SBD Global/January 11, 2017/Events and Attractions

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  • Maria Sharapova To Make Comeback At Porsche Grand Prix In Stuttgart In April

    Maria Sharapova will make her professional tennis "comeback following her doping ban" at the Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart in April, according to the London TELEGRAPH. The former world No. 1 "is serving a 15-month ban after testing positive for cardiac drug meldonium last January and is eligible to compete again on April 26." The Stuttgart tournament "is an obvious comeback event given Porsche is one of her main sponsors, but it had been thought she would not be able to play because it starts two days before her suspension runs out." Sharapova "will not be allowed to attend the tournament until" Wednesday, the day of her first match. She said, "I could not be happier to have my first match back on tour at one of my favorite tournaments. I can't wait to see all my great fans and to be back doing what I love." Sharapova will "return to tennis without a ranking and needs a wild card to enter the tournament." Whether to invite "one of the game's biggest stars will be a big decision for many events in the initial months of her comeback." A WTA spokesperson confirmed Sharapova's eligibility, saying, "Maria has been offered and accepted a wild card to play at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart" (TELEGRAPH, 1/10).

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  • RFU Defends Increased Ticket Prices For England's Home Six Nations Matches

    The Rugby Football Union was "forced to defend a hike in the cost of watching England play at home on Monday, amid an overhaul of the pricing structure for Tests at Twickenham," according to Chris Foy of the London DAILY MAIL. When England Manager Eddie Jones and his team face France in their opening game of the Six Nations, top tickets will cost £130 ($158) each -- a "sharp increase" from £106 ($128.91) for the same fixture in '15. For a family of four to watch the game from the best seats, it will cost a total of £520 ($632.37). The price hike "is part of a revised ticketing system, with matches now placed in different tiers based on the opposition." England's games against Wales, Ireland, France and New Zealand are reportedly in the top tier, with Australia, South Africa and Scotland in the second tier. Argentina is below that, "while encounters with the Pacific Island sides are cheaper still." There are now seven different categories of prices for each match, "as opposed to three under the old structure." The RFU has confirmed that ticket prices for England's clash with France on Feb. 4 range from £41-£130 ($49.86-$158). The RFU suggests that income from this season "will rise more or less in line with inflation" and insists that top-end price increases have been implemented "in order to freeze the cost of more affordable seats" (DAILY MAIL, 1/9).

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  • Event Notes: HCA, 21st Century Agree To Deal For India-Bangladesh Test Rights

    The Hyderabad Cricket Association is "all set to sign" a 1.6 crore ($241,000) agreement with 21st Century for "in-stadia rights" for the India-Bangladesh test at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium next month. HCA Secretary K. John Manoj said that "there was no question of backing out from hosting the Test." Manoj: "Let me reiterate that even if we don't get the Board of Control for Cricket in India funds we are not going to back out. We deem it a prestigious event as it happens to be Bangladesh's first-ever Test in India" (THE HINDU, 1/10).

    Sydney's Moore Park will "undergo its biggest combined sporting events in history when it hosts expected sellouts" in Saturday night's A-League and Big Bash League derbies. Around 80,000 fans are "expected to converge on the precinct" in what will be a "battle of the hearts, minds," money and patience of the city's sporting public. Three days before the Sydney Sixers' "clash with cross-town rivals the Thunder" at the Sydney Cricket Ground, tickets were already "exhausted" for the 44,000-capacity venue (STUFF, 1/10).

    Jeff Horn is "likely to get the go-ahead for a Suncorp Stadium bout" against Manny Pacquiao that will be "the most expensive ever staged in Australia." As Pacquiao's promoter Bob Arum sat down with Horn's backer Dean Lonergan in Las Vegas to "thrash out the deal," Arum declared that as far as Pacquiao's next fight was concerned, "Right now, we are only looking at Australia" (Brisbane COURIER-MAIL, 1/10).

    Australian tennis player Brandon Walkin was "granted a potentially lucrative wildcard entry into a Canberra tournament by the nation's ruling tennis body, despite the player being the subject of an ongoing probe by the sport's global anti-corruption unit." The decision by Tennis Australia to award Walkin a wild card in the days leading up to this week's A$101,000 ($74,400) Canberra Int'l has "stunned rival players" and raised further concerns about the "scourge" of match-fixing. He is the fourth Australian player to be "linked to match-­fixing" in the past week, with the sport's "vulnerability to corruption exposed" days before the Australian Open, as it was a year ago (THE AUSTRALIAN, 1/11).

    The FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup 2017 will take place in Shenzhen, China, from Nov. 24-26. Private promoter SunsSports will stage the second edition of the 3x3 competition for national teams in Asia. The inaugural edition was held in Doha, Qatar, on May 15-16, 2013 (FIBA).

    Indian officials are "in discussions with FIA World Rally Championship" organizers to host a round in the country by '19. Asia-Pacific Rally Championship Working Group President Vicky Chandhok has confirmed that "talks are being held with WRC" Managing Dir Oliver Ciesla over a "possible round in India" (MOTORSPORT, 1/10).

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