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Jeff Belskus (c) Believes IndyCar Series Likely
Will Be Financially Self-Sustaining Next Season
IRL CEO Randy Bernard and IMS President & CEO Jeff Belskus indicated that the IndyCar Series is "about to break even, or ... make a profit for the first time," according to Anthony Schoettle of the INDIANAPOLIS BUSINESS JOURNAL. Bernard and Belskus said that the series is "likely to be financially self-sustaining next season." Belskus has "always been cautious, conservative, and measured in what he says." Schoettle: "When he backs up Bernard 100 percent on the IndyCar Series likely being break even or in the black next year, I sit up and take notice." Although the Indianapolis 500 "isn't quite the cash cow it used to be," it is "still the land of milk and honey when it comes to the IndyCar Series." With corporate suites "sold out for Carb Day and nearly sold out for race day and a crowd of near 300,000 expected" for Sunday's race, there is "reason for optimism" (IBJ.com, 5/26).
TURF WARS: Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage indicated that he "would not consider the announced addition of Austin to the 2012 Formula One schedule as 'an invasion'" of SMI's Texas territory. However, RACINTODAY.com's John Sturbin noted F1's plans "do not mean Gossage is operating an 'open-door' policy" regarding TMS' partnership with the IndyCar Series "concerning the rumored addition of a street-race in Houston to a future Izod IndyCar Series schedule." Gossage said, "There's been some discussion about it, but it would be problematic." He added, "There's a difference between running an F1 race in Texas and another IndyCar race in Texas. We contend this is our turf for NASCAR and IndyCar, and if they (IndyCar management) want to put in jeopardy their most successful race outside of Indianapolis, that (a Houston event) would sure do it." Gossage said that he "did not anticipate discussing that specific issue with Randy Bernard." Gossage: "I don't see any reason that we would have a discussion because they know our position" (RACINTODAY.com, 5/27). Meanwhile, in Houston, Russ Goodall reports officials for Mi-Jack Promotions, which is leading efforts to land an IndyCar race in Houston, "are not worried" about Austin landing an F1 event. Mi-Jack Promotions Dir of Sales & Marketing Austin Crossley: "Texas is a huge market and is certainly big enough to support more than one open-wheel race" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 5/28).
Proposal Calls For Designating Certain Tour
Events That Top Players Must Attend
The PGA Tour's Player Advisory Council will meet Tuesday, and "among the items that will be discussed is a way to get the Tour's top stars to play more often, and in events that have struggled recently to attract big names," according to Sean Martin of GOLFWEEK. The call for players to play more PGA Tour events "has grown louder because the Tour is facing two difficult tasks." The tour "must renew sponsorship and/or gain new sponsors during a recession," and its contract with NBC and CBS expires in '12. The fact that the Tour is "introducing this proposal to the PAC would seem to signify that it recognizes the need for increased player participation." Golfer and PAC member Paul Goydos said, "The hard thing is figuring out how to do it without pushing too hard. We are independent contractors. That's a difficult problem to get around." The concept that will be presented at the PAC meeting is called "Designated Tournaments," and Goydos said that it "would involve designating a handful of events each year and mandating that top players play in at least one of those targeted events." The "designated" events "would change each year." Among the logistics that "would need to be determined before this idea becomes policy are how many, and which, events would be 'designated' each year and which players must play in them." Goydos: "It'd be tough to even get it implemented for '11, but it's a starting point of a conversation" (GOLFWEEK.com, 5/27).
The ATP Friday told a federal court that the Supreme Court’s American Needle decision does not affect the men’s tennis group’s earlier antitrust victory. The ATP won an antitrust challenge in ‘08 brought by one of its tournaments, but the event, owned by the German Tennis Federation, appealed to the Third Circuit. Earlier this week, GTF’s lawyer told the 3rd Circuit the American Needle decision now required that the case be returned to district court. The Supreme Court ruled that the NFL was not a single business, and that cap manufacture America Needle could sue the league. The NFL had argued it was immune under antitrust because it was in effect a single business. The ATP similarly argued it was akin to single entity in its defense, and indeed filed a friend of the court brief on behalf of the NFL in the American Needle case. But the ATP’s lawyer, Brad Ruskin of Proskauer Rose, wrote Friday that American Needle did not mean the GTF case should be revived because the federation lost a jury trial, whereas American Needle’s lawsuit had been dismissed on summary judgment at the district and appeals court levels. Ruskin also maintained that the GTF had failed to prove antitrust injury. A decision from the appeals court is expected next month.