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Volume 24 No. 116

Events and Attractions

Tiger Woods on Tuesday announced that he would miss The Masters next week due to back surgery, and less than 24 hours later, tickets prices for the tournament were "down significantly on the online secondary market," according to Dan Wetzel of YAHOO SPORTS. Some prices for "one-day badges on dropped" 10% within the first hour of Woods' announcement. As of midday Tuesday, badges for next Thursday's opening round were going for $1,165 on" But by 11:00am ET yesterday, they were down to $940, a 19.3% drop in "less than a day, and will likely continue to drop." There also were "similar drops across all four days of competition." StubHub Head of Communications Glenn Lehrman said, "No single athlete has a greater impact on our ticket prices." has "seen prices fall also, although not at such a high rate" as StubHub. But experts said that prices "likely won't drop too much further," as there "remains relatively low inventory on the secondary market and most people headed to the event have already made travel arrangements." Woods had "played the Masters every year" since '95 (, 4/2). Meanwhile, Augusta police said that anyone caught "buying, selling or handing off tickets within a 2,700 foot boundary around the Augusta National could face misdemeanor charges or get a ride in a police car." In Augusta, Bianca Cain Johnson notes brokering tickets is "legal as long as the buyers and sellers have their correct paperwork" and are not within boundary (AUGUSTA CHRONICLE, 4/3).

A TRADITION JUST LIKE ANY OTHER? In Atlanta, Jeff Schultz wrote The Masters "just became less interesting." Woods draws the "biggest galleries -- by a longshot -- and stirs the most media attention and biggest television ratings" (, 4/2). The N.Y. Daily News' Bruce Murray said it is a "huge blow" to the tournament not having Woods. Murray: "If Tiger's on the leaderboard Saturday or Sunday, they get huge ratings. If he's not, you've got to hope for one of three guys: (McIlroy, Mickelson) and I can't even think of a third guy" ("Daily News Live," SNY, 4/1). ESPN's Andy North said, "Tiger is so important to our business and particularly with the majors coming up" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 4/1). Golf Channel's Tripp Isenhour said, "Augusta is not the same without Tiger Woods. Let's be honest." Golfer Luke Donald added, "Tiger is a big part of what we play for, and he is obviously the main attraction when it comes to golf tournaments. ... He brings in the crowds and the fans, and it is not as strong a game without him." Golf Channel's Scott Walker: "From a fan's perspective, missing Tiger Woods is a big loss for The Masters." But golfer Steve Stricker said, "It's unfortunate for the tournament and The Masters. But it will go on. There are still a lot of great players" ("Golf Central," Golf Channel, 4/1). Golf Channel's Tim Rosaforte: "It will still be an unbelievable Masters, but obviously there will be a big piece of it missing, sadly" ("Morning Drive," Golf Channel, 4/2). Golfer Rory McIlroy said, "The Masters will still be the Masters even though he won't be there" (GUARDIAN, 4/3).

The contract for the Verizon IndyCar Series Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach "will be extended" through '18, but the city "will open up bidding for the event in a move that could bring Formula One back to Southern California," according to Karen Robes Meeks of the Long Beach PRESS-TELEGRAM. The extension "will have to be confirmed" in a city council open session. LBGP President & CEO Jim Michaelian said he was told that would happen "within a few weeks." He added, "This is precisely what we wanted." Long Beach's current contract with the Grand Prix Association expires June 30, 2015. Chris Pook, who "helped found the Long Beach Grand Prix in 1975, has been hired" by F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone to "bring back the series that ran in Long Beach" from '76-'83. Ecclestone has said that he "intends to bid on the contract if the process is open." Pook said, "I'm not knocking the IndyCar race, but Formula One will bring the economic value the city enjoys" (Long Beach PRESS-TELEGRAM, 4/3).

With plans stalled to renovate The Tennis Center at Crandon Park, the ATP/WTA Sony Open is left "looking much like an annual county fair in a world of increasingly upscale tennis theme parks that stretch from Shanghai to the California desert to the four Grand Slam venues," according to Christopher Clarey of the N.Y. TIMES. The tourney "does not get called 'the fifth Grand Slam' much anymore," but it "still draws lively crowds and great talent." Sony Open Founder and Int'l Tennis HOFer Butch Buchholz said, "We set the bar 15, 20 years ago and now the bar got moved again." Clarey wrote raising the bar for the venue means $50M "in privately funded investment," and building "more permanent secondary stadiums to complement the existing 20-year-old stadium court with its nearly 14,000 seats." It also means "more, much-needed practice courts along with extensive landscaping to trump the prevailing asphalt." Sony Open Tournament Dir Adam Barrett and IMG hope to "break ground before next year’s event, and they are in part to blame for the tournament’s drop in prestige because they have been so public about what it lacks" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/2).

DOING THE CHARLESTON:'s Ed McGrogan wrote Crandon Park "is not Indian Wells," and the Sony Open "shouldn't look towards the Coachella Valley for inspiration." The tourney needs to "differentiate from Indian Wells, not imitate it." However, it should "look to imitate a different American tournament in one significant way." The Family Circle Cup in Charleston, now in its 42nd year, has been "an unqualified success story at a time when tournaments are leaving the United States in droves" (, 4/2). Meanwhile, in Charleston, Tommy Braswell notes attendance numbers this week "climbed slightly through four days of the Family Circle Cup with the total through five sessions at 31,629, an average of 6,326." Last year's "total through four days" was 31,499. To "equal the FCC record of 95,767 (set over 14 sessions in 2010), the tournament must average 7,367 fans over 13 sessions" (Charleston POST & COURIER, 4/3).

The Dallas-Ft. Worth area is set for a "mega-sports weekend" that features the Final Four at AT&T Stadium and the debut of the "world's largest high-definition big screen" at Texas Motor Speedway, according to Scott Wright of the OKLAHOMAN. TMS hosts NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series races on Friday and Sunday, and track President Eddie Gossage said, "We've sold some tickets and some suites to some corporate folks who are planning to be in town for the Final Four, and we've got some marketing going on in the towns of the teams who are playing as well." He added of the new "Big Hoss" videoboard, which measures 220 feet wide and 100 feet tall, "To me, it’s the ultimate fan amenity. All sports -- the NFL, college basketball and football -- have all had their struggles and are trying to address the issue of how improved technology and coverage by television networks, and the improved affordability of home theater has affected the attendance at live games." Meanwhile, Gossage said of the Sprint Cup race's title sponsorship with Duck Commander, "It's really a perfect match. An out-of-town writer told me it was a silly sponsorship, because it doesn't reach the younger audience, which NASCAR is constantly trying to reach out to. But we had an event last month with the Duck Dynasty guys, and we were overrun by 8- and 9-year-olds who love that show" (OKLAHOMAN, 4/3).