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Volume 24 No. 114

Events and Attractions

Qatar is “refusing to say whether it will sell alcohol at stadiums during the 2022 World Cup,” with Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee General Secretary Hassan al-Thawadi yesterday saying that he “didn’t see the reason for selling it at matches,” according to Michael Casey of the AP. Qatar “doesn’t sell alcohol currently at soccer matches.” al-Thawadi added, “That is something we are discussing with FIFA...Let’s discuss this with relevant stakeholders and come up with a plan that welcomes everyone.” FIFA has said that it will “sharply defend the commercial rights of all its sponsors -- among them brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev, the maker of Budweiser, which has extended its sponsorship of the World Cup through the 2018 edition in Russia and the 2022 event in Qatar” (AP, 3/14).

The Aspen City Council and Aspen Chamber Resort Association have agreed to "pitch in $275,000 annually over the next two years toward Aspen Skiing Co.'s overall cash incentive to ESPN in an effort to keep the Winter X Games," according to Andre Salvail of the ASPEN TIMES. Of the $275,000 figure, the city will contribute $125,000, which is $25,000 "more than its previous annual commitment." Officials yesterday confirmed that the chamber's share will be $150,000. Aspen Skiing Co. VP/Sales & Events John Rigney said that representatives are in the process of "finalizing the company's bid and will meet with ESPN officials over the coming weeks with the goal of reaching an agreement." Whistler, British Columbia, also is bidding to host the Winter X games, which Aspen has hosted since '02. Aspen's most recent deal with ESPN "expired after this year's games." Rigney said, "TV ratings were through the roof, even this year, up 35 percent year over year. So the trajectory of this brand is still on the rise." He added that the X Games are an "economic anchor for Aspen every January and have become part of the community's identity." Rigney "asked council members for a minimum two-year commitment, but suggested the possibility of working out a three-year deal with the sports network" (ASPEN TIMES, 3/14).