Spain, which hosted seven European Tour events in '11, may only host one next year as the "economy takes turn for the worse," according to John Leicester of the AP. With unemployment near 25%, "putting up purses to entice golf's big names is a luxury Spain can ill-afford." Government tourist boards that once bankrolled tournaments to sell Spain as a destination and companies that provided sponsorship often "no longer have the money or do not want to be seen spending it on golf when Spaniards are so squeezed financially." MatchGolf CEO Javier Gervas said, "It's just tough times, really, there's no money. Salaries are not going up, the cost of life is increasing, and people are just holding tight." Golf "isn't the only sport hurting in Spain." Beginning in '13, F1 is expected to visit Spain just once a year, alternating between Barcelona and Valencia, instead of racing in both venues. Spain's football players are the world and continental champions, and Real Madrid is football's "most-lucrative club." But other Spanish teams are "so strapped for cash that they can't pay their taxes," owing some $970M to the government. The Int'l Cycling Union said that nine Spanish road races were canceled this year, up from five the year before. UCI Events and Marketing Dir Gerrit Middag said, "They have to show if they have the money, and that is where probably they are going to meet some difficulties. There are alternatives and not only outside Europe. There are certain countries in Europe doing well" (AP, 9/30).
Events and Attractions
Sixteen surfers from four teams -- GoPro Hawaii and Wabsono California from the U.S., OE Great Barrier Reef from Australia and Brazil's Roxy Amazon -- will compete in the Red Bull Qiantang Surfing Shootout in Hangzhou, China from Oct. 1-3, according to Tang Zhe of the CHINA DAILY. The event is the only river-surfing competition in the world and is "expected to attract more than 200,000 spectators along the banks" as the tidal bore, also known as the "Silver Dragon," reaches its annual peak (CHINA DAILY, 9/29). ... Circuit of The Americas will be one of the new locations joining the Grand-Am Road Racing series next year. An event is planned for March 2 at the new purpose-built Grand Prix venue in central Texas. Grand-Am Road Racing has more than 20 million adults following the series in the U.S. Grand-Am sanctions the Rolex Sports Car Series and the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (Circuit Of The Americas).