the Games.

Measurement and evaluation

  • High profile local and regional media coverage across south Yorkshire region, print, online and broadcast media coverage
  • 31 items of print, broadcast and online media coverage
  • Media reach of 2.2 million
  • Increased volunteer involvement by 88%, schools engaged by 60% and participant entries by 71% compared to previous games
  • 236,000 Twitter impressions in the three months building up to the event
  • 166 retweets in the three months building up to the event
  • Recruited 10 media volunteers from Sheffield Hallam University 
  • Increased event PR support by 400%
  • Secured Games T-Shirt sponsor – Xamax – through increased media presence