BBC BLOGS - Sport Editors
« Previous | Main | Next »

SPOTY heads north to BBC Sport's new home

Post categories:

Carl Doran | 10:31 UK time, Friday, 16 September 2011

This year's Sports Personality of the Year event will take place in Europe's largest television studio, right at the heart of BBC Sport's new home at MediaCityUK in Salford Quays.

It is fantastic that one of the first major events to come out of the new site will be one of the BBC's longest running and best-loved flagship shows.

We've also launched the Unsung Hero Award, which is always my favourite moment of the night, when someone most deserving gets a chance to share the spotlight with the biggest names in sport.

I've always lived in the North West and can honestly say there is a great sense of pride in the area about the BBC moving in and I'm sure Sports Personality of the Year will add to that with what promises to be a spectacular show attended by some of the biggest stars from the world of sport.

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.

The studios in Salford are great and having seen the new set design for this year's show I know SPOTY will once again be one of the most exciting live productions on television.
I'm delighted to say that Gary Lineker, Sue Barker and Jake Humphrey - who have loved presenting the show - will be back again.

In recent years we've broadcast the event from arenas around the UK, in cities like Sheffield, Liverpool and Birmingham and we're thrilled to once again be moving to an area that boasts such a great sporting heritage, with some of the world's most successful teams and best facilities.

City and United are just part of the story, but what a part they play! There's also Lancashire County Cricket Club, top class Rugby League and Rugby Union teams, the British Cycling team, Aintree and so much more.

The area is simply mad about sport, but as well as that, in these challenging economic times, it works better for us to present the show from our new home than opting for the more costly arena options.

Of course the drawback with moving back to the studio is a smaller audience, but while there will be no public sale of tickets for Sports Personality, we're really happy that thousands of people will be able to get involved in the build up to the big night as we launch 'Celebrate Sport', a 14-day event which runs through to SPOTY on Thursday, 22 December.

BBC Celebrate Sport logo

BBC Celebrate Sport will take place in the two weeks prior to Sports Personality of the Year 2011

Once design plans are finalised we will also make some free tickets available to the public for the main Sports Personality TV show. These will be distributed fairly through a public ticket ballot. More information will follow on that soon.

One of the key missions of BBC Sport moving North is to involve more people in what we do and we hope a huge number of people, including many local schools and groups, will be able to experience some of our best-loved shows and meet our most well-known faces during that two week period and beyond.

For the first time there'll be a chance to be in the audience for 5 live's 606 Football phone-in, Monday Night Club and 5 live's Sports Personality of the Year backstage show.

To complete the 5 live line-up, Fighting Talk will also be recorded in Salford with a studio audience, while we'll also be holding a special evening with Question of Sport presenter Sue Barker and captains Matt Dawson and Phil Tufnell.

We'll be planning some special events with the Match of the Day and Football Focus teams, while there will be a chance for youngsters to meet some of their CBEEBIES favourites, who are also new Salford residents.

The BBC Philharmonic Orchestra will be involved, hosting a special concert for Christmas with an appearance from the Manchester United choir, while the National Football Museum will have an exhibition on site here at the BBC Studios in Salford leading up to the festive period and through to their opening in Manchester next year.

More details about how to get involved in the celebration will follow on the BBC Sports Personality web site over the next few weeks and you can register your interest in attending events now at

The Celebrate Sport finale will be Sports Personality of the Year and this year's programme promises to be packed with drama following an amazing year of sport.

Who would have thought Northern Ireland's finest would dominate golf's majors?
The stories of how Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy ruled the world are heart-warming and inspiring.

Talking about ruling the world, that's exactly what England's cricketers are doing and we hope to have many of the team with us for SPOTY.

Elsewhere, Mark Cavendish became the first Briton to win cycling's coveted green jersey at the Tour de France, while Dai Greene and Mo Farah took gold at the World Athletics and there's so much more to come with the Rugby World Cup, for example.

When I was growing up, SPOTY was always the first sign Christmas was coming and it certainly will be this year.

Once again the top 10 contenders will be nominated by 30 sports editors from across the country and we'll be announcing the top ten during The One Show.

The show itself is on the move from its traditional Sunday evening slot to a Thursday night.
Why? You might ask. Well we've worked really hard this year to avoid the show clashing with other big events in the busy Christmas schedule and are pleased to have secured a great prime-time slot, right in the heart of the Christmas build up.

It's a great opportunity for the family to get together and be part of the celebrations. It will also enable the One Show to get involved with the SPOTY red carpet, bringing you the excitement, glamour and nerves as the stars arrive, which is fantastic.

Hopefully SPOTY will once again represent a chance to settle down with a mince pie and wrap the last of your presents as you watch the best of sport from 2011.


  • Comment number 1.

    sounds great as the sports personality of the year is always but i am annoyed The show itself is moved from its traditional Sunday evening slot to a Thursday night.

    but "When I was growing up, SPOTY was always the first sign Christmas was coming and it certainly will be this year." thats normally true but if the 1st sign of Christmas you see is 3 days before

  • Comment number 2.

    I think its about time that the award is split to recognise the best male & best female sports personalities.

  • Comment number 3.

    Great choice of venue. The north west is the home of sport and it makes sense to hold it there. Most of the trophies are here already! Thursday is OK for those who live in the north west rather than things being southern based.

  • Comment number 4.

    Thursday Night? That is a decision which needs an explanation.

    That, and yet another year in the North. At no point since the event has been one which the public can attend, has the event been hosted in the south. Will that be addressed next year?

  • Comment number 5.

    Just looking at the likely front runners to date, where is Ben Ainslie?? He is the worlds top dinghy sailor, virtually unbeatable, rules the world in his sporting discipline and is one of GB's best hope for a gold medal at the Olympics next year. He has to be in the mix, he probably is'nt because he is not a multi millionaire in a mega profile televised sport!!

  • Comment number 6.

    Maybe its time to change the title of this event, as some of the previous winners, albeit that they have achieved great things in their sport - actually have no 'personality'.... more like a sportsperson of the year.

    I like the suggestion of #2 to have male and female categories

  • Comment number 7.

    Can't help thinking that it's a backward step to move the show back to a studio & with no tickets available to the public. Having made all that effort to make the show 'bigger & better' then why scale back again.

    With the move to Salford & associated PR drive, hopefully next year the BBC will move it back to an arena again which will enable members of the public to attend. I totally agree with moving it around the country but perhaps 2012 is the year to host it it in London at Wembley or the O2.

    With regards to the nominations process - please can you remove the likes of Zoo from the list of those who nominate? Does the BBC really want to be associated with that type of magazine?

  • Comment number 8.

    Can anyone tell me if I can nominate someone for the award before the shortlist? Britain has a recently crowned downhill mountain biking world champion in Danny Hart who produced one of the greatest ever downhill hill runs to win the World Champs by 11.7 seconds over a 4 minute track. We also have a womens junior world champ in Manon Carpenter. Mountain biking is one of the biggest participation sports in the UK and we have some of the best riders in the world (the mens top 6 comprised of 3 brits at the world champs and a silver medal in the womens event as well). Please give this amazing sport the respect it deserves and allow Danny Hart to be on the shortlist. I have no doubt thousands would vote for him.

  • Comment number 9.

    The problem with hosting it elsewhere is that you'll then have people jumping on the cost bandwagon, criticising the BBC for "wasting money" on a massive venue when they have media city to present it from. It was held in the QEII centre for many years so traditionally, the programme has been in a static location except now it's in the north rather than south. Ultimately, it would be good if it were held in the north and south but they can't really be blamed for holding it in their own venue.

    I'm not a massive fan of it being on a Thursday night though - Sunday is it's natural home and probably maximises it's audience by being on a Thursday as more people will probably be at home than out with a working day coming up the day after.

  • Comment number 10.

    When will the BBC be selling the rights to show this event to Sky? Maybe BBC could show the first half of the programme and then Sky could show the second half and the results? At this rate in couple of years time there will be no BBC coverage of any of the sports being reviewed!

  • Comment number 11.

    As much as i value your opinion, there should only be a male prize.

  • Comment number 12.

    #10 a very silly post by yourself. Is it too much to ask for a proper comment rather than silly trolling? You might like to remember that it's the BBC Sports Personality of the Year - the clue is in the name.

  • Comment number 13.

    So you're changing the BBC sports department from a London biased one to Manchester biased one. That sounds good.

  • Comment number 14.

    #12 It's called sarcasm not trolling. Seeing how many sports the Beeb have lost to Sky, including half the F1 races, might as well sell them this show as well then they won't have to pay commission for using all their footage...

  • Comment number 15.

    #14 bearing in mind the proliferation of comments similar to yours in #10, it could certainly be called trolling - however I acknowledge (having clicked on your username) that it's the first time you have made such a comment yourself. Have you not heard the saying about sarcasm being the lowest form of wit though?

  • Comment number 16.

    Mo Farah will win. With Rory McIlroy a close second.
    The England Cricket Team unless The Rugger boys win the world cup.
    Junior should go to ......
    International should do to Novak Djokovic.

    can anyone fill in the gap?

  • Comment number 17.

    Jodie Williams for the junior?

  • Comment number 18.

    @eric morecambe

    At least conradedkins has a sense of humour, which is more than can be said for you! Somewhat ironic considering your username. Sarcasm is only considered the lowest form of wit by those with no wit whatsoever!

    Chrissie Wellington should win of course but won't even be nominated (again!!!)

  • Comment number 19.

    Perhaps a "Minor Sport" category should be created. They could determine it on Average Live Sport attendances and TV/Radio Air play. (not amount of prize money given) and then the great unknowns such as Chrissie may finally get the recognition they deserve?!

  • Comment number 20.

    @eric morecambe. YOu forgot to mention the rest of the saying. Sarcasm is the lowest form or wit but the highest form of intelligence!!

  • Comment number 21.

    @ drolbor

    2006 Zara Phillips - winner - sport, erm, something for rich people on a horse.

    Triathlon (if not Iron Man) is a far bigger sport than 3 day eventing in terms of people competing and hours of TV coverage - admittedly often late night on lesser (but still free to air) channels.

    Of course it was very gracious of Zara to deign to allow her name to be put forward onto a list of mere citizens some of whose ancestors had probably never even owned a county! It was of course a very great honour for us humble subjects to be allowed to vote for her and we are eternally grateful to her etc.etc.

    ... but really Chrissie Wellington would be a national heroine in almost any other country but ours, maybe she should try football - or X Factor!

  • Comment number 22.

    See what I did there Eric?

    Let's forget SPOTY and make this a sarcasm is great blog instead!
    PS Well done BBC for kicking the public out of this years award ceremony, let's hope you've enlarged the royal box/ worthless celebrities area.

  • Comment number 23.

    #18 the "humour" is diluted by the fact that similar postings have been put on umpteen sports blogs by people because of what is happening with the F1 coverage. The postings have invaded blogs that have nothing remotely to do with F1 as well as the F1 blogs, so it's no wonder that the "humour" is wearing thin.

    I don't like the coverage being split either, but it's ruining blogs for other people by going on about it in non-F1 blogs. It's not called lacking a sense of humour, and whilst I wouldn't be so bold as to claim I have the same sense of humour as Eric Morecambe himself, I do actually have one thank you.

  • Comment number 24.

    Ok Eric ... not a big F1 fan and so haven't come across this phenomenon, the post in question actually succeeded in making me laugh which is why I sprang to it's defence.
    There is of course no place for sarcasm among enlightened individuals like ourselves, shame on me!

  • Comment number 25.

    When does what is and isn't a sport debate begin? Darts? Golf? F1? Chess?


  • Comment number 26.

    I'm sure its documented somewhere but why are there no public tickets available ?
    Fortunate to go to Liverpool & Sheffield over the last few years, and amazing experience to rub shoulders with the cream of sport, surely the MEN Arena could have hosted it with a nice littler money spinner for the Beeb from ticket sales !!!

    Brownlee should be nominated but given its ranking in sport will get a 1 minute video slot if its lucky

    And will defo be in London next year with 2012 on our door step....

  • Comment number 27.

    golf is a sport (just).
    darts, motor racing, horse racing, chess, snooker, fishing, sailing are not sports.

    not being a sport in no way should be seen as demeaning the games/activities

  • Comment number 28.

    If the BBC hadn't spent so much money on their new studios in Salford, they would have more money to spend on showing more sports.

  • Comment number 29.

    This is just a cost cutting exercise so don't try to pretend it's for the greater good. I've been to both Sheffield and Birmingham and they were good nights out but I get the feeling that the show has been dumbed down to try and increase audience figures. I can guarantee the main award will be voted for so expect a Man united player to pick up the award no matter what.

  • Comment number 30.

    Living less than a mile from Media City i was hoping to be able to attend if it was based there - guess that's not an option though.

    Let's hope, this year, we don't have a situation where fans of a major football club are able to telephone vote for a player who wasn't even their own 'player of the year' that year. In my eyes, that years award made a mockery of the whole SPOTY award and it's history, and stopped genuinely talented individuals, who achieved greatness in 2009, winning the award they deserved.

    I also agree with the comment above, about the award going to someone who is in such a marginalised sport as Equestrianism - but I guess that is more personal choice.

  • Comment number 31.


    The best definition I have heard is:

    "If you need to change your shoes to do it, it's a sport."

  • Comment number 32.

    Why o why has it moved to a Thursday. It will lose half it's viewers. Obviously lost the vote against "Strictly", sorry BEEB - bad move!

  • Comment number 33.

    not sure how the voting will work this year but if someone from the BBC actually reads these posts may I suggest a candidate for the Young Sports Personality of the Year...Danny Hart, downhill British mountain biker who this year won the World Champion rainbow stripes and also finished 4th in the World Cup Series.
    Despite being only 19 years old and racing against riders many years his senior Danny gave some amazing displays of bike skills all season long which culminated in the fantasic senior World Championship in Champery where, despite the horendous conditions on the day, Danny destroyed the rest of the field to finish an astounding 12 seconds clear of the 2nd place rider. A feat which is unheard of at this level of the sport. Also British female downhill rider Manon Carpenter who rode her way to the Junior World title in Champery continuing our tradition of producing some of the best mountain bike riders in the world.

  • Comment number 34.


    Ben Ainslie came from a family of millionaires. Its sailing! On that criteria, Phil Taylor should be the winner. Or Manny Pac for the international sportsman every year.

  • Comment number 35.

    Let's start a 'should win' and 'will win' debate.

    Should win -Cavendish

    The BEST sprinter in the entire world, green jersey, 6th on list of tour wins (i think) nuf said!!

    Will win - Darren Clarke

    Win it by a mile in fact. Sympathy vote will go through the roof, but overall dreadful result for SPOTY to go along with Giggs and Zara.

  • Comment number 36.

    SPOTY, Sports PERSON of the Year would be a little more accurate, although still not close enough to the meaning of the award.

    Short lists, are designed to either guarantee the finalists are all recognised or to exclude people that the organising body may not find as desirable a winners as some another.

    To my mind, the television program is just an expensive jolly-up and a chance for the BBC to do some point scoring with the sporting celebrities, it adds nothing to the achievements or the worth of the award, in fact, quite the opposite.

    It is time that this farce of a tv show was thrown away with the carcass of the Christmas turkey that it has become, the slate wiped clean and a properly thought out and organised system put into place....

  • Comment number 37.

    Still no Chrissy Wellington in the lists of Personality of the year or even unsung hero? Come on lads and lassies, :-) get it together, she is the most phenomenal sports person alive today.

  • Comment number 38.

    Carl Doran writes "When I was growing up, SPOTY was always the first sign Christmas was coming and it certainly will be this year. "

    I agree that SPOTY is a sign that Christmas is coming, but the FIRST sign? These days, the tiresome X-Factor or Strictly starting signal the inevitable march to Christmas (i.e. it's already started now!).

    I doubt you are any older than me, Carl, but even when I was growing up we'd had two or three months of constant reminders that Christmas was around the corner before SPOTY finally came along in late December!

  • Comment number 39.

    @ fbscgr / mambo: has 9 definitions for "personality", including:
    "7. a famous, notable, or prominent person; celebrity".

    So can we put the whole "but they're all boring automatons" argument to bed, please?

  • Comment number 40.

    I gave up with sport on the BBC. Shameful.

  • Comment number 41.

    One thing SPOTY will not include this year is sport. The idea of it being a review of the year is all but gone, the BBC much prefers celebrity froth. We shouldn't be surprised when you consider how much of the Open in recent years is shoved off on to the red button whilst we get lots of talking heads for an hour or more. Thanks to the wonders of the PVR I'll be recording it and watch it on delay again forwarding through the trash (and James Corden) catching up live just as the result is announced.

    In fact I could just record the whole thing and fit it in over breakfast on the Friday morning.

  • Comment number 42.

    SPOTY - Sam Tomkins
    YSPOTY - Josh Charnley
    Team - Wigan Warriors
    Overseas - Pat Richards

  • Comment number 43.

    I always find discussion about who should win misses three principal points. Firstly, people suggest it should be ‘sports performance of the year’ and nominate people in sports with a low media profile. Secondly, people believe ‘personality’ refers to interpersonal skills rather than profile. Thirdlly, it’s ‘of the year’ which annoys me when people are nominated for another successful year in their career – people should win it when it’s a standout year in their own career, not just as a token reward for prolonged success.

    ‘Sports personality’, for me, means the sporting achievement most discussed over the water cooler. If you look at previous winners (Zara Phillips aside) it’s usually be won by the major UK sports story of the year (Wilkinson when we won the Rugby world cup, Flintoff when we won the ashes, Olympic gold medallists in Olympic years).

    That is for me what it’s about – not measuring achievements in sporting terms but in terms of interest. Mo Farah for me has the best achievements this year, followed by Cavendish. But Northern Ireland golf seems to be where the story really is. I don’t follow golf well enough to decide who has performed best, but think really the winner should be a golfer.

  • Comment number 44.

    Agree with the Chrissie Wellington comments. I'm guilty of only recently discovering her exploits, but wow! A definite deserved winner of some sort of accolade!

    As for Thursday nights... booo! It should always be the Sunday 2 or 3 weeks before Christmas! The beeb really does seem to be losing sight of any tradition within its organisation!

    Finally all those of you complaining about previous winners (especially Zara Phillips/Tindall) need your head examined! She won European and World titles in her sport in the same year! An amazing achievement even if it is a sport for the rather more well off!

  • Comment number 45.


    She won a sport no-one can relate to. A sport so little amount of people can afford to do that i actually can't class it as a sport without spitting the word out

  • Comment number 46.


    A sport non-the less! I can't afford to ride, sail, row... rowing! Surely Sir Steve Redgrave deserved to win in his non-elitist sport that we can all just pop down to the river and have a go!

  • Comment number 47.

    35: Darren Clarke actually won a major this year which most of other so called top Britiish golfers haven't done.

    Anyway if I had to pick a winner it would be Mo Farah.

  • Comment number 48.

    39. At 13:31 20th Sep 2011, Ruaraidh Gillies wrote:
    @ fbscgr / mambo: has 9 definitions for "personality", including:
    "7. a famous, notable, or prominent person; celebrity".

    So can we put the whole "but they're all boring automatons" argument to bed, please?


    Fine, I accept your point. I presume you agree with my other points, or are you still doing a search for "short lists" and "jolly-ups"?

  • Comment number 49.

    So the BBC opnce again showing off its spangly waste of money called its studios.
    (Did it for one episode of A Question of Sport and shown off sickly in the titles!)
    And so the cuts once again forcing the public out of the event.
    When will the BBC stop making this event a laughing stock?
    Plus how on earth will this event be held at Salford?
    I thought the BBC were cutting its studios (that why you dont use TC1 as much) so how its a major event like SPOTY going to be held when there isnt a big enough studio at Salford?

  • Comment number 50.

    It seems to me, that the BBC are no longer considering it's viewers in any of it's decisions. SPOTY should be on a Sunday night, moving it to a Thursday is mind boggling. It will lose viewing figures, some will say it wont, but some people who could normally watch on a Sunday, will not be able to watch on a Thursday, as lots of people will have to work that late at night due to Christmas being so close.

  • Comment number 51.

    "The area is simply mad about sport, but as well as that, in these CHALLENGING ECONOMIC TIMES, it works better for us to present the show from our new home than opting for the more costly arena options"

    I'll tell you what would work better in these CHALLENGING ECONOMIC TIMES Carl:

    a) Don't waste tax payers money by moving the BBC away from the Capital

    b) Don't waste tax payers money by journalists having to uproot up to the North

    c) Spend the money instead on winning some worthwhile broadcasting rights

    d) Remove the North-West bias from the BBC and spread the involvement around the whole of the UK

  • Comment number 52.

    Don't worry about the BBC hosting SPOTY inside Salford Quays. Salford Quays will turn out to be the new media centre for Manchester football clubs when the Beeb lose the licence fee.
    No top level management at the BBC have moved from London and nor will they... ever. The estate agents at the BBC who are planning to sell off TV Centre have managed to keep offices in White City buildings, Shepherds Bush along with all the people who buy in contracted services.
    SPOTY will be done by an independent TV company within a couple of years. The disdain felt for the loyal audience has been exemplified by the BBC in switching it to a Thursday evening.
    I dare the Beeb to give it's audience the chance to vote on which night the programme is shown ?
    Stick that on the Red button !


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.