Liverpool’s Echo Arena will host this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards in December.

The BBC announced that the ceremony on Sunday, December 17 would be returning to Merseyside for the first time since 2008, when the Echo Arena hosted the event shortly after opening.

The Sports Personality of the Year award, the awards’ most prestigious accolade, was first awarded in 1954 and heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua is currently the favourite to win the 2017 edition.

Liverpool has already unveiled its plans to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, with the decision on whether the city is successful likely to be made before the end of the year, while this week’s Open is taking place in Merseyside at Royal Birkdale.

“We’re honoured and excited to be rolling out the red carpet for BBC Sports Personality of the Year in Liverpool,” said Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson.

“We’re a city full of passionate sports fans and we’re renowned the world over for our hospitality, so we cannot wait to welcome the BBC in December.”

Director of BBC Sport Barbara Slater added: “2017 marks a very exciting year of sport. From England winning the Six Nations to Chelsea winning the Premier League, Arsenal scooping the FA Cup at Wembley Stadium to Anthony Joshua’s nail-biting knock out fight against Wladimir Klitschko.

“With plenty more highlights still to come we’re going to be spoiled for choice and the nominee list will once again be genuinely difficult to pull together.”

Andy Murray has won the Sports Personality of the Year award in three of the previous four years, though looks unlikely to retain it after an injury-plagued campaign.

Joshua is the overwhelming favourite to succeed Murray following his thrilling victory over Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley in April, and he would be the first boxer to win the award since Joe Calzaghe scooped the top prize in 2007.

Recently recalled England striker Jermain Defoe, middle-distance runner Laura Muir and 2014 winner Lewis Hamilton are among those behind Joshua in the betting.