Sunderland a top scorer when it comes to hosting families on match days

The Stadium of Light's Family Zone pictured on a match day.
The Stadium of Light's Family Zone pictured on a match day.

Sunderland AFC might now be in League One, but it's won an award for the premier experience it gives families at the Stadium of Light.

The club has been awarded Family Excellence status by the EFL, recognising the quality of the family experience provided at its ground.

The scheme assesses areas across the whole match day experience for young supporters and their families, including purchase channels, travel, stadium vicinity, social media and levels of staff engagement, with Sunderland scoring highly across all areas.

EFL chief executive, Shaun Harvey, said: “It is hugely encouraging to see the continuous development and improvement made by EFL Clubs in offering engaging match day experiences for families.

"For over a decade the EFL’s Family Excellence Scheme has helped to produce positive and impactful change across the leagues, helping to drive a real focus on match day entertainment, facilities and the overall experience on offer for families, and ultimately to assist in growing attendances.

“Its impact continues to be notable with several clubs gaining strong industry-wide reputations for offering true family value and a consistently high level of service and innovation.

"The EFL will continue to work with clubs to help drive change and support the continued effort to attract and retain future generations of supporters.

"Congratulations to the clubs that have achieved Family Excellence status.”

Sunderland AFC’s supporter liaison officer, Chris Waters, said: “Creating a fun, welcoming and safe environment for families and young people on match days is something that is very important to us.

"We want to nurture and grow the next generation of Sunderland fans and encourage as many young people as possible to come along and support the club.”

The EFL report highlighted the Stadium of Light’s Family Zone as an "immensely engaging stadium concourse to our collection of best practice this season"

Sunderland AFC’s says its commitment to keeping football affordable for families and young people continued this season with innovative new prices, including under eight season cards, which are free of charge when purchased with an adult seat in the popular Family Zone.

As an example, a grandparent over 65 could take two grandchildren aged under eight for £245 a season, which is less than £11 a game.