And the winner is… a 66-year-old TV institution!

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Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY) is a landmark in the UK TV calendar, dating back to 1954, when Chris Chataway became the inaugural winner. It has grown hugely over the years as a broadcast event. Remember Ben Stokes’ year in front of a packed house at the 15,000 capacity P&J Live Arena in Aberdeen?

This year, we faced an altogether different challenge: How to maintain the excitement and classic appeal of this titanic arena event in a socially distanced TV studio at MediaCityUK, Salford, with a virtual audience of 1,000… plus millions watching at home, of course?

We’ve provided a full service for SPOTY for well over 10 years, so we’re familiar with the elements that make up the show: four presenters, numerous award winners, VTs and live music – in this case Celeste and Rick Astley. The studio set-up was also a common scenario for us, although equipment had to be carefully packaged, labelled and regularly wiped down to keep the presenters and winners safe from any danger of contagion.

We provided PA, foldback, mics, in-ear monitors and an active split system to split the sound between front of house and broadcast. Four of our crew were on hand, one manning the FoH mixer, one on the monitor mixer and two on stage.

And it worked. When Rugby League legend Kevin Sinfield announced Lewis Hamilton as the 2020 Sports Personality of the Year, you could have believed the award was being cheered by a live audience of thousands. But let’s hope we really are back in the arena setting next year.

Plus 4 Audio provides experienced sound services for studio broadcasts and arena shows. Contact us for more information

020 8397 8400