LONDON — International sport is about to get its own version of the Oscars: the annual Laureus Sports Awards, to be first held in Monaco May 25 and starring a who’s who of the sports and entertainment worlds.
The global broadcast to a hoped-for 1 billion viewers will be hosted by Jeff Bridges, Ashley Judd and Dylan McDermott. Presenters include Sylvester Stallone, Samuel L. Jackson, Goldie Hawn and Dennis Franz. Performing will be Jon Bon Jovi, Toni Braxton and others.
The event — sponsored by DaimlerChrysler and luxury goods company Richemont — will air on TNT and CNN in the United States, and on ZDF in Germany. In total, the show should be available in 100 markets, but those deals have yet to be announced.
A spokesperson said that in one case, the TV rights will encompass 64 territories. That would seem to indicate that the buyer will be Asian satcaster Star TV. No info on the money involved for any of the deals was given.
Charity built in
Part of the package is the creation of the World Sports Academy, which counts Michael Jordan, Jack Nicklaus, Boris Becker and Martina Navratilova among its 36 founding members. A charitable venture, the Sport for Good Foundation, is also being set up.
The awards were unveiled in London at a press conference hosted by David Frost and attended by a number of sports personalities, including figure skater Katarina Witt, runner Edwin Moses and tennis’s Ilie Nastase.
About two-thirds of the nominees — selected by 230 sports journalists from around the world — are American.
Tennis ace Andre Agassi is the only athlete with two nominations, up for both sportsman and comeback of the year.