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The People's Choice Sports Awards

The People's Choice Sports Awards

MEDIA RELEASE
23 June 2004

SKY TELEVISION AND THE RADIO NETWORK PRESENT 'THE PEOPLE'S CHOICE SPORTS AWARDS', PARALYMPICS NEW ZEALAND NAMED AS BENEFICIARY

SKY Television and The Radio Network (Newstalk ZB & Radio Sport) confirmed today that they have joined forces to present the People's Choice Sports Awards. The People's Choice Sports Awards provide an opportunity for the New Zealand public to select their favourite sports heroes. All proceeds from the event will be donated to Paralympics New Zealand.

According to Bill Francis, General Manager Talk Programming, The Radio Network, the awards give New Zealanders an opportunity to thank their sporting heroes and show support. "SKY Television, Newstalk ZB and Radio Sport reach a considerable portion of the opinionated, passionate and interactive sports audience of New Zealand. Anecdotal feedback showed that New Zealanders wanted to be involved. We are looking forward to delivering on the expectations of our viewers and listeners who support New Zealand sport by subscribing to SKY and listening to Radio Sport and Newstalk ZB, and at the same time support a worthy cause, Paralympics New Zealand," he says.

SKY Sport, Newstalk ZB and Radio Sport will donate programme, promotional and production time. Revenue generated from advertising in and around the People's Choice Sports Awards programmes and voters ringing or texting in their votes, will also be donated. The Supreme Awards show and gala dinner will be sponsored in order to cover operational costs.

For the first time in New Zealand, voting will be through SKY Interactive using the SKY remote control. "SKY Television has the unique ability of being able to offer over 465,000 digital viewers the opportunity to vote immediately via the interactive SKY Television remote. This will enable results to be read and collated almost immediately," says John Fellet, CEO, SKY Television.

"Paralympics New Zealand is very excited to be associated with the Radio Network and SKY Television in establishing the People's Choice Sports Awards," says Craig Hobbs, Executive Director, Paralympics New Zealand.

"New Zealand athletes regularly thrill the country with their achievements on the international stage. We as proud Kiwis live and breathe the progress of our elite athletes and teams; we feel that we have a stake in them and always have strong opinions on results and outcomes. The Peoples' Choice Sports Awards will allow New Zealanders to take even more ownership in the achievements of those who wear the silver fern with distinction, honour and pride, by giving them the great opportunity to recognise their own personal champions," says Hobbs.

"New Zealand paralympians have consistently been amongst the most successful of New Zealand athletes, inspiring us with their fearless self-belief and up-for-it attitude. Paralympics New Zealand's involvement in the People's Choice Sports Awards will raise the profile of these elite sports people whose strength of character defeats their disabilities and on most occasions the best the rest of the world puts up against them in competition," continues Hobbs.

"This is a great new initiative in supporting Paralympics New Zealand and it deserves to be applauded," says Ruth Dyson, Minister for Disability Issues.

"The Paralympic games are the pinnacle of disabled sports competition. The public recognition and financial assistance provided through these awards, will help our paralympians to achieve even greater success and inspire us all to realise our dreams,"says Dyson.

The People's Choice Sports Awards comprises six awards categories: Sportswoman, Sportsman, Paralympian, Team, Coach, an International category for non-New Zealanders as well as the overall People's Choice Supreme Award. The call for nominations will go out in October of this year; the New Zealand public will be able to nominate their sporting heroes via the SKY, Radio Sport and Newstalk ZB websites as well as phone, text messaging or email.

The selection of finalists for each category will then be chosen from the list of nominations by a panel of six sports specialists. The finalists in each of the six categories will be announced in five weekly shows, hosted by Stephen McIvor. The five studio based shows will be broadcast on SKY Sport 1 and simulcast on Radio Sport. New Zealanders will be able to vote for their favourite sporting stars from the finalists in each category via SKY Television Interactive, phone or text messaging.

The Supreme Awards Show will broadcast live from the fundraising Gala Dinner which will screen on SKY Sport 1 and simulcast on Radio Sport and Newstalk ZB in December.

- ends -

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