BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award 2023: What time does it start tonight and who are nominees?

Rory McIlroy swinging his club - BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award 2023: When is it and who are the nominees?
McIlroy spent part of 2023 as the world's No 1 golfer - Getty Images/David Cannon

The BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year award is celebrating its 70th anniversary tonight.

Established in 1954, Spoty does not necessarily reward the best sporting performance of the year but, as a public vote, recognises the ‘personality’ who has most captivated the British public over the past calendar year.

What is it?

Spoty is an annual awards and review programme, organised and hosted by the Corporation, that began in 1954 by looking back at the year in sport before crowning a BBC Sports Personality of the Year. The use of the word ‘personality’ in the title is a throwback to when the term was used interchangeably with the word ‘person’. Contrary to popular perception, there is no requirement for the shortlisted candidates to have distinctive character.

Now in its eighth decade, the show has mushroomed to incorporate seven other distinct prizes alongside the main award: World Sport Star of the Year, Team of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, Young Sports Personality of the Year, Coach of the Year, Unsung Hero, Greatest Sporting Moment of the Year and the Helen Rollason Award, inaugurated to commemorate the life of the BBC presenter who died in 1999, and presented for “outstanding achievement in the face of adversity”.

When is it?

Spoty takes place tonight (Tuesday, December 19) and is broadcast live, with voting open to the public during the programme via phone, the BBC Sports app and website. The show is broadcast on BBC One.

Where is it?

The event is held at Media City in Salford, with tickets available on application to BBC Shows and Tours.

What time will it start?

Coverage begins at 7pm UK time and is due to finish at 9pm.

How can I watch it?

BBC One and BBC iPlayer will broadcast the show, presented, as it was last year, by Gabby Logan, Clare Balding, Gary Lineker and Alex Scott, live. You may also follow the event by reading our live blog.

Gabby Logan, Gary Lineker, Alex Scott and Clare Balding
Gabby Logan, Gary Lineker, Alex Scott and Clare Balding join forces again to present Spoty in December - David Davies/PA Wire

Who are the nominees?

The shortlist of nominees for the main award was announced on December 12. They are:

  • Stuart Broad, who announced his retirement at the end of the drawn Ashes after a glorious 16-year international career

  • Frankie Dettori, the flat jockey who won his seventh Oaks and fourth 2,000 Guineas in 2023 before retiring from racing in the UK

  • Mary Earps, the goalkeeper who helped her England side into their first Women’s World Cup final

  • Alfie Hewett, the wheelchair tennis player who won the Australian Open and the US Open, and reached the final at Wimbledon

  • Katarina Johnson-Thompson, who won her second heptathlon gold, at the World Championships

  • Rory Mcllroy, who was arguably the best player on either team as Europe won the Ryder Cup

In the past the shortlist was published long in advance, to allow for postal voting. These days, however, voting only takes place during the broadcast itself.

Among the big names left off the shortlist are Jude Bellingham, who continues to shine a torch for English football both with the national team and during his sensational early months at Real Madrid and Josh Kerr, who won the 1,500 metres gold at the athletics world championships.

How can I vote?

Voting will begin during the live show – presenters will tell viewers when the vote has opened and provide the telephone numbers, while the public will also be able to vote online by clicking here. You must be in the UK to vote online and each person can only cast one vote.

Which sports have won the main prize most?

Athletics lead the way by a wide margin with 18 wins out of 69, followed by:

F1 8
Tennis 7
Football 6
Cricket, boxing, cycling 5 each
Figure skating 3
Golf, swimming and eventing 2 each
Snooker, show jumping, racing, rugby union, motorcycle racing, rowing 1 each

What are the latest odds?

  • Mary Earps 1/8

  • Stuart Broad 12/1

  • Katarina Johnson-Thompson 20/1

  • Frankie Dettori 33/1

  • Alfie Hewett 50/1

  • Rory McIlroy 250/1

Who won last year?

Beth Mead, player of the tournament and top scorer at Euro 2022 for England, became the first female footballer to win the award, complementing her tournament victory. The Lionesses also took home the team of the year gong and Sarina Wiegman was crowned coach of the year.

Delighted if slightly bemused by winning it, Mead said she could now “die happy”, adding “I still find it quite surreal. I’m Beth Mead, I kick a bag of air around a football pitch. It is quite humbling.

“Women’s sport is heading in the right direction and that’s where we want it to continue to head. You look at the podium tonight, there are two women there. It is incredible how far football has come – cricket, rugby, curling, gymnastics. We want to keep pushing that even more for the next generation.”