TV: BBC overhauls Sports Personality of the Year

The BBC will bring the curtain down on a phenomenal year for British sport in a revamped Sports Personality of the Year ceremony.

Given the calibre and number of potential candidates that 2012 has produced, the corporation has decided to extend the shortlist to 12 sportspeople, an increase from 10 in previous years.

The selection process to determine the final shortlist has also been overhauled, with former SPOTY nominees, sports journalists and broadcasters included on an expert panel that will decide the final 12.

Rounding off what has been a sensational sporting year, viewers will decide their BBC Sports Personality of the Year during the live broadcast from Excel, London, on Sunday, December 16 on BBC One.

With an increased shortlist of 12, in recognition of the unprecedented success of UK athletes in 2012, this year’s contest for the coveted title will be one of the most hotly contested in the show’s history.

The increase in the shortlist and the introduction of an expert panel to decide the shortlist follows last year’s controversy surrounding the all-male shortlist.

The BBC has abandoned the practice of asking a wide range of national/regional newspapers and magazines to vote for their shortlist, a process which led to no women being selected in 2011, sparking heated debates over the reasons why.

Viewers will continue to decide the outright winner during the live show with the result announced as the finale.

BBC Sport announced last year that it would review the shortlisting process for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award,

Following an extensive consultation process the shortlist will from this year be decided by an expert panel, bringing it in line with many other major industry awards.

Heading the expert panel that will select the 12 nominees will be Sir Steve Redgrave, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and Denise Lewis, who will be joined by Baroness Sue Campbell, chair of UK Sport, and representatives from the BBC and the newspaper industry.

BBC head of sport Barbara Slater’s blog on the changes for 2012 Sports Personality of the Year – CLICK HERE

A capacity crowd of more than 15,000 will make it the biggest Sports Personality of the Year in the show’s 59-year history, with tickets going on public sale at the end of the month.

Sue Barker, Gary Lineker and Clare Balding have been confirmed as the presenters for the 2012 ceremony, which will be broadcast live on BBC One, BBC One HD and BBC Radio 5 live.

Balding, who received huge critical acclaim for her work during the Olympic and Paralympic Games, replaces the BBC’s Formula presenter Jake Humphrey, who co-presented the show between 2008 and 2011.

The 2012 BBC Sports Personality of the Year will bring down the curtain on what has been an historic 12 months of sport.

Highlights of which undoubtedly include the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, which produced a plethora of memorable golden moments for British athletes.

But 2012 was also the year that saw Andy Murray’s historic US Open victory, Bradley Wiggins’ Tour de France triumph, Manchester City’s remarkable comeback to win the Premier League title and Chelsea’s Champions League victory.

It was also the year that saw Wales secure their 11th Grand Slam in the Six Nations, Rory McIlroy’s record-breaking win at the US PGA Championship which cemented his status as the world number one golfer, and Europe’s sensational eleventh-hour victory over the United States in the Ryder Cup.

It is understood that the format of the show will also return to a more traditional review of the year’s sporting action, rather than focusing exclusively on the nominees.

Barbara Slater, director of BBC Sport, said: “This year’s Sports Personality of the Year will be a celebration of what has been a truly unique year for sport in the UK.

“We are incredibly proud to be hosting the sporting grand finale for such a remarkable year.”

With an increased shortlist from 10 to 12 – in recognition of the unprecedented success of UK athletes in 2012 – this year’s battle for the coveted title will be one of the most hotly contested in the show’s history.

The 12 nominees will be announced on BBC One’s The One Show two weeks before the ceremony.

The new expert panel will aim to produce a shortlist based on reaching a consensus view.

If the expert panel cannot reach a consensus view as to who should be included on the shortlist, they will be asked to vote on the remaining candidates.

In the event of a tied vote, the chair’s decision will be binding.

The public will once again vote for the winner during the live show, with the result announced at the end.

The expert panel will also choose the first, second and third places for the Team of the Year, Overseas Personality of the Year and Coach of the Year awards.

Other awards on the night will again be Young Sports Personality of the Year and Unsung Hero, which will continue to be decided by the existing specialist panel system, and the Lifetime Achievement and Helen Rollason awards which will be decided by the board of BBC Sport.

Full ticket details for the general public will be on the BBC Sport website closer to the date.

Full terms and conditions for all awards are available via bbc.co.uk/sportspersonality

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