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SBD/November 5, 2013/Events and AttractionsPrint All
Tennis players Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal yesterday "called for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals to be moved from London," according to Simon Briggs of the London TELEGRAPH. Neither man was "criticising this event," but both "have their own reasons for calling for change." Nadal "dislikes playing under a roof," while Djokovic argued that the event "should be used to promote the game more globally." Djokovic said, "I still think the global potential has not been used. Not even close." Briggs notes the World Tour Finals is the only tournament that the ATP owns, "rather than licensing out to local operators." So the fact that Tournament Managing Dir Chris Kermode has "made it highly profitable will surely be a key point when the contract comes up for renegotiation next year." The existing deal expires at the end of '15, and there "has been interest" from Rio, N.Y. and the Far East "in taking over" (London TELEGRAPH, 11/5). Djokovic said, "I think it should not be held in one city for more than three years. That's my opinion because this is the tournament of the eight best players in the world and this is the tournament which is not fixed for one city or one country. It is in the ATP's hands. I know various players share the same opinion because of the promotion of tennis, popularising the sport in a place where maybe tennis isn't as popular. If we are looking to expand the consciousness about our sport, then we should look into that." REUTERS' Martyn Herman noted London initially was "given the event for four years" starting in '09 when it was renamed the ATP World Tour Finals. But it will stay in the city through '15 because its staging at the O2 Arena has been "so successful" in terms of crowds and revenue (REUTERS, 11/4).
IF IT AIN'T BROKE...: Barclays ATP World Tour Finals Tournament Dir Andre Silva said staying in the U.K. past '15 is "definitely" a possibility. He added, "The tournament is a very important part of the business of the ATP. More important than exposing everyone around the world to it is making sure it's healthy and not an experiment." Tennis player Roger Federer said, "I must agree with Andre in many ways because I think it's important that this event is played in a place that knows tennis. I think it's good sometimes to play Shanghai, or maybe Lisbon or Sydney for a year, but I think it's not long enough in one place to put its roots down." He added, "If the numbers make sense, if the excitement of everybody involved makes sense, I think we should keep it here." Former ATP Properties CEO Richard Davies said that London was "'twice as successful' in monetary value for the ruling body than other host cities" (CNN.com, 11/4). In London, Neil Harman writes moving the event "makes no sense, not least for those Europeans who dominate the present rankings." A record 263,000 people attended the event last year, and as of last night 255,000 had "already guaranteed their attendance this year" (LONDON TIMES, 11/5).The BBC's Russell Fuller writes the tournament has "embraced an atmospheric and futuristic home" in the O2 Arena. The elements "conspire against outdoor events in tennis's key markets in November." London does "a remarkable job in selling 17,500 seats for a large majority of the sessions." Tennis player Tomas Berdych said that entering the arena is "on a par with walking onto Wimbledon's Centre Court" (BBC.co.uk, 11/5). CNN.com's Will Edmonds wrote as a tennis fan, "nothing compares" to the tournament. Every resource is "used to create a rock concert atmosphere, with great music, pyrotechnics and lasers aplenty" (CNN.com, 11/4).
CUP RUNNETH OVER: A USTA official yesterday confirmed that Petco Park "will host a first-round Davis Cup match" between the U.S. and Great Britain from Jan. 31-Feb. 2. In San Diego, Don Norcross cites a USTA source as saying that the organization "will play the match on slow, red clay." The court is "expected to be laid out from left field to center field with temporary seats brought in opposite the left-field bleachers." San Diego last hosted a Davis Cup match in February '06 at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 11/5).
The '14 USA Pro Challenge "will have a true mountaintop stage finish for the first time in the history of the race," as Stage 3 finishes atop Monarch Mountain, according to Stephen Meyers of the COLORADOAN. Many American riders and fans have "long sought a true mountaintop finish" for the Aug. 18-24 race. The seven-stage race "again starts in Aspen, with a circuit race, like this year’s edition." Stage 2 is "from Aspen to Crested Butte," while Colorado Springs "hosts a circuit race in Stage 4." Woodland Park "makes its debut as a host city in Stage 5, with cyclists riding to Breckenridge," while Vail "hosts the classic individual time trial in Stage 6." In a "first for the race, fans will be able to vote on several route possibilities for the race’s final stage at www.prochallenge.com/PickStage7" (COLORADOAN, 11/5). USA Pro Challenge CEO & Chair Shawn Hunter said that the event "historically puts out a request to all interested cities across the state." As many as 30 cities in years past "have put in applications to host either a start or finish stage." But he said that this year, because the event "stays in close contact with cities on a year-round basis, organizers sat down directly with cities that had expressed interest in 2014 and were a good match for the potential routes." Hunter said, “The process saved us time and money. We were able to get to a 2014 host city roster 45 days sooner than in years past. I feel like this is the best lineup of cities in the race’s history.” Hunter said that the "majority of investment comes from the race itself; they spend" about $10M every year to produce the event. Hunter said that the Pro Challenge "recoups a lot of that money through sponsorships." The event "assists with finding local sponsors and fundraising to help recover out-of-pocket expenses" (SUMMIT DAILY NEWS, 11/5).
FORCED OUT: In Colorado, Craig Young reported flooding in September has "forced Northern Colorado to skip a bid for next year's USA Pro Cycling Challenge." Local organizing committee Chair Bob Herrfeldt said, "We were pretty set on putting another bid in. But the month of September was pretty rough." Herrfeldt said that with "so much energy going into flood recovery, the local organizers didn't believe they could justify the amount of time and money it would take to put together a bid, which is due in early November" (Loveland REPORTER-HERALD, 11/1).