Global sporting icons heading to Aberdeen for upcoming Union Street festival

Sporting Legends event

THREE global sporting icons will headline a unique event in Aberdeen this summer as the Ultimate Masterclass Festival returns to Union Street.

Footballer Gianfranco Zola, Formula 1 champion Damon Hill and golfing great Colin Montgomerie are joining forces for ‘An Evening with Sporting Legends’ on July 30.

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All three will be on stage together to discuss what it takes to achieve sporting greatness, and to share stories from their blockbuster careers.

The event is the latest in the Ultimate Masterclass Festival series, which was launched by Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce to boost city centre footfall.

After starting out as an apprentice to Diego Maradona at Napoli, Gianfranco Zola went on to become a Premier League great at Chelsea, where he made 229 appearances and won the League Cup, FA Cup, European Cup Winners’ Cup and UEFA Super Cup.

The Italian international – who played in the 1994 FIFA World Cup – has been inducted into both the English and Italian Hall of Fame and has also managed at the highest level, taking charge of West Ham United, Watford and Birmingham City.

Damon Hill famously overcame Michael Schumacher to win the 1996 Formula 1 World Championship, after narrowly missing out on the title in 1994 and 1995 in controversial circumstances.

It was a triumph over adversity for Hill and his Williams team following the death of Ayrton Senna at the ’94 San Marino Grand Prix, after which Hill found himself team leader with only one season’s experience in the top flight.

Colin Montgomerie is one of Europe’s most decorated golfers having won 31 European Tour Events and topped the continent’s Order of Merit on eight occasions.

He is also one of the greatest Ryder Cup players of all time, having never lost a singles match in eight outings in the sport’s most prestigious match. He also captained the European Team to victory in the 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor.

More than 7,000 people have attended the Ultimate Masterclass Festival since it was launched by the Chamber in 2023.

The festival was created to inspire the region’s business community, and to support the recovery of the city centre with exciting events which bring footfall.

Its headline acts to date have included ‘Diary of a CEO’ star Steven Bartlet, podcaster Elizabeth Day, global AI expert Nina Schick, footballer turned entrepreneur Gary Neville and television great Davina McCall. Broadcaster Louis Theroux will join the festival later this year.

UMF: An Evening with Sporting Legends will be hosted by Ryan Crighton, Policy and Marketing Director at the Chamber and one of UMF’s founders.

He said: “The Ultimate Masterclass Festival was created to inspire our business community, and to support the recovery of the city centre with exciting events – and this ticks all the boxes.

“These sporting legends have never shared a stage before and it is going to be a fascinating night as we delve into their incredible careers.

“All three have reached the top of their respective sports, which requires a special type of drive and determination. We want to explore that on stage and help share that winning mentality with our community.

“The feedback for UMF so far has been incredible and this promises to be another memorable night at the Music Hall. We can’t wait.”

The event is being delivered in partnership with TotalEnergies, The Legends Tour and Staysure.

Tickets are on sale now at

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