Sport Personality of the Year: Belfast to host 2015 awards show

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BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2015

The 2015 BBC Sports Personality of the Year will be held in Belfast on Sunday, 20 December.

An 8,000-capacity audience at the city's Odyssey Arena is expected to attend the annual awards show.

It will be the first time that Northern Ireland has hosted the event, which first went on the road in 2006.

The programme will reflect on a packed year which includes a Rugby World Cup, Women's Football World Cup and an Ashes series on UK soil.

In addition, 2015 will see all the Olympic sports gearing up for Rio 2016, including the World Athletics Championships in August, plus all the home nations' football teams seeking to secure qualification to Euro 2016.

Tickets for the Sports Personality of the Year will go on sale later on in the year from the Odyssey Arena box office.

Jo Pavey (third), Lewis Hamilton (winner) and Rory McIlroy (runner-up) at the 2014 Sports Personality of the Year
The 2014 Sports Personality of the Year show was staged at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow

Presenting the show to the live arena audience plus the millions more watching on TV will be Gary Lineker, Gabby Logan and Clare Balding.

The spectacular evening is a chance for the public to share the experience with the stars before crowning their personality of the year, via a public vote.

Last year's show in Glasgow, watched by just under 9m viewers on BBC One, saw Lewis Hamilton win the coveted title.

Dame Mary Peters - 1972 winner
"Hosting SPOTY in Belfast means a tremendous amount. It gives a greater opportunity for young people to be inspired and to see their stars in real life because I'm sure that lots will turn out to welcome the visitors."
Read more on the BBC Blog

The BBC's Director of Sport Barbara Slater said they had wanted to bring the show to Belfast for a long time.

"The city, and Northern Ireland as whole, is home to so many sporting legends and steeped in sporting history, not to mention its worldwide reputation for a welcome second to none," she said.

"We are looking forward to a truly spectacular show."

Golf's world number one and runner-up for Sports Personality of the Year in 2014, Rory McIlroy, said Belfast had shown over the past few years that it could hold massive events like the Sports Personality of the Year.

"We have the facilities like the Odyssey Arena which hosted the MTV music awards. I think it will be huge," said McIlroy.

"Belfast has been crying out for events like this, and in the years since the Millennium it has grown into a really vibrant city."

AP McCoy
Retired champion jockey AP McCoy is the most recent winner to hail from Northern Ireland
The Odyssey Arena
The Odyssey Arena has staged boxing and athletics events and is home to ice hockey team the Belfast Giants
Odyssey Arena
The Odyssey Arena is located in Belfast's Titanic Quarter

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