Several years ago, sports publishers made it clear that they felt there was scope for a broader spread of awards over and above the single prize for sports writing which was successfully pioneered in 1987 by the William Hill organisation. An additional sports book awards event that increased the publicity and profile of the best of sports writing could only be a good thing.

The most important ingredients, to guarantee success, would be the support of the main players in the sports publishing industry, a respected and authoritative panel of independent judges, a level of commercial sponsorship that would guarantee competent administration and an impressive awards ceremony. At the outset support was forthcoming from Ladbrokes, Virgin Publishing, Butler and Tanner and WH Smith and new sponsors have been recently built the profile of the Awards further. Sky Sports, The Times, Littlehampton Book Services, Getty Images and the Savoy Hotel are now valuable supporters.

The judges are a combination of successful sports writers and broadcasters, retailers and enthusiasts. They work hard to read and review their books and the winning selections are often the subject of lively debate. We are indebted to them.

David H Willis
Founder and Chairman British Sports Book Awards