KUALA LAMPUR, Malaysia, February 6. ONE of the most prestigious sport awards ceremonies is moving from South America to southeast Asia next month, as Brazil pulls out of hosting duties for the Laureus World Sports Awards.
The gala will now be held in Kuala Lampur, the capital city of the island country of Malaysia, on March 26. It’ll mark the first time the ceremony will be held in Asia. In the nine of the past 13 editions since the debut in 2000, the event was held in Europe. The United Arab Emirates hosted the gala in 2010 and 2011. The event was canceled in 2009 due to the world economic crisis.
General backlash against the use of public funds to produce the lavish awards gala in Rio de Janeiro caused the South American country to decline the honor of hosting what is generally known as the Oscars of sports awards. According to an article in Malaysia’s Star newspaper, the event is expected to cost $12 million. The outcry is surprising, given that Rio was the event’s host in 2013, and received widespread acclaim for the event. Brazil is already filled to the brim with other sports hosting duties, including this year’s FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Nominees for this year’s award are expected to be announced in the coming days. Last year, track stars Usain Bolt and Jessica Ennis were voted Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year, respectively, over Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin.
Watch the “trailer” for the event below, featuring highlights from past events.