Registration issues for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon have forced the "postponement of online registration" for the "second year in a row," according to Dale Bowman of the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. Registration was scheduled to start yesterday but was "postponed two weeks until March 19." Race officials said the delay was made in order to "finalize a routine yet comprehensive assessment of our new registration process." The system last year "crashed shortly after the start of registration and race officials were forced to go to a lottery to complete registration." Race officials this year "went to a new system and had a new company handling registration" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 3/6). Chicago Marathon Exec Dir Carey Pinkowski yesterday in an e-mail wrote the postponement "is 100 (percent) precautionary." He later "apologized for the delay," adding that he "understood the problems create negative publicity" for Bank of America. Pinkowski wrote of the registration issues, "This isn't a Bank of America function, this is an event-specific function" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 3/6).
Events and Attractions
This year will mark the first time the Big Ten men's basketball tournament has "ever been sold out in the nine years that it's been held in Indianapolis," according to Anthony Schoettle of the INDIANAPOLIS BUSINESS JOURNAL. Conference officials recently said that more than 109,000 tickets have been sold, which "tops the previous high -- in 2012 -- of 107,737." Last year marked the "first time the tournament sold out" in Chicago. Big Ten Associate Commissioner of Men's Basketball Rick Boyages "credits the increased ticket demand to improved television deals the conference has with CBS and ESPN along with the growth of the Big Ten Network." Boyages also thinks "parity within the conference this year has a lot of fans thinking their teams could do well in the tournament." Schoettle writes the addition of Rutgers and Maryland to the conference next year "is only going to push demand for the tournament higher," which is "good news for ticket brokers." Boyages said that there is currently "no thought to moving the tournament to bigger venues such as Lucas Oil Stadium." But Big Ten officials are "ever eager to take advantage of an economic opportunity," and will "keep a close eye on ticket demand." The United Center will host next season's tournament, but Schoettle wrote, "After 2016, I wouldn't be surprised to see a bidding war for the tournament erupt" (IBJ.com, 3/5).
CHARMED LIFE: In Baltimore, Jeff Barker writes the CAA tournament, which begins tomorrow, provides a "test of whether Baltimore's well-known history and affection for basketball will translate into support for a transitioning conference that had long been oriented toward more southern states." The tournament is "committed to Baltimore for three years," and conference officials said that they "expect to decide after next year's event whether to extend the relationship" beyond '16. Baltimore Arena has "new backboards, a newly refinished floor and a corporate hospitality area in which several hundred sponsors and other VIPs can mingle on a stage overlooking the court." The CAA said that the tournament "was drawing more than 40,000 attendees in its last seasons" in the Richmond Coliseum, and ticket sales "have been running about 15 percent ahead of last year's pace" (Baltimore SUN, 3/6).
THE BIG LEAST? SNY's Jonas Schwartz said the "crickets that you hear emanating around" Madison Square Garden are in anticipation of the Big East men's basketball tournament set to begin next weekend. Schwartz: "Normally, there was a gathering buzz as Syracuse and St. John's and Georgetown all coming in." This first year of the new-look Big East "so far has produced very little." Schwartz: "If it wasn't for Creighton, which has no Big East history, no one would be talking about them at all. So in year one, the Big East has certainly not generated what they wanted to generate in terms of interest and next week at the Garden, I'm wondering how empty it will be" ("Daily News Live," SNY, 3/5).
Indianapolis 500 fans for the first time "will be able to 'glamp' in the IMS infield during race weekend," according to Dana Hunsinger Benbow of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR. "Glamping," short for glamorous camping, is "a trend popping up nationwide for people who want to enjoy the basics of camping without getting down and dirty." IMS is offering "various glamping packages" that include "luxuries like a tent with a tarp floor and windows, queen-sized beds, a private shower area, electronics hookup and access to a glamping lounge." All packages include "four nights and five days." Fans who want to glamp "must have tickets to Coors Light Carb Day on May 23, Legends Day on May 24 and the 500 race on May 25." Guests get an "infield parking pass, preferred check-in location and power source for personal electronics." Other features include "private restroom facilities, a padlock with key and access to cellphone charging stations, ice sales and water refill" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 3/6).
TURBO BOOST: ESPN.com's John Oreovicz wrote the Indy 500 "got a big boost in the last week when programs were announced for former CART and Formula One champion Jacques Villeneuve and NASCAR star Kurt Busch." The presence of Villeneuve and Busch will "benefit the IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500 by attracting national and international attention to the genuinely compelling storyline of a pair of high-profile drivers trying something new or different." For a series "struggling for television viewers and sponsorship dollars, that can only be a positive" (ESPN.com, 3/5). In N.Y., Naila-Jean Meyers noted Busch has a new website that will "allow fans to monitor his workouts and his physical condition and to track his travel back and forth" as he prepares to run the Indy 500 and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 in the same day (N.Y. TIMES, 3/5).