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As many millions of viewers sit at home and watch the Sports Personality of the Year Awards, there is often little thought into the inner workings of such an event. Something we’re all guilty of is taking for granted how seamlessly (for the most part) festivals, awards ceremonies and other live events are captured for our at-home entertainment. Having been fortunate enough to have worked on the awards since 2001, we look back into the history of the event and the role Gallowglass played in bringing the 2018 awards to life.
Taking place each December, the Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY) Awards aims to recognise a sportsperson that is deemed to have achieved the most in that year. The recipient of the award must either be British or for the majority of their sporting events to occur within the UK.
The event debuted in 1954, the creation of Paul Fox during his time as editor of Sportsview, a magazine sports show that began airing in the same year. All of the awards have been decided by public vote, with modern versions allowing viewers to cast their vote online. The first instalment of the awards required voters to send in by postcard their chosen winner, with roughly 14,500 people doing so. The outcome saw a young Roger Bannister pipped to the top spot by middle and long-distance runner Chris Chataway.
Since 1954, the award has seen 62 recipients over 61 years, with Torvill and Dean taking home the only non-individual award. Scotland’s Andy Murray has laid claim to the prize a record three times, in 2013, 2015 and 2016. 2018 saw cycling star Geraint Thomas take the top spot for his Tour de France triumph, with Lewis Hamilton taking second place and England football captain Harry Kane taking third.
In the lead up to the awards, Gallowglass was contracted by White Productions, an event management company that we’ve been fortunate to work with since 2001. The requirement was not a small one: to deliver all technical aspects of the show! As the event was being held in Birmingham, we dispatched 40 crew from that base along with 25 additional, made up of Bristol, Cardiff, Manchester and London teams. We used a tiered crew system to ensure clarity, with a Senior Crew Chief (SCC) liaising directly with White Productions management. We also had four Crew Chief Legends reporting to the SCC – ‘Legends’ are team members that have accrued more than 10,000 hours onsite.
The Crew Chiefs were responsible for the different elements of the event including sound, lighting, rigging, cameras etc. The SCC also oversaw the build of the massive tiered seating section of the arena, which was no small job! Fortunately, thanks to our professional crew, we were able to get a quick and clean start to the project meaning that from the outset, we had set ourselves up for success.
The entire project took five days and nights to complete using a total of 75 crew; it was initially projected at 104 but with some streamlined approaches, we completed the work quickly and more efficiently. The crew amassed 2,600 hours on site with both the setting up and taking down of the event being completed early. This could not have been completed without the professionalism and hard work of the crew, alongside the coordination of the senior crew members and chiefs.
If you think you have what it takes to get started in the events industry, why not get in touch with us? We’re always on the lookout to bolster our event crews in Bristol, Cardiff and Birmingham! You can also check out our blog for more info on other events that we’ve worked on.
“Having worked with Gallowglass since 2001, the company has grown but still managed to keep the excellency of service throughout. The experience of the operations is second to none. This is why we engaged Gallowglass to provide the crew services for this years Sports Personality of the year at The Resorts World Arena at Birmingham's NEC.
Gallowglass have proven time and time to me that that they can deliver excellence for large scale events, the crew are hardworking and flexible with great experience.
Dealing with Gallowglass here at White Productions is a breeze and we look forward to engaging them again for future events.”
Gary White, Technical Director, White Productions