Suzie Parker – Everton FC Head of Directorate operations
Nil Satis Nisi Optimum. Nothing but the best is good enough. The motto has served Everton Football Club well. It also applies to events off the pitch, quite literally. From being one of our first ever clients some 20 years ago, MSP have enjoyed a longstanding relationship with the Premier League giants. It is one we feel privileged and proud to maintain. As Everton FC’s Head of Directorate operations Suzie Parker explains, trust is imperative when doing an event.
‘‘Evertonise’ it, making it as interactive and as high-end as possible. MSP has all the solutions for dressing the stage, in this case with lots of creative lighting and great AV. They are fantastic’
At the start of the 2016/17 season, the Club decided to take a different approach to an event aimed at the corporate market. Previously, we had traditionally only hosted sit-down dinners interspersed with content, which can be very costly. MSP helped us put together a chat show-style event to make the content the real focus. We built a stage and had a green room upstairs. The host would invite the players down and we had big screens to broadcast video content and of course the live action from the stage. It looked really beautiful. That was the inspiration for us to really change how we approached and delivered the Club’s end-of-season awards event.
The brief for this event was to take inspiration from the Oscars, the most glamorous awards event on the planet, and we came up with The Dixies format and the rest is history.
It became a much more fan-focused event, held in the Philharmonic Hall so we could get up to 1600 supporters and guests in there. It was a really accessible event.
MSP knew we had to take over the venue and really ‘Evertonise’ it, making it as interactive and as high-end as possible. MSP has all the solutions for dressing the stage, in this case with lots of creative lighting and great AV. They are fantastic with all of that. MSP put a massive flown screen at the back of the stage, which made our visuals look amazing. We had everything we needed and more so we could really provide an Oscars-type feel to the event.
MSP take all the worry away. An event of that size with 1600 people including the Chairman, the manager, players, supporters and staff, can be quite stressful. But knowing all the technology was sorted, all the lights and mics worked, and with MSP’s Managing Director Colin and Director of Operations Dave inspecting every last inch of the stage we knew we were in safe hands.
Typically, we might do 20-plus events a year with MSP. We’ve held some really high-profile events with them. There are so many I could reel off that they have made look fantastic with all their expertise.
For the Blue Crimbo event in 2018, when we had the X-Factor there. At short notice I had to ask Colin if he could get us a huge screen in front of the Liver Building. ‘Yes, not a problem’ he said, and he does it. Then I say, ‘we also need a load of fireworks.’ ‘Yes, ok,’ he replies, ‘I’ll get you a pyro man.’ And he does it. It is things like that, at short notice. MSP just manage to pull it off.
MSP have always supported our events. They have very much become part of the idea’s creation team. We’ll have an idea and ring Colin who would then say ‘let me ring Dave’ who would always find a way to do it. They would always be part of that process. If they didn’t have the technology on site, they would go away and find a solution for us. And it’s not just in terms of technology, but for other things that go into events like mobile staging and even giant tepees!
We even shut down Hope Street to put a giant blue carpet outside for The Dixies so when the players arrived, they walked the blue carpet into the Philharmonic. Colin sorted out the blue carpet for me. Again, it is the attention to detail that make the event just perfect. Nothing is too much of a problem for the MSP team.
I would always call MSP and tell them ‘I need to do this, how can we do it? What do you recommend?’ It is very much a collaborative approach. Many businesses are constrained by budgets, but you can speak to MSP, tell them your budget and they will work within that to help make it look amazing.
MSP will help you find a range of solutions. Dressing a stage can be a really expensive process but by using clever lighting and gobos or the like you can make it less expensive but still look fabulous.
MSP are such a great team to work with, they just get on with it. If I say, ‘I don’t really like something, can you change it?’ they will say ‘yes, no worries.’ They will sort it out for you. They are always really approachable and helpful. MSP are like an extension of your team, and you have a really good working relationship with them.
‘I would always call MSP and tell them ‘I need to do this, how can we do it? What do you recommend?’ It is very much a collaborative approach.’
‘To get fantastic praise from the senior leaders at the Club was incredible. That is testament to MSP and their support and input on the day. ‘
The Dixies event was great. This was such a different direction for Everton Football Club. As in any organisation there were people who were unsure if it was going to work. But it did work. To get fantastic praise from the senior leaders at the Club was incredible. That is testament to MSP and their support and input on the day.
MSP go above and beyond at every single event. For the Howard’s Way documentary, we did a huge launch party at St George’s Hall. We were sat there and suddenly realised we didn’t have enough screens to broadcast it. MSP went straight out and rigged more screens. It just wasn’t a problem. Ultimately it reflects on MSP too, so they take just as much pride in the event as we do. They want the best, which is another reason why I enjoy working with them so much. They are so humble with it. It’s such a good working relationship and I trust them entirely.
I’ve mentioned trust and reliability, but I would also highlight their innovation. They don’t just sit still. I remember Colin saying, ‘you have to come and see our new LED wall, it’s amazing.’ It was incredible to see, and we used it at an event to unveil the new stadium plans. The LED wall was super bright and showcased our presentation really well, enhancing the experience for all guests. They are constantly innovating like that.
Another time I needed to do an outside event on a stage, so MSP went and bought an undercover trailer stage to make it less expensive for us. They are always looking to the future. Some events companies will come along and offer to pitch for events but there’s just nothing new or the same kind of reassurance in terms of thinking about different contingencies and making things look better. There’s sometimes a sense of resting on their laurels. You don’t get that with MSP.
They have so much experience. They are uber professional and also realistic. They understand the constraints of events but will come back with an appropriate solution. They are not going to under-quote you deliberately to get the business. MSP are upfront in terms of saying this is how much something costs and this is what you are going to get. That is so important with an event. If you under-price something you can go completely wrong. MSP understand your expectations and always want to do their best with anything they are doing.
I’ve been to events up and down the country and I haven’t seen anyone do it better than MSP. They are a market leader.
Suzie Parker – Head of Directorate operations, Everton FC