Published Friday, 19 October 2012
Bradley Wiggins is an early favourite to win this year's SPOTY award. (© Getty)
The BBC has confirmed that a new expert panel has been established to narrow down a list of at least 50 sports stars who could be in with a shot at picking up the coveted award.
The winner of the individual award will be chosen from the finalists by public vote, while it will fall to the panel to choose the team and coach of the year recipients and the overseas award winner.
Despite the controversy surrounding cycling, Bradley Wiggins is the current bookies' favourite to pick up the SPOTY prize off the back of his Tour de France and Olympics triumphs.
Northern Ireland golfer Rory McIlroy is considered a rank outsider, despite being the current world number one and counting a record win in the US PGA Championship among his recent victories.
His Ryder Cup teammate Ian Poulter could be put forward as a nominee after his inspirational performance which powered Team Europe to an unlikely, yet resounding comeback.
This year's contest for the coveted title will be one of the most hotly contested in the show's history.
But Olympians dominate the nominee speculation, with Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis both strong contenders for the title.
Last year, there was controversy when no women were included among the nominees.
The 2012 panel will be chaired by the BBC's director of sport Barbara Slater.
It will include Sir Steve Redgrave, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and Denise Lewis, presenter Eleanor Oldroyd, and UK Sport chair Baroness Sue Campbell.
Three newspaper sports editors will also be rotated annually, with the Sun, Daily Mail and Observer taking spots on the panel this year.
The 12-strong shortlist will be revealed on Monday 26 November, with the awards presented at a ceremony on Sunday 16 December.
Check out our gallery of potential nominees and have your say on who you'd like to see winning Sports Personality of the Year 2012.
© UTV News