New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said that a funding injection by the government of NZ$650,000 ($531,000) for the NZ PGA Championship next year is "important to promote New Zealand on the world stage," according to the APNZ. At a launch for next year's event, PGA Championship Chair John Hart said that the support of sponsors "had led to an increase in prize money" from NZ$500,000 to NZ$600,000 ($409,000 to $490,000) for the event. Next year's Championship will also see English cricketing celebrities Ian Botham and Tony Greig tee-off in the pro-am. The increased prize money "elevates the tournament to a tier-one status" on the PGA Tour of Australasia and is expected to help attract "an even stronger international line-up" of golfers (APNZ, 10/11).
Events and Attractions
Fans will have the opportunity to sell unwanted tickets online during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil as FIFA "tries to ensure that as many seats as possible are filled at stadiums," according to REUTERS. This summer, the London Games and Euro 2012 were both "blighted by rows of empty seats at supposedly sold-out venues." FIFA Marketing Dir Thierry Weil said that sponsors will "also be asked to give details of who is using their tickets." He added that it was "impossible to eradicate 'no shows' from ticket holders" (REUTERS, 10/10). REUTERS also reported that Weil expects sponsors to be fair with FIFA about who is attending the matches. Weil: "What we expect from the sponsors is to be fair and open with us on who is coming and who is not coming, which tickets they will use and which tickets they will not use in advance of the game, so that we can reallocate those tickets." Weil added that FIFA "would be testing its ticket systems" during the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil. The event is seen as a "dry run" for the World Cup (REUTERS, 10/10). In London, Tariq Panja reported that although 97% of tickets were sold for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, "many matches were played in stadiums with empty seats." That World Cup brought $3.7B in sales for FIFA, with $1.1B coming from sponsorship and marketing, and $2.4B from TV. For the 2014 World Cup, FIFA has budgeted for revenue of $3.8B (BLOOMBERG, 10/10).
The Korean F1 Grand Prix "is one of the more controversial races on the F1 calendar, while most drivers like the course, they are bugged by the strange atmosphere," according to the DPA. Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher said, "Korea is one of the newer races in F1, which is sadly noticeable due to a high number of empty seats." The racetrack, which has been part of the F1 calendar since '10, is located about 320km from South Korea's capital Seoul. There is "simply not a lot to see or to do for fans or drivers" (DPA, 10/10).
Anyone who did not believe A-League club Sydney FC "was in the grip" of Alessandro Del Piero mania needed only to show up at the Sky Blues' training at Allianz Stadium on Thursday, according to Peter Kogoy of the THE AUSTRALIAN. Italian reporters had flown in from Milan, in addition to the local media, to watch the former Juventus playmaker's final open training session before his Saturday night home debut against the Newcastle Jets at Allianz Stadium. The excitement leading up to the match is so large that Sky Blues management is "even tipping the record regular-season crowd of 33,458 set against Melbourne Victory in Jan. '08 will be smashed." Coach Ian Crook called on his players to "relish the opportunity and occasion." Cook said, "It will be a great atmosphere with Alessandro's first home game. I'd rather be playing in front of 30,000 with some expectations on us instead of 3,000 with no expectations" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 10/12).
The European Tour, the Turkish Golf Federation and Int'l Sports Management revealed the Turkish Open, a new $7M event, as the penultimate tournament on the 2013 European Tour Int'l schedule. The 78-man field tournament will be played from Nov. 7-10, 2013, at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal, Belek, Antalya, the week before the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai – the climax to the Race to Dubai. It will be fully sanctioned by the European Tour in a three-year agreement, with details on the eligibility criteria to be announced at a later date. Int'l Sports Management Managing Dir Andrew Chandler said, "This is just a great move for Turkey. This tournament ticks a lot of boxes for Turkey who are really driving towards a bid for the 2020 Olympics. Hosting big events like this tournament can only help that strategy and to be able to announce a three-year deal for a $7M tournament is a very rare thing these days." The Montgomerie Maxx Royal was designed by golfer Colin Montgomerie, in association with European Golf Design, and opened in '08. The par 72 Montgomerie Maxx Royal measures 6,486m (European Tour).
Organizers of the UBS Hong Kong Open are close to signing up world No. 1 golfer Rory McIlroy after "receiving a record" HK$15M ($1.9M) from the government's Mega Events Fund. Hong Kong Golf Association CEO Iain Valentine said, "We have been in serious discussions with McIlroy, and now we have the money from the Mega Events Fund. We hope to confirm a deal soon" (SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST, 10/10). The 2012 China Equestrian Festival will be held in Chengdu, Sichuan province, from Sautrday through Oct. 20. The venue for the eight-day event, the Chengdu Jinma Int'l Racecourse in Jinma Township in the Wenjiang district of Chengdu, is "the only int'l racecourse in western China" (CHINA DAILY, 10/10).