Why Portsmouth will battle it out with Barcelona, Manchester United, Chelsea and Spurs for top football award honours

Pompey are once again set to go head-to-head with some of the biggest names in football.

However, it’s off the pitch where these exciting match-ups are to be witnessed.

That’s after the Blues were nominated in two categories ahead of the forthcoming Football Business Awards (FBA) – with the lavish ceremony to take place at City Central at the HAC, London, on Thursday.

The Fratton Park outfit, in conjunction with the University of Portsmouth, have made the short-list for the Sponsorship/Partnership of the Year award.

That will see them go up against the likes of Barcelona, Leeds, Spurs, Norwich and West Brom for the prestigious prize.

Meanwhile, battling it out against clubs including Chelsea, Manchester United and Swansea, Pompey are also in contention to pick up the Best Use of Technology in a Football Club award.

The Football Business Awards is an annual event that pays tribute to the supporting businesses that assist and enable the success of the game.

They recognise and reward the off-pitch talents and endeavours that are an invaluable, if sometimes invisible, part of the fabric of football.

Pompey chairman Michael Eisner, left, with vice-chancellor of the University of Portsmouth, Prof Graham Galbraith Picture: Chris Moorhouse

And with an illustrious judging panel selected for their particular experience and expertise, the FBAs are becoming more difficult to win every year, and an increasingly valuable marketing badge for those who manage to do so.

Pompey’s partnership with the University of Portsmouth is thriving after the latter became the club’s front of shirt and main sponsor at the start of a 2018-19 season, signing a three-year deal.

With both playing a huge role in the city, it seemed a natural fit – not only benefiting the students by offering them valuable work experience opportunities, but also helping increase participation rates in higher education in the area.

In order to tackle this issue, the university strengthened their relationship with Pompey and during the 2018-19 season achieved some amazing accolades, including more than 950 young people having a first-team player visit their school as part of an inspiring motivational university outreach visit.

One hundred students have also been employed by the club in part-time or full-time roles, while a bespoke purple kit was launched at the start of this season to showcase the strength of the partnership.

The Blues have been recognised with a Best Use of Technology in a Football Club category nomination following the installation of the 59.9 square-ft big screen at Fratton Park.

The aim of that project was to help engage with fans inside the stadium and improve the supporters’ match-day experience.

Now the Fratton faithful are able to get closer to the action during the match with new big-screen activations, including Fratton Live, pitchside presentations and instant replays.

And with the University of Portsmouth also involved, the match-day media team of students and staff continue to deliver a pre-match, in-game, half-time and full-time production that has vastly improved game day for all supporters in attendance.

Creating avenues for sponsors to gain brand exposure and building commercial packages for new sponsors were also identified as key goals of the big screen.

As a result, new packages were created, including corner and replay sponsors, while existing sponsorships were enhanced such as an official goal sponsor.

This year's black-tie Football Business Awards will again be presenting gold, silver and bronze awards to reflect the increasing quality of the submissions.