The Laureus World Sports Awards were established in 1999 by Daimler AG and Richemont. The organisation's global partners are Mercedes-Benz, which is part of Daimler, and IWC Schaffhausen, which belongs to Richemont. Vodafone became a Laureus global partner in 2008.
The process for selecting the Laureus World Sports Awards winners is in two stages. First, a selection panel of leading sport editors, writers and broadcasters from more than 120 countries nominates six individuals (or teams) in each category. After that, the members of the Laureus World Sports Academy vote by secret ballot to select the winners. The Academy is made up of 46 legendary athletes from around the world and is chaired by former athletics great, Edwin Moses.
There are five categories voted on by the international panel and the Academy: Laureus World Sportsman of the Year, Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year, Laureus World Team of the Year, Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year and Laureus World Comeback of the Year.
Specialist panels select the winners in two additional categories: the Laureus World Alternative Sportsperson of the Year (chosen by a jury of the world's leading journalists for alternative sports) and the Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability (determined by the Executive Committee of the International Paralympic Committee).
There are two further honours bestowed by the Laureus founders and the Academy: the Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Laureus Sport for Good Award, which is presented to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to society.