SBD/November 14, 2012/Events and Attractions

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  • Broward County Officials Not Keen On IndyCar's $20M Request For Ft. Lauderdale Race

    IndyCar race in Ft. Lauderdale would require a budget of $10-15M

    A request for $20M in county tourist taxes for an IndyCar race in Ft. Lauderdale was “flatly rejected Tuesday by an otherwise enthusiastic Broward County Commission,” according to Brittany Wallman of the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL. Commissioners said that the “idea of a new signature event during a dry tourism period … sounds great,” but “not at that cost.” Broward County Mayor John Rodstrom said, "A $20 million request is so far out of the realm of possibility of anything we've ever considered before.” However, Wallman notes commissioners agreed to "move the proposal forward.” By “unanimous vote, they asked county staff to meet with the show promoters and come back with a request for less money.” It is “clear the county won't give” Andretti Sports Marketing President John Lopes the $20M spread over five years that he wanted. Lopes said that he is “not sure how low he can go and still put on a show." The event's budget each year is $10-15M, and "it won't turn a profit at first." Lopes: “If the number's zero there probably won't ever be a race here” (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 11/14).

    COMING ALONG
    : Lopes said that efforts to bring IndyCar to Ft. Lauderdale in ’13 remains a “work in progress but he’s encouraged by the show of support.” He said, “We’ve been working on this for a long time and we’re still in the due diligence phase of trying to determine if it’s something we can pull off.” SPEEDTV.com’s Robin Miller noted it was driver and Ft. Lauderdale resident Ryan Hunter-Reay’s “idea to bring the series back next to the Atlantic Ocean.” Lopes: “Absolutely, it all began with Ryan and it’s his vision. It’s a cool layout along highway A1A and if it happens it would be spectacular.” Miller noted the race “would also give IndyCar a 20th race in 2013 and hopefully shore up a big gap in the current schedule where there is no race from Sept. 1 (Baltimore) to Oct. 5 (Houston doubleheader).” The Ft. Lauderdale papers “speculated that it could be in October to coincide with the popular boat show.” Lopes said of a timeline for making a decision, “We could probably go as late as Christmas and still pull off a race next year but any later than that and we’re looking at 2014” (SPEEDTV.com, 11/13).

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  • LPGA Championship Returning To Rochester In '13, With Wegmans Back As Main Sponsor

    The long-term future of the LPGA Championship may hinge on sponsor help

    LPGA officials yesterday announced that the LPGA Championship will be played at Locust Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y., "for the fourth consecutive year" from June 3-9, 2013, with Wegmans back as the primary sponsor, according to James Johnson of the ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE. With Oak Hill Country Club hosting the PGA Championship in August, this marks the "first time the LPGA Championship and a men's major championship will be hosted by the same community in the same year." The LPGA's future in Rochester "had been in question" since the previous contract expired this year. Oak Hill Country Club will host the 95th PGA Championship Aug. 5-11. Rochester Business Alliance President & CEO Sandy Parker said that the “chance to host men’s and women’s golf tournaments of this importance in such a short time period is all but sure to be a big coup for the region.” LGPA Championship Tournament co-Chair Bill Strassburg said that a TV audience “of 100 million, spread over 150 countries, could view the majors and get a look at the region … based on current television coverage of golf.” Tournament co-Chair Jerry Stahl said, “I think there will be at least 40 hours of television coverage between the two events” in the U.S. Locust Hill has hosted an LPGA event “every year since 1977 and had hoped to announce an extension in July.” The timetable was “pushed back to October and negotiations continued until the announcement” yesterday. Costs for the tournament have “continued to increase since Wegmans became the primary sponsor" in '98. The long-term future of the tournament “may hinge on having additional or other sponsors step forward” (ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE, 11/14).

    MOUSE TRAPPED? Golf Channel's John Feinstein noted the PGA Tour Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic at Disney World was likely played for the last time last weekend after 42 years. Feinstein: "The Tour says it has no sponsor for next year, so sayonara Mickey Mouse. In the past, the Tour has kept the tournament going for a year or two with its own money until a sponsor can be found. Apparently, Disney doesn’t rate." Feinstein noted PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem "doesn't have to worry about lockouts or strikes," but he does have to concern himself with corporate sponsorships, which "these days come and go like the Disney World train." Feinstein: "He and his staff have done amazing work finding sponsors in recent years in a staggering economy. Can’t they produce one more miracle? Can’t they keep Mickey Mouse on tour? If not, he will surely be missed” (“Golf Central,” Golf Channel, 11/13).

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