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Volume 25 No. 177

Events and Attractions

The ATP/WTA Citi Open is in the "late stages of negotiations to transfer management of the tournament" to DC-based Capitol Investment Corp. Chair & CEO and WTT Chair Mark Ein, who made clear his "intention to keep the tournament" in DC, according to Liz Clarke of the WASHINGTON POST. Sources said that as part of a complex agreement, Ein would "get an option to buy the event within five years." The pending agreement comes at a "pivotal moment for the tournament, which marked its 50th anniversary this summer yet was in the final year of its title sponsorship with Citi ... that is key to its solvency." It is also "coming off a calamitous, rain-drenched edition in August that resulted in a six-figure financial loss." The agreement was "brokered between Ein and the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation, which owns the ATP sanction agreement that conveys the right to stage the event." In working out an agreement, the WTEF board "passed on more lucrative offers from potential buyers who would have moved the tournament elsewhere" -- some of whom were willing to pay $20M or more to do so. A source said that as many as a dozen entities "inquired about buying the foundation’s ATP sanction." Among them was Oracle Chair Larry Ellison, who "probably would have relocated the tournament to California." It is "unclear what Ein will pay for taking on management of the event, nor is it clear what he would pay to buy the WTEF sanction in the future, should he exercise his option to do so" (WASHINGTON POST, 11/28).

Spence (l) said he hopes for around 30,000 fans for the March 16 bout against Garcia (r)
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Errol Spence Jr.-Mikey Garcia is the headliner of a "PBC" card at AT&T Stadium on March 16, but some are wondering whether the fight will "draw a strong enough crowd to justify its placement" at the venue, according to Lance Pugmire of the L.A. TIMES. Spence has "captured Texas’ attention, as evidenced by the 12,000-plus that came" to the Star in Frisco this past March to "watch him knock out the unknown Carlos Ocampo in the first round." Spence said, “I’m hoping for 30,000 plus. We’ll have great promotion with Fox backing us." The upcoming fight's "widespread hype" began during Redskins-Cowboys on Thanksgiving when Fox Sports cameras "panned to Spence standing alongside Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones, with Joe Buck informing that Fox will enter the pay-per-view business with the Garcia fight." AT&T Stadium has previously "hosted three championship bouts," with each "drawing around 50,000 fans." Spence: "Being on the commercials on Fox before, during and after the NFL games, that’s huge. Many people who aren’t familiar with boxing will see that it’s coming on. Having that network power behind us is sure to make it a big event.” Pugmire noted for Garcia, being a "prominent Latino fighter is one powerful route" to PPV success. He will also be "fighting in Texas for the ninth time after previously winning two world titles in the state" (LATIMES.com, 11/27).