Liverpool shows off cultural calibre
Dec 15 2008 Liverpool Daily Post
WHILE triple gold medallist Chris Hoy collected the big trophy on offer last night, there was another unsung winner whose achievement was arguably greater.
Liverpool has spent 2008 enjoying its own cultural Olympics.
Hosting the coveted BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards was an undoubted highlight, in a year when lowlights have been difficult to find.
An audience of more than 9,000 packed the Echo Arena Liverpool to watch the show live at the Kings Dock.
And many millions more will have tuned in to coverage on BBC One.
Following on the heels of the MTV Europe Music Awards, the Liverpool Sound concert and the Open Golf Championship, it was another chance for Liverpool and Merseyside to bask in the limelight of the national stage.
And judging by the litany of comments from Britain?s sporting elite, we did ourselves proud. To cite just one, honorary Mancunian and football legend Sir Bobby Charlton weighed in with fulsome praise of the event?s ?enthusiasm? before personally and publicly thanking the city for playing host.
But for a city as synonymous with sport as Liverpool, it is only surprising that it took the BBC so long to make it here for Sports Personality.
The past two years have seen it broadcast from Birmingham?s NEC Arena, and before then it was the sole preserve of the capital. And bringing it to ACC Liverpool meant last night?s show was the ?biggest ever?, as well as, in F1 champion Lewis Hamilton?s words, the ?best ever?. Liverpool?s 10,600-capacity Arena trumps the 8,000-capacity NEC.
When, after 2008 is over, events organisers don?t have Capital of Culture as a draw to the city, Liverpool will proudly rely on its growing reputation for hosting these events successfully to secure future lucrative bookings.