The BBC announce their showpiece Sports Personality of the Year ceremony will be a scaled-back affair this December with NO public audience due to Covid-19 restrictions… and even nominees might not be allowed to attend!
- The BBC are considering incorporating a virtual crowd into the ceremony
- Sports people nominated for awards may not be invited to attend the studio
- only a few select guests are expected to be present because of restrictions
- Formula One superstar Lewis Hamilton is bookies’ favourite to win the award
The BBC have announced they will stage a scaled-back Sports Personality of the Year programme at their studios in Salford without a live public audience.
Since 2006, SPOTY has been held at large arenas around the country in front of paying punters, with 10,000 people attending last year’s show in Aberdeen.
But the BBC have confirmed that this year’s event on December 20 has been moved back to Media City, with only a few select guests expected to be present because of coronavirus restrictions.
Cricketer Ben Stokes won Sports Personality of the Year in 2019 as 10,000 people attended
Sportsmail understands the Beeb are considering options to incorporate a virtual audience, in a similar way to ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent, when members of the public appeared on a giant ‘wall’.
However, even sports people nominated for awards may not be invited to attend the studio, although plans are still being discussed and will largely depend on the Covid-19 situation at that time.
Runaway Formula One championship leader Lewis Hamilton is the bookies’ favourite to collect the main prize for the second time, having previously won it in 2014 and been runner-up four times.
Lewis Hamilton is the favourite to win the award after another dominant year in Formula one
Marcus Rashford has won widespread praise for his crusade against child food poverty
Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford, following his child poverty campaigning, world snooker champion Ronnie O’Sullivan and heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury are also contenders.
This year’s SPOTY show, though, will also focus on the sporting and fundraising efforts of the general public throughout the pandemic.
A BBC spokesperson said: ‘The ceremony will not only celebrate the very best of elite sport but will also reflect how ordinary members of the public and unsung heroes all over the UK have used the power of sport to keep the nation going through challenging times.’