It's been long expected within baseball circles that the Mets and Citi Field will be awarded the '13 MLB All-Star Game, and Commissioner Bud Selig gave perhaps his strongest indication yet that will happen. "I'd say their chances look pretty good," Selig said regarding the Mets and the '13 All-Star Game, smiling broadly (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal). On Long Island, Ken Davidoff notes next year's All-Star Game will be at Kauffman Stadium, and after the presumed Citi Field event in '13, the '14 game "is expected to be at Target Field." Future host candidates after '14 include Nationals Park, the new Marlins ballpark, Great American Ball Park and Petco Park (NEWSDAY, 7/13). In Minneapolis, La Velle Neal III notes the Twins are "eyeing the 2014 All-Star Game for Target Field and remain in contact with the league." It appears the Twins "have a good shot to land the event that year." Even though '14 would be an AL team's turn to host the event, the Cubs "have expressed interest in being host of the 2014 game because it will be the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 7/13).
CHANGE WILL DO YOU GOOD: In Phoenix, Paola Boivin writes the festivities surrounding this year's All-Star Game at Chase Field "were fun but flawed." Boivin presents "some ways to put the class back in Classic, the Midsummer version." MLB should "shorten the Home Run Derby," which lasted more than three hours on Monday night, and should "consider moving the All-Star Game to Wednesday." Also, "don't allow home-field advantage for the World Series to be at stake anymore." Boivin adds, "Find a way to encourage All-Star selections to show up. ... Don't let story lines like realignment become a distraction" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 7/13). In Miami, Greg Cote writes sports "should continue to name all-stars, though following a season, not in its midst." Cote: "You knew the baseball All-Star Game was in trouble when they introduced the bells and whistles such as, beginning in 1985, the Home Run Derby. ... The Home Run Derby is to baseball what the kazoo is to music. That the fading Midsummer Classic would festoon itself thusly is fitting. Only by comparison does baseball’s all-star presentation not sag completely" (MIAMI HERALD, 7/13).
MLS “hopes to increase its appeal” through its teams' participation in the Herbalife World Football Challenge, a collection of 13 games that kicks off tonight, according to Jack Bell of the N.Y. TIMES. Many of the matches “enable North American fans to see their local clubs … play some of the best in the world.” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said, “A number of things have changed, beginning with the credibility of MLS. In the past, the superclubs came to the U.S. just to build their brands and expand their global footprints, and in many ways exploit their soccer opportunities in the U.S. Now that the league has become better connected to the world, the clubs are coming not only to build their brands, but they are contributing to building the sport in the U.S.” The "top teams in the tournament," including Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona, will earn $1-2M a game. Clubs like Manchester City and Juventus “are due to receive up to” $1M, while the other international teams will “make $200,000 to $300,000 for each game.” CAA is “working with the marketing arm of Major League Soccer, Soccer United Marketing, to put on” the event. CAA’s Charlie Stillitano said, “It’s a combination of training and environment that is really second to none. The smarter clubs realize the facilities are excellent. Juventus looked at the Eagles’ facility and were blown away” (N.Y. TIMES, 7/12). All the matches in the World Football Challenge are listed below.
L.A. Memorial Coliseum
Club America-Manchester City
CD Guadalajara-Real Madrid
Lincoln Financial Field
Juventus-Sporting Club de Portugal
The Home Depot Center
FC Barcelona-Manchester United
FC Barcelona-CD Guadalajara
Sun Life Stadium
FC Barcelona-Club America
CARMAGEDDON:In L.A., Nick Green noted the MLS Galaxy will “hold what is potentially one of the year's biggest local games” this weekend when Southern California transportation officials are “ominously warning of the potential for region-wide gridlock when 10 miles of the San Diego (405) Freeway shuts down Friday night for an unprecedented 53-hour closure.” Real Madrid plays the Galaxy as part of the World Football Challenge at the 93,000-seat Memorial Coliseum on Saturday “in a high-profile friendly that was scheduled before the freeway closure was announced.” The game “will send tens of thousands of soccer fans onto already clogged freeways.” Green noted as of Monday about 40,000 tickets have been sold and Galaxy officials are “hoping for a crowd in the 70,000-plus range despite the potential for traffic chaos.” Real Madrid also played in L.A. last year, and Galaxy President of Business Operations Tom Payne said, "We could be doing better (at the box office) and I do think the car scare has something to do with it. I do think them being here two years in a row has something to do with it.” Meanwhile, organizers said ticket sales are "lagging" for the July 20 CD Guadalajara-Real Madrid World Football Challenge match at Qualcomm Stadium (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 7/12).