The city of Edmonton has announced the end of its annual Izod IndyCar Series race after promoter Octane Motorsports "decided not to stage a race next year," according to Klinkenberg & Klingbeil of the EDMONTON JOURNAL. The Edmonton Indy had been "produced without a title sponsor the last two years," and Octane "relinquished its option for a third event in 2013." The company on Friday "filed a bankruptcy notice in the Superior Court of Quebec." The organization runs "successful Formula One and NASCAR races in Montreal as separate entities," but it cited "poor attendance and lukewarm response from the corporate community" for ending the event. The race had been held since '05, and it was "about to be removed from the IndyCar calendar in 2011 when Octane stepped in." City of Edmonton CFO Lorna Rosen said that the city had been "in discussions with the promoter over the last several days." Rosen: "I don't believe it was a sudden decision. ... Do I believe they gave it a fair chance over the last two years? Yes, I think they did" (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 9/22). In Edmonton, John MacKinnon writes the cancellation "came as no major shock.” IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard on the day of this year's race indicated that he “expected Octane to fulfill the third year of its contract.” But Bernard also acknowledged the lack of support from local sponsors. MacKinnon: “The reality with the Edmonton Indy was it was a competitive success and a first-rate show every year, but a financial basket case from the beginning” (EDMONTONJOURNAL.com, 9/22). The decision to end the Edmonton event leaves Toronto "as IndyCar's lone Canadian race” (AP, 9/21).
NOT SHUTTING THE DOOR: In Edmonton, Terry Jones wrote IndyCar "loves this event, having events in Canada and a race in the Pacific Northwest." There likely will be other promoters like Michael Andretti or Kevin Savoree who will "offer to promote and produce the race for the same money the city was paying Octane” (EDMONTON SUN, 9/22).
UFC 152 in Toronto on Saturday “raked in nearly $2 million" (all figures Canadian) in gate revenue from an attendance of 16,800, “down slightly from the 18,303 at UFC 140 in December,” according to Chris Doucette of the TORONTO SUN. UFC President Dana White said, “We love it here man. I’d do fights here every weekend if we could" (TORONTO SUN, 9/24). In a separate piece, Doucette wrote the fights “brought in yet another nearly full house” for “yet another successful event” (TORONTO SUN, 9/23). In Toronto, Daniel Girard wrote “while it’s clear that there’s lots of folks willing to shell out between $60 and $550 to see MMA, their numbers appear to be dwindling.” Inside Air Canada Centre, “swaths of seats, particularly in the upper bowl, were left empty.” But while the crowd was “not as plentiful” as at earlier UFC fights in Toronto, it was “no less knowledgeable, demanding or appreciative of what unfolded inside the octagon.” UFC Canada Operations Dir Tom Wright said of the empty seats, “I’m not disappointed.” Wright said that the 10 UFC events held in Canada “have been attended by more than 200,000 fans, with gate receipts topping $45 million and a ‘fabulous’ economic impact.” Wright: “You have to manage supply, of course. We’ve been here three times in about 16 months, so that’s had an impact. But I’m not worried about oversaturation.” Wright on Saturday said that the UFC “won’t be back to Toronto until September of next year and then September 2014.” Similar once-a-year visits are “planned for Montreal along with events in smaller Canadian cities such as Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Halifax” (TORONTO STAR, 9/23).
MIXED FEELINGS: In Toronto, Steve Simmons wrote, “It’s still not boxing for me -- I don’t identify with the fighters the same way -- but the cadence is completely different. It isn’t about one fight, one bout: It’s about one long night of violent entertainment. Up close, it almost got me. Almost grabbed me. Entertained me. I don’t love it but I don’t dislike it anymore” (TORONTO SUN, 9/23).
LET 'EM FIGHT: In Rochester, Leo Roth wrote MMA "was banned" in New York in '97, but the "sport has evolved over 15 years with rules and safety standards that didn’t exist then." Roth: "If lawmakers in the assembly who keep chokeholding legislation to legalize professional MMA in New York would realize this, the state can start enjoying the economic windfalls experienced in 48 other states." Amateur MMA "is OK in New York and it’s also OK to train as a mixed martial artist in any gym." Roth: "You can watch MMA on television almost any day of the week. It’s nonsensical, political and hypocritical" (ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE, 9/23).