Balding, Bumble and Collymore in mix for prizes

PHILIP BARKER summarises the leading contenders in the third and final short-list for the SJA’s British Sports Journalism Awards, to be presented on March 24: the broadcast categories

Clare Balding was the 2012 Sports Broadcaster of the Year at our Sports Journalism Awards, here presented with her trophy by the British Paralympic Association's Tim Hollingsworth
Clare Balding was the 2012 Sports Broadcaster of the Year at our Sports Journalism Awards, presented with her trophy by the British Paralympic Association’s Tim Hollingsworth

The votes are in, and the SJA membership has made its choices.

The sports broadcasting categories – television programme, radio programme and sports broadcaster of the year – are the only ones in which our annual awards are determined by a ballot of SJA members.

We’ve recognised sports broadcasters for almost a decade now, and this year’s leading contenders provides lists that are probably more diverse than any before, pitching the likes of 2012 Sports Broadcaster of the Year Clare Balding against TalkSport’s radio host Stan Collymore and BBC commentator Mike Costello, or live coverage of Ashes cricket by Sky against documentary strand Sports Life Stories on ITV.

The results of our polls will be announced alongside the winners of the sports writing and sports photography categories at the SJA British Sports Journalism Awards at the Grand Connaught Rooms in Covent Garden on Monday, March 24.

Here are the leading broadcast contenders, listed in alphabetical order:

Television programme

The Ashes (Sky Sports) Sky dedicated an entire channel to cricket coverage last summer. The back-to-back Ashes series were compelling viewing for very different reasons

Best of Enemies: Vieira and Keane (ITV) Bringing these two together was an inspired move. The Manchester Evening News called it “Thrilling and enlightening”, and many SJA voters agreed.

British Lions Tour (Sky Sports) Lions coach Warren Gatland received our team of the year award at the Tower of London in December. Sky Sports provided the pictures of the first Lions series win since 1997.

Life’s a Pitch (BT Sport) Hosted by Des Kelly with some intriguing guests at the BT Studios at Stratford’s Olympic Park.

Paralympic World Championships (Channel 4) Their coverage at the London 2012 Paralympics pushed the BBC all the way in voting for our awards 12 months ago. Channel 4 provided more of the same for the 2013 athletics world championships in France.

Sports Life Stories (ITV) A hidden gem of a series originally aired on ITV 4, with some revealing insights into some of the biggest names in sport, past and present.

Transfer Deadline Day (Sky Sports News) Even Jim White’s deadline day yellow tie has achieved cult status. It has become one of the biggest single days for the rolling news channel.

Radio programme

British Lions (TalkSport) Radio coverage of a golden tour was on TalkSport, Andrew McKenna and Brian Moore were the commentators.

The Day Sport Changed Forever (BBC Radio Five Live) Jonathan Overend, a past winner of our Sports Broadcaster of the Year award, told the story of Billie Jean King and women’s tennis as they struggled for recognition in 1973.

James Hunt Pitstop Playboy (BBC Radio Five Live) 20 years on from his death, this revealed the surprisingly sensitive side to Hunt in contrast to a much harsher portrayal in the movie Rush.

My Sporting Life (TalkSport) Hosted by Danny Kelly, it has featured some of the greatest names of sport.

Sports Report (BBC Radio Five Live) First broadcast in 1948, the year the Association was founded, it remains a popular choice with SJA voters.

Test Match Special (BBC Radio) The SJA’s radio programme of choice in 2009, 2010 and 2012.


Clare Balding – Our SJA Sports Broadcaster of 2012. Moved to front the Channel 4 racing presenting team and her own show on BT Sport.

Simon Brotherton – Football commentator and BBC’s No1 on cycling.

Stan Collymore – Pundit on TalkSport Radio who has once again drawn many votes from SJA members.

Mike Costello – BBC Radio’s boxing and athletics commentator, who called home Mo Farah’s distance double at the world championships in Moscow last summer.

David Lloyd – the only one of our short list to have scored a Test double century. A former umpire and England coach, he has become a popular and highly original voice in the Sky Sports’ commentary box.

Alison Mitchell – the first female voice regularly heard on Test Match Special. Covered back-to-back men and women’s Ashes series, and the Australian tennis open for good measure.

Make sure you don’t miss out on the gala celebration of the best of British sports journalism by booking your ticket – or even a table – for the SJA British Sports Journalism Awards on Monday March 24 at the Grand Connaught Rooms in London’s Covent Garden.

The event begins at 6pm, with a champagne reception and opportunity to view an exhibition of many of the leading entries in the photography categories, prior to a three-course dinner and the presentation of the awards.

There are special ticket discounts available to paid-up SJA members. But hurry – tickets are already selling fast.


Mon Mar 24: SJA British Sports Journalism Awards, Grand Connaught Rooms, London
Mon Apr 14: SJA Spring Golf Day: Croham Hurst GC, Surrey. Booking details to be announced