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Volume 24 No. 117

Events and Attractions

NASCAR and Daytona Int'l Speedway officials said that holding the Daytona 500 “a week later is working out well and likely will continue for the foreseeable future,” according to Dinah Voyles Pulver of the Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL. There has been a “13-week break in racing action” from the season finale at Miami-Homestead Speedway to the Daytona 500 after the decision was made in '11 to "move the 500 back a week, extending the off-season by a week and closing an open race weekend in March, to condense the season a little at the request of its broadcast partner Fox Sports.” NASCAR Senior VP/Racing Operations Steve O'Donnell yesterday said, "We look at it on a year-by-year basis, but so far so good." Moving the 500 later in February “also avoided any potential conflicts” with the NFL, which had “discussed extending its season.” O'Donnell said that he has “read the NFL is still considering adding an additional playoff game.” He said, "Obviously that may affect where we used to run. We always look at what else may be going on from an entertainment standpoint." O’Donnell added NASCAR execs will leave the later race date in place after this season if "all the indicators are still positive" (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 2/12).

BNP Paribas Open CEO Raymond Moore said that the ATP World Tour BOD next week will "vote again on the prize money increase" for this year's tournament, but he is "pessimistic it will pass," according to Leighton Ginn of the Palm Springs DESERT SUN. The ATP voted in November not to approve an $800,000 prize increase for this year's edition of the tournament. Moore said, "It's bizarre to say the least." Moore: "We thought it was a slam dunk. The players approved it unanimously and the distribution formula we offered." Ginn noted three ATP player reps at the BOD meeting "voted for the raise, while the three tournament representatives voted against it." ATP Exec Chair & President Brad Drewett could have "cast the deciding vote, but elected to abstain." The WTA Tour had already approved the increase, but if the ATP does not vote for approval, the WTA's increase "won't happen, because the BNP Paribas Open's sanction is based on equal prize money." Moore added that the tournament will revert to prize money allocations from '11, "resulting in a sizable pay cut for the players on tour." Moore: "There’s an inherent conflict of interest with the tournament directors. It’s the tournament directors who are blocking it. Why would they want to block it? They want to put the muzzle or the bridle on Indian Wells or the BNP Paribas Open, so we don’t outdistance the tournaments around the world. I can’t think of another reason to block it” (Palm Springs DESERT SUN, 2/10). Meanwhile, Emirates Airlines announced last week it is extending its sponsorship of the BNP Paribas Open through '15. The airline again will host the hospitality area entitled the Emirates' Garden Club (Emirates).

WAKE & SEE APPROACH: In North Carolina, Owen Covington reported the ATP Winston-Salem Open, which is part of the Emirates U.S. Open Series, will "feature a new center tennis stadium for this year's tournament." The change is "expected to provide less crowded seating areas while bringing more fans closer to the court." A temporary 4,300-seat stadium will "encircle center court adjacent to Wake Forest University's BB&T Field." It is "another step toward eventually building a permanent tennis stadium at the site." Tournament Dir Bill Oakes said that "permanent stadiums comparable to what is expected in Winston-Salem" cost $15-25M. Oakes said, "That is still our plan, but the good part is we think in the short term that we've found a really good solution." Covington noted that "solution" was from Switzerland-based stadium construction firm Nussli. After Oakes visited Nussli HQs last month, the Winston-Salem event "signed a multiyear, long-term lease" for the temporary stadium. WFU Associate AD Mike Buddie said that the university is not "actively pursuing plans to fund a permanent stadium." Covington notes with the event on WFU's property, some agreement with the university would be "necessary for the stadium to be built there" (TRIAD BUSINESS JOURNAL, 2/8 issue).

S.F. will host the America’s Cup in six months and fundraising efforts to cover the estimated $31-34M cost for "police, cleanup, transportation and other expenses have pretty much hit the wall" at $14M, according to Matier & Ross of the S.F. CHRONICLE. Originally pitched as “a competition between as many as 12 international teams, the race is now down to three entries.” The shrinking size of the event “has helped reduce costs, but it also substantially cut into corporate interest in sponsorships," which city officials thought would bring in $300M. S.F. Recreation & Park Commission President Mark Buell and his group have raised $9M from local donors and another $5M from the race organizers in the "form of a loan that may not have to be repaid.” But those sources are now “about tapped out.” Consequently, S.F. Mayor Ed Lee has “personally taken up the drive to raise money.” Lee is “enlisting help" from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and S.F. Board of Supervisors President David Chiu (S.F. CHRONICLE, 2/10). S.F. Communications & Public Affairs Dir Christine Falvey yesterday said that Lee has “recently stepped up his own efforts to meet personally with chief executives of prominent companies based in San Francisco in an effort to meet the goals” (AP, 2/11).