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Page last updated at 15:07 GMT, Tuesday, 18 May 2010 16:07 UK

Birmingham to host 2010 Sports Personality of the Year

Stars look forward to 'biggest' Sports Personality

The BBC has announced that the 2010 Sports Personality of the Year event will be held in Birmingham at the LG Arena on Sunday 19 December.

The event returns to the West Midlands after a record crowd of over 10,000 watched Manchester United's Ryan Giggs crowned at Sheffield Arena in 2009.

Live coverage from the venue will feature on BBC One, Radio 5 live, BBC Red Button and the BBC Sport website.

Programme, ticket and voting details will be announced nearer the time.

Last year's event pulled in 7.2 million television viewers as Giggs beat Formula One champion Jenson Button and heptathlon world champion Jessica Ennis to the honour.

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This year's Sports Personality of the Year will be the biggest in the show's history with the LG Arena able to hold around 14,000 people, although the final number is expected to be around 12,000 - depending on the set design.

The show will once again be presented by Sue Barker, Gary Lineker and Jake Humphrey.

BBC director of sport Barbara Slater said: "It will be great to bring the event back to Birmingham and to be able to offer so many people the chance to be part of the celebrations.

"Sports Personality of the Year is such a great platform to celebrate the very best in sport and this is a great sporting area of the UK."

Birmingham staged Sports Personality in 2006, the first time the show was taken out of London and presented to a live public audience, and again in 2007.

Former Sports Personality winners Ann Jones and Anita Lonsbrough, who both live in the West Midlands, helped launch the event in Birmingham on Tuesday.

Birmingham is a hotbed of sport and the atmosphere it will generate come December will be a step up from Sheffield

Geoff Thomas

Jones was the women's singles champion at Wimbledon in 1969, while Lonsbrough won a swimming gold medal at the 1960 Olympics.

And both believe the 2010 event could be the biggest in the show's history.

"I was here for the first event outside of London in Birmingham in 2006 and then in Liverpool and in Sheffield last year," said Lonsbrough, who was the first female winner of the Sports Personality award in 1962, nine years after its inception.

"I think it's going to be tremendous this year with the biggest audience ever.

"Being the week before Christmas there will also be a super festival atmosphere as well.

"The West Midlands is a great sporting area so it is great to be back and the tickets will probably sell out as quickly as they did last time."

Ann Jones received the prestigious Sports Personality of the Year trophy in 1969 after winning Wimbledon in the same year, beating United States star Billie Jean King 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the final.

And Jones is excited about attending the December showpiece.

"I think it's brilliant for me, I don't have to drive anywhere, I can just roll out and come and enjoy myself," said Jones.

"It is wonderful for the city, they were sorry to lose it when it went to Liverpool and I know they have worked hard to get it back. This refurbished arena is lovely and I hope the public come and see it for themselves.

"It will be the biggest Sports Personality ever because the LG Arena holds many more people so it's a wonderful opportunity for people to come and see past winners like Anita and me and a few others and the current ones."

Former England international and Wolves midfielder Geoff Thomas was given the Helen Rollason award in 2005 after he recovered from Leukaemia in 2003 to raise more than £150,000 for the Leukaemia Research charity.

And Thomas is another West Midlands resident who insists the 2010 event can exceed the heights reached in Sheffield last year.

"I really enjoy the evening and to be in the same room with so many big celebs and to play a part is brilliant. It is just a great evening to attend," said the former Crystal Palace captain.

"Sometimes Birmingham sells itself short when it comes to sport, it holds so many world international competitions, badminton, table tennis and it has got the indoor athletics and four Premier League sides now.

"Birmingham is a hotbed of sport and the atmosphere it will generate come December will be a step up from Sheffield."

Giggs named 2009 spoty winner



see also
BBC sport awards in Birmingham
18 May 10 |  People and Places
Giggs wins 2009 BBC Sports Personality award
13 Dec 09 |  Sports Personality
Giggs shocked to land BBC award
14 Dec 09 |  Sports Personality
Capello handed BBC Coach honour
13 Dec 09 |  Sports Personality
Ashes heroes land BBC team honour
13 Dec 09 |  Sports Personality
Seve receives BBC lifetime award
13 Dec 09 |  Sports Personality
Bolt claims Overseas award again
13 Dec 09 |  Sports Personality
Daley wins second Young BBC award
13 Dec 09 |  Sports Personality
Izzard handed BBC special award
13 Dec 09 |  Sports Personality
Major wins Helen Rollason award
13 Dec 09 |  Sports Personality
Swimming teacher wins Unsung Hero
13 Dec 09 |  Sports Personality



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