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Volume 24 No. 156

Events and Attractions

N.Y. Road Runners President & CEO Mary Wittenberg said that the ING N.Y. Marathon population "will only continue to increase, and she foresees a day when the marathon may expand to a two-day event that accepts as many as 100,000 applicants," according to Filip Bondy of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. The race, which began in '70 with 127 runners, will set a "record on Sunday in the 47,000-runner range." Wittenberg said, "We could run on Saturday and Sunday. The demand is there. When I started, there was a feeling that the marathon absolutely can’t grow anymore. But I don’t think growth is capped. People desperately want to run this race." Bondy noted should the marathon expand to two days, "same-gender, elite runners would still all race on the same day, so that different weather conditions did not skew results." Logistics and safety "are always concerns, yet marathon organizers are convinced they’ve conquered most of the problems that limited participation in the past." The race now "has three separate, staggered starts, two waves on the upper deck" of Verrazano Bridge and one on the lower. Wittenberg said, "It’s like three races of 16,000 each." Nearly half the runners "are transported to the start by the Staten Island ferry, instead of requiring buses or private transportation, creating traffic and people jams." But Wittenberg said that the "number of complaints she receives from runners, on all matters, has decreased sharply over the past few years" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/3). 

COMPETITOR IN ITS MIDST: SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Fred Dreier notes Competitor Group, which runs the Rock 'n' Roll Series long distance running events, "has its sights squarely on New York City, as it plans to expand the Brooklyn 10K into a half marathon within two years, with the long-term goal of holding a major full-length Rock ’n’ Roll marathon in the borough." Falconhead Capital Chair & CEO David Moross, whose company owns Competitor, said, "We believe a second New York City marathon is absolutely achievable." Moross "declined to give a time frame for holding a marathon." Dreier notes with "deep political connections, NYRR is revered for its sizable contributions to charity." But Moross and others within the running business believe that NYRR "holds a monopoly within New York City." Wittenberg "does not support an additional marathon in the city." She said that the addition "could dilute the economic and charitable impact of the ING marathon." She also "believes that NYRR’s altruistic motivation separates it from Competitor" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 10/31 issue).

IndyCar joined Baltimore city officials Thursday in "demanding change at the financially embattled company that runs the Baltimore Grand Prix, characterizing it as disorganized and calling for a restructuring as it addresses unpaid debt," according to Luke Broadwater of the Baltimore SUN. Baltimore Racing Development has been "sued by a number of vendors and lenders alleging that the organizers have nearly $1.6 million in unpaid bills." Revelations about the extent of BRD's debt "have raised doubts about the company's ability to deliver on promises to bring the race back to the city next year, and have prompted calls for the company to right its finances and make internal improvements." IndyCar Series Commercial Division President Terry Angstadt "expressed confidence Thursday that Baltimore Racing Development would be able to put on the Grand Prix again." He said that the company "needs to be restructured but added that he knows changes are forthcoming, if not public yet." BRD COO Pete Collier said that Jay Davidson "would stay on as CEO but that his duties may change." Angstadt said, "I don't want to suggest this is a rose garden. I'm pretty optimistic they're going to right their ship and we're going to have a race there next year." BRD officials have "long said they never expected to turn a profit in their first year." Collier said this week that the company "has received bills from 210 contractors involved with the race and paid back a 'pretty fair percentage' of them." He "vowed to make good on missed payments" (Baltimore SUN, 11/4).

The Amgen Tour of California will return next year with the eight-day cycling race beginning May 13 in Santa Rosa and ending May 20 in downtown L.A., according to Elliott Almond of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. Now that AEG, the event's owner, “has named the 13 host cities, it will create a 750-mile course over the next two months.” San Jose is “the only city to have played a role in every tour since the inception of the event” in ‘06. In a departure from the past, “the city is not helping pay for the event.” Some cities, “including Claremont, Lompoc, Solvang and Thousand Oaks, that have participated in previous races decided against bidding for the 2012 race because of strained finances.” The Silicon Valley Leadership Group and the San Jose Sports Authority “will cover the costs estimated to range from $150,000 to $200,000.” Santa Cruz organizers also are doing it “without public moneys at a time local governments are cash starved because of the weak economy” (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 11/4). In Sacramento, Kasler & Kawahara in a front-page piece note the city "was left off the route map" for the cycling event. AEG said that Sacramento "has been a prime location and is certain to return to the route in the future." It is being "skipped for 2012  because AEG wants to get different cities involved." Sacramento Sports Commission Exec Dir John McCasey said that AEG officials "have indicated the city could get back on the map" in '13 (SACRAMENTO BEE, 11/4). In Santa Rosa, Bob Padecky notes the race is “a work under construction, as is evidenced by this fact: 31 California cities have either hosted the start or the finish of the race in the Tour’s first six years.” Two new ones -- Ontario and Sonoro -- “made the roster” for ’12. Padecky: “Make a bet that not all of the 13 Host Cities in 2012 will return" for '13 (Santa Rosa PRESS DEMOCRAT, 11/4).

Santa Rosa
S.F., Santa Cruz County
San Jose, Livermore
Sonora, Clovis
Palmdale, Big Bear Lake
Ontario, Mt. Baldy