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Volume 24 No. 154

Events and Attractions

Keeneland Race Course has a "better-than-good chance" of landing the '15 Breeders' Cup, according to sources cited by Tom LaMarra of BLOODHORSE. Keeneland President & CEO Bill Thomason yesterday said the track is in the "due diligence phase" of its bid. Thomason: "We're in the final stages of identifying the relationship between Keeneland and Breeders' Cup, as well as the patron experience. We're still working through the details to make this a reality." LaMarra noted the Breeders' Cup BOD will announce a site for the '15 event next month. Keeneland has "never hosted a Breeders' Cup, though the event would fit in with the company's mission." The track has "great appeal as a host site," but the existing facility "couldn't comfortably accommodate the typical Saturday Breeders' Cup crowd." However, Thomason suggested that "temporary facilities and seating could be ready by the fall of 2015" should the track land the event. Thomason: "If 100% of the concerns aren't answered, Keeneland is not going to do it. ... If we're going to do it, we want to do it right. We don't have a 170,000-person facility, and we're not going to build to that. We're not going to mess with what you see (at Keeneland). We will have to do it in a way to utilize our existing facility" (BLOODHORSE, 4/30). In Louisville, Tim Sullivan noted while Keeneland would "expect to add 10,000-15,000 temporary seats for a Breeders' Cup, the three best-attended Kentucky Derbies quadrupled Keeneland's record turnout of 40,617." Despite the low capacity at Keeneland, the "rumblings of a nearly done deal (and of a 2016 Breeders' Cup at Del Mar) have been rising in volume among industry insiders, particularly since Keeneland announced its decision to return to a dirt track earlier this month" (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 4/30).

FIFA World Cup final tickets "are being advertised for more than $40,000 on the secondary market by holders ignoring a threat" from the governing body to "void those not resold via the tournament organizer," according to Tariq Panja of BLOOMBERG NEWS. The cheapest ticket to the July 13 final on Switzerland-based reseller Viagogo "is $5,240 for a seat with a face value of $440." FIFA is the "only authorized reseller and doesn’t allow ticket holders to charge a premium, and officials have said they will scrap tickets if they can identify sellers on other platforms." Viagogo said that it is "providing a needed service and doesn’t offer World Cup tickets in countries such as the U.K., where resale is illegal." Viagogo Global Head of Communications Oliver Wheeler said, "We abide by local law and, in the vast majority of territories, it’s legal to sell tickets and that might be for more or less than you originally paid." The company said that U.S. soccer fans "are among the biggest buyers on Viagogo, spending an average of $2,800." Viagogo charges sellers a 10% fee and buyers a further 15%. Viagogo said that it "guarantees its tickets and doesn’t pay sellers until after the event to prevent fraud." Wheeler said that prices "being sought on Viagogo aren’t excessive ... while gougers rarely get what they’re asking for." Match Hospitality Legal Advisor of Brand Protection Imran Patel, whose company is contracted by FIFA to handle sales, said that the governing body "has no plans to allow ticket holders to charge more than the face value on its platform" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 4/29).