BU’s Big Match 2017 will see AFC Bournemouth (AFCB) take on Liverpool FC in a televised English Premier League (EPL) fixture on Sunday 17 December. The BU Big Match highlights BU’s ongoing relationship with AFC Bournemouth as Higher Education Partner to the club.
The BU Big Match format began in 2015, with a game against Tottenham Hotspur during AFC Bournemouth’s first season in the Premier League. Last season's Big Match saw AFC Bournemouth play against Premier League Champions Leicester City. Now in its third year, BU Big Match 2017 will see AFC Bournemouth compete against 18-time league winners, Liverpool FC.
This year will mark the first year that BU has sponsored all of the AFC Bournemouth girls’ teams in championing its commitment to develop girls’ football across Dorset. The sponsorship supports U10, U12, U14 and U16 teams, all of which wear a match shirt adorned by the Bournemouth University sponsor image.
In addition to expanding the international reach and influence of the university and football club, the partnership also provides a range of activities to both the local and BU communities, from an annual family day at the club, to public events and player appearances like Eddie Howe’s Q&A event with sports management students, and AFCB Commercial Director Rob Mitchell’s visit to Poole High School, where he addressed a range of year groups on tackling a career in the sports industry.
BU has also worked to help AFCB meet the Premier League’s Intermediate Equality Standard provision, delivering two sessions on equality and diversity to 100 match day stewards. BU’s Equality and Diversity Adviser Dr James Palfreman-Kay also looked at ways in which the club can communicate with disabled visitors and fans visiting to the ground.
BU media and journalism students are also able to visit the club on match days and sit in on press briefings and post-match conferences, as well as report on games and interview players. Matchday Ambassadors are also drawn from student volunteers who wish to participate in the club and community engagement work.
A number of activities will take place in the build up to the BU Big Match this year, starting with a free public inaugural lecture by Professor Tim Rees, hosted at the Vitality Stadium on Monday 20 November 2017. Professor Rees will speak on the topic: ‘Nature, nurture and beyond: what underpins exceptional sport performance?’
The BU Big Match will again see the BU Big Band perform for audiences outside the Vitality Stadium, as well as BU match day content played over signage across the site.
BU Chief Operating Officer, Jim Andrews, said: “We are very proud of our partnership with AFC Bournemouth and the BU Big Match will again be a chance to showcase the many benefits of two of Dorset’s leading organisations working together.
“This year’s BU Big Match will mark the first year that we’ve supported all of the AFC Bournemouth Girls teams, as well becoming a Junior Cherries partner, and we will be including the educational opportunities the partnership provides alongside support for the next generation of players and supporters.”
Rob Mitchell, AFC Bournemouth Commercial Director said: “The BU Big Match will again be a great opportunity for the public to see the wider benefits of the partnership and enjoy the wonderful pre-match atmosphere that is created when the BU Big Band play in the area outside the Club Superstore for supporters ahead of the match.”
The match will be televised by Sky Sports on Sunday 17 December with a kick-off time of 4.30pm.