San Diego and Bermuda "have been shortlisted as potential host" locations for the '17 America's Cup, according to Don Burgess of the BERMUDA SUN. Chicago, which also had been "under consideration, is now a likely venue" for the America's Cup World Series racing in '15 and '16. The America’s Cup Event Authority over the next few months will "work closely with both venues to finalize logistics requirements and commercial opportunities, as well as to establish the needed relationships with private and public entities to ensure a successful event." The host for the next America’s Cup will be announced "before the end of this year." Bermuda, having "made it to this final stage of the bidding process, will host the America’s Cup World Series no matter the outcome of the final venue selection, which will mean an influx of people to Bermuda’s shores for possible events" in '15 and/or '16 (BERMUDA SUN, 7/9). Bermuda Premier Michael Dunkley said that hosting the event "would require a significant Island-wide effort -- and big upgrades in transport, hotels and tourism as a lasting benefit to the Island" (ROYAL GAZETTE, 7/9). In San Diego, Bill Center notes Bermuda will "offer a stronger financial package, including tax-free incentives." European challengers also "favor Bermuda because races there would be televised in prime time in Europe." But America’s Cup races in Bermuda "would have to be sailed offshore," and an American holder of the America’s Cup "has never defended outside" of the U.S. The wind conditions in Bermuda also are "much more variable during the summer than they are in San Diego" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 7/9).
WHATEVER WAY THE WIND BLOWS: In Chicago, Blake Schuster notes the prospect of bringing the America's Cup to Chicago "intrigued organizers, but one concern was whether the wind would hold up over the three weeks of the race." Holding the America's Cup World Series race will give the city "a chance to prove it's capable of conducting a major sailing event." Chicago Match Race Center Dir Tod Reynolds: "That's originally what we thought would be best for Chicago. Our downtown waterfront is perfectly suited for it." Schuster notes any chance of hosting the America's Cup after '17 "depends on who wins the event" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 7/9). The AP's Bernie Wilson noted the America's Cup "has never been on a lake," and Lake Michigan's wind "is variable because it comes from weather systems rather than the thermal effect that helps generate sea breezes." Oracle Team USA CEO Russell Coutts said of Chicago, "It would make a fantastic venue. We just need to understand the wind conditions a lot better" (AP, 7/8).
UFC yesterday postponed the UFC 176 event that was scheduled for Staples Center on Aug. 2, the "second time in less than two years ... UFC has been forced to cancel a pay-per-view," according to Matt Erickson of MMA JUNKIE. The card was "supposed to feature a featherweight title headliner between champion Jose Aldo and challenger Chad Mendes, a rematch of a main event at UFC 142 in Brazil." But it was announced last week that Aldo "suffered an injury ... taking him out of the card." Without a "suitable headliner, and now with less than a month before the fight, the decision was made to postpone the event." Ticket refunds "will be offered to customers at the original point of purchase, either through the Staples Center box office, or through online outlets including AXS.com." Ticket sales for the event "already had generated $800,000 in revenue" (MMAJUNKIE.com, 7/8). ESPN.com's Brett Okamoto noted female bantemweight champion Ronda Rousey "appeared to be a potential fill-in to headline UFC 176, but is unavailable due to medical reasons." Rousey following her match at UFC 175 last weekend revealed that she was "dealing with pre-existing injuries to her right knee and hand," and the Nevada State Athletic Commission "medically suspended Rousey after the bout." A previously announced UFC 177 PPV event on Aug. 30 in Sacramento "will continue to be called UFC 177" (ESPN.com, 7/8).
SAY GOODBYE TO HOLLYWOOD? UFC Chair & CEO Lorenza Fertitta said if the event is rescheduled for October, it would not be at Staples Center. Fertitta said, "That's one of the negatives. We were excited to go back to Staples Center. One of the issues, though, is Staples Center is probably one of the hardest arenas to book in the country because they're so busy. By that time of year, the professional sports teams, they have start to roll around. We will certainly work with them to try to find another date, but we're not real confident we'll be able to accommodate that." He talked about alternate sites for the event and said, "Right now we have a date scheduled in Rio de Janeiro for October 27th, and we're looking at a couple of other locations for earlier in October as well to see what's available" ("Fox Spots Live," FS1, 7/8). Staples Center VP & GM Lee Zeidman said that an "initial discussion about Oct. 11 wouldn't allow for the fight at Staples Center due to a sold-out Pitbull-Enrique Iglesias concert, but Oct. 18 and Oct. 25 are open" (L.A. TIMES, 7/9).
FIFA partner Match Hospitality "has defended" CEO Ray Whelan "after his arrest by Brazilian police investigating the illegal sale of World Cup tickets," according to the BBC. Match in a statement said it expects Whelan will be "exonerated" after he was released following questioning. Whelan's lawyer, Fernando Fernandes, said the arrest was "illegal and absurd" (BBC.com, 7/8). Match in its statement added the company has "complete faith that the facts will establish that he has not violated any laws" (SKYSPORTS.com, 7/8). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Kiernan & Jelmayer noted Whelan was released after he posted bail of about $2,250 and "delivered his passport to ensure he wouldn't leave Brazil." FIFA "works closely with Match, its official hospitality provider, which has a contract to provide hotel and game packages" until '23, through the next two World Cups. Match is 5% owned by Infront Sports & Media AG, and company President & CEO Philippe Blatter is the nephew of FIFA President Sepp Blatter. Neither man "has been implicated in the ticket-scalping probe," but the ticket scandal "is the latest in a string of controversies dogging FIFA." But Fernandes said, "This arrest by the police is a media stunt. There's no proof against Raymond. ... All the tickets that were with Raymond, that the police apprehended, were in his name and his relatives' names." Kiernan & Jelmayer noted it was not clear whether the tickets "were for past or future games." At the time of Whelan's arrest, four games "remained to be played in the World Cup" (WSJ.com, 7/8).