Category: Television

The All-Male SPOTY 2011 nominees

By , 7th December 2011 00:02

BBC Sport opened a hornets nest when it managed to produce an all-male shortlist for its 2011 Sports Personality of the Year Award. Chrissie Wellington, who secured her fourth Ironman triathlon world title in October 2011, provided one of the most thoughtful critiques of the nomination process, the underlying gender-bias of Britain’s sporting media and its domination by football and a handful of other sports.

The Sports Journalists’ Association has highlighted that its members have a rich selection of female British world champions to choose between when casting their votes for its own Sportswoman of the Year Award. The favourites for their Sportsman of the Year Award closely resembles the SPOTY shortlist.


View SPOTY 2011 – the nominees in a larger map

In its annual effort to discern possible voting patterns, Sporting Landmarks has once again mapped the home towns of SPOTY nominees. All four home countries are represented in this year’s SPOTY shortlist and cycling’s road race world champion Mark Cavendish represents the Isle of Man for the third year running.

Once again Northern Ireland has two nominees who will be seeking to keep the trophy in the Province after AP McCoy’s victory last year. However not only will the loyalties of Northern Ireland voters be split two ways between Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke, Hemel Hempstead’s Luke Donald will also be competing for votes from golf.

Both ‘Londoners’ were actually born in Africa. Mo Farah, atheltics’ 5000m World Champion was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, although he moved to the East End as a boy. He is still affiliated with Newham & Essex Beagles according to UK Athletics although his training base is currently in Portland Oregon in the USA. Andrew Strauss arrived in England aged six having been born in Johannesburg, South Africa: Lords has been taken as the spiritual home for the Middlesex and England cricketer on the map.

Dai Greene from Llanelli will have to compete with Farah for the athletics vote but should have the first call on votes from Wales. Andrew Stauss will need to see-off Gloucester’s Alastair Cook for the support of cricketers.

Andy Murray looks to have a clear run at both Scottish and tennis votes while Amir Khan is the only boxer and the only finalist from Northern England.

The 2010 results also suggest that non of last year’s contenders – or their supporters – managed to fully exploit twitter to mobilise support even though nine of the ten finalists were tweeters. Graeme Swann had more than 116,000 followers in December 2010 but only came 9th with 13,767 votes. The winner, AP McCoy, secured 293,152 votes – nearly 42 percent of the total poll – but had only 971 twitter followers – the second lowest. Will social media be any more influential in 2011?

BBC SPOTY 2010 – the nominees

By , 15th December 2010 23:17

Last year SportingLandmarks mapped the home-towns of the nominees for the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year and speculated on the extent to which block votes might influence the result.

Unlike 2009, all members of the 2010 shortlist were actually born in the British Isles.  While Northern Ireland will celebrate two nominees this year, Scotland and Wales – which provided the winners in 2008 and 2009 respectively – have none.  David Haye is the only Londoner – compared with three in 2010 – and Mark Cavendish flies the flag for the Isle of Man for the second year running.


View SPOTY 2010 – The Nominees in a larger map

If block votes are significant, the psephologists will be interested to see how the golfing vote will be divided by Lee Westwood and Graeme McDowell.

Last year, SportingLandmarks also pondered the importance of social media in mobilising the electorate.  This year, only Amy Williams has no obvious twitter presence.  Tom Daley and Jessica Ennis both have more than one ‘official’ twitter profile while @jessicaennisftw which appeared shortly after @SporLand tweeted about SPOTY last year has been resurrected to renew their campaign for a Jess victory in 2010.

If the number of twitter followers is significant, a quick survey – undertaken on 15 December – suggests Graeme Swann looks to be in poll position to pick-up the trophy. Ryan Giggs secured the 2009 title with 151, 842 votes – a 29.4% share of the total.  Swann currently has approaching 120,000 followers and the vote takes place in the middle of the third Ashes test in Perth at a time when the nation’s enthusiasm for cricket is high.

The SPOTY 2010 nominees and their twitter followers:

Graeme Swann, cricketer.  Born: Northampton, 24 March 1979 @swannyg66 (116, 197 followers)

David Haye, boxer.  Born: Bermondsey, 13 October 1990  @mrdavidhaye (81,794)

Lee Westwood, golfer. Born: Worksop, 24 April 1973  @westwoodlee (64,563)

Graeme McDowell, golfer.  Born: Portrush, 30 July 1979  @graeme_mcdowell (62,267)

Tom Daley, diver. Born: Plymouth, 21 May 1994  @tomdaley1994 (29,228) @TomDaleytv (1,327)

Jessica Ennis, heptathlete. Born: Sheffield, 28 January 1986  @j_ennis (19,343) @JessicaEnnisNet (1,378) @JessicaEnnisftw (307)

Mark Cavendish, cyclist. Born: Douglas, Isle of Man,  21 May 1985  @cavendishmark (17,649)

Phil Taylor, darts player. Born: Burslem, 13 August 1960  @PhilDTaylor (8,112)

AP McCoy, National Hunt Jockey. Born: Moneyglass, 4 May 1974  @apmccoy (971)

Amy Williams, Bob Skelton. Born: Cambridge, 29 September 1982  (not on twitter!)

SportingLandmarks forwarded some of SporLand’s #SP09 tweets Carl Doran, SPOTY’s editor last year. In his reply, Carl admitted that he was not, then, twitter-savvy.  However @BBCSPOTY is now live and promoting this year’s show: 888 followers as of 15 December.

BBC SP09 – the nominees

By , 3rd December 2009 01:03

The BBC announced the shortlist for the 2009 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award on Monday 30 November.

The sports desks of various national and regional newspapers are asked to submit their own top ten nominations.  The ten most popular names from across all nominations become the shortlist for the national vote.

So the shortlisted nominations come from Athletics (x2), Boxing, Cricket, Cycling, Diving, Football, Formula 1, Gymnastics, and Tennis.

Geographically, the nominees can trace their roots from Dunblane in Scotland (Andy Murray) to Plymouth (Tom Daley).


View BBC SP09 – the shortlist in a larger map

Two of the nominees were actually born in Johannesburg, South Africa – Beth Tweddle and Andrew Strauss.  So on the map, Beth’s home town of Bunbury, Cheshire and Andy’s spiritual home of Lords are shown.

Its always fun to speculate about the extent to which voting “blocks” exist in SP09?

Do the different sports automatically get behind their man or woman?   If so, are Jessica Ennis and Phillips Idowu at a disadvantage in 2009 because they will split the athletics vote?

Does geography play any part?  Are there enough voters in Wales to give Ryan Giggs the title, or is the vast diaspora of Man United fans the key to his victory?

Last year, Chris Hoy won the prize with 283,630 votes to Lewis Hamilton’s 163,864.  He was victorious despite coming from a “minority” sport.  What’s more, there were three other cyclists – Nicole Cooke, Bradley Wiggins and Rebecca Romero – in the shortlist. He also had a rival for Scottish votes in Andy Murray.

So, maybe the key to his victory simply reflected the widespread awe for a man who became the first Briton in a century to win three Olympic Golds at a single Games while keeping his feet firmly on the ground – when not attached to his pedals!

As @SporLand I speculated in a tweet whether SP09 might be decided by twitter, given the growth in its influence over the last year?  At the time of the tweet, all the nominees except Phillips Idowu, Jessica Ennis and Andrew Strauss were already on twitter – their twitter names can be found on the map above. 

That tweet would have been seen by @SkyNewsOlympic who was filming with Jessica Ennis at the time. Since then, @jessicennisftw has started tweeting.

So, have I contributed to the start of a SP09 twitter campaign?

Let battle commence!

Record breaking Usain Bolt in Manchester – in 3D!

By , 15th September 2009 14:17

UsainBoltI’m just wrapping up my annual visit to Amsterdam where I work with the organisers of IBC, the world’s leading international broadcast technology exhibition and conference – an event where the importance of sport to television is highlighted by the number of exhibitors showing sporting footage to demonstrate their wares.

One of the main themes throughout this year’s show has been 3D TV.  IBC has been covering the renaissance of 3D in cinema for several years.  The debate is rapidly moving on to when 3D television transmissions will become commonplace.  In the UK, Sky is planning to launch a 3D channel for special events in 2010 which will show one-off events on a pay-per-view basis initially.  Until compatible hardware becomes widely available at affordable prices, sports enthusiasts who want to experience live sport in 3D will have to make a trip down to their local digital cinema.  But if you get the opportunity, I’d thoroughly recommend it.

I managed to catch a fascinating session on the new challenges of producing live TV content in 3D.  One of the case studies presented was a project to capture Usain Bolt’s attempt on 150 metres world record in 3D.

The attempt on the rarely-raced distance took place on a specially laid track on Deansgate, one of the main streets through Manchester city centre, on 17 May 2009.  Bolt covered the distance in a new world best time of 14.45 seconds. The production company who captured the race on video described the race as the fastest race of all time – as Bolt’s split time for the last 100 metres was just 8.72 seconds, well inside Bolt’s own 100m world record.

Here’s the footage of the race – in 2D – which has been derived from the same camera set-up used for the 3D footage.

The Manchester Evening News – whose offices look down on Deansgate – reports on the outcome here.

Despite the challenge of setting up the shoot in typical Manchester weather, the 3D footage on a big cinema screen was spectacular.  It was much more dramatic than the 2D footage available on youTube.

So not only should Deansgate get a plaque for the setting of the new 150m record, it may well qualify for a plaque as the venue of the first athletics world record captured in 3D!

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