Sunderland Football Club's Stadium of Light has received national recognition for excellence as a business and events facility.

The stadium received the honour at the Enjoy England Awards for Excellence held in Brighton.

It has been a successful year for the stadium management team, who reached the national finals after securing a coveted Business Tourism award in the North East Tourism awards in November.

The stadium gained a Silver award behind London's Excel Arena and is now also in the running for a separate international award at the Stadium Business Awards, which will be held in Dublin in June.

The arena's 2009 events calendar will face off against entries from Coventry City, Arsenal, Argentinean club River Plate and NFL giants the Dallas Cowboys in a special creativity category.

The Black Cats' Chief Executive Steve Walton told "The club has had a very rewarding period both on and off the pitch recently and to continue challenging some big, big names as a business tourism venue is a real achievement in itself.

"We are heading into our fourth Barclays Premier League season on the field and there have been some really encouraging signs as we push on towards the top half of the table.

"As a business, we have continued to offer some of the highest quality hospitality space and event management in the UK and we have done so very imaginatively. It's fantastic credit to the staff across the club that we are continuing to be recognised for our quality."

The stadium has hosted a number of high profile concerts over the last 12 months, including Take That and Oasis.

It has had over 250,000 fans through the turnstiles in just eight weeks and will see US star Pink will kick off her UK tour at the Stadium of Light in June.

Posted on 27/04/2010