Former F1 driver Jackie Stewart "is scheduled to speak in Austin next week" ahead of the Grand Prix of the U.S. at the Circuit of the Americas, according to Dave Doolittle of the STATESMAN. Stewart said that "he has never been to Austin but is looking forward to seeing the race, the circuit and the city." Stewart said, "For some years now we have been missing, and in my opinion sadly, the United States of America. … It’s well overdue. We’re coming to a part of America and particularly a city in America that’s great for young people because of the university and the high technology that exists there. I think it’s a very, very good fit." The former world champion said that he will speak about F1's global reach. Stewart said, "The commercial muscle that it has, the multinational corporations that are part of it. It’s by far the biggest commercial sport in the world and also the largest capital-investment sport in the world, so it has a lot to talk about." Although the sport "has had a checkered past in America, the teams, advertisers and sponsors know the importance of the market." Stewart said, "I think it’s enormous because the American marketplace is very mature, and the car industry, the tire industry, the fuel and oil producers see North America as an important part of the world" (STATESMAN, 11/5). MOTORSPORT-TOTAL.com's Rencken & Haidinger reported that Mercedes Motorsports Dir Norbert Haug "is a huge supporter of F1's U.S. comeback." Haug said, "If I could wish for it, this would only be the beginning. We have raced in the U.S. several times in our history -- Long Beach, Phoenix, there have been many host cities -- but it never led to a break through. A world championship has to include the U.S. -- this is without question for me." Haug also seems to have a strategy of how to excite Americans about the sport. He said, "Maybe we will have two U.S. races in the future, as well as U.S. drivers and teams. This would be the big break through in my opinion. A new Mario Andretti and maybe a U.S. team that would be fantastic. This won't happen over night, but it has to be the goal" (MOTORSPORT-TOTAL.com, 11/7).
Events and Attractions
FIFA revealed that the six cities scheduled to host the 2013 Confederations Cup are confirmed, according to Leandro Canônico of GLOBO ESPORTE. The Arena Pernambuco in Recife, which has been "heavily criticized" by FIFA General Secretary Jérôme Valcke, is guaranteed along with Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, Belo Horizonte, Fortaleza and Salvador. The tournament will take place from June 15-30. It will mark the "first time that the event is held across six cities in one country." FIFA also revealed the price of tickets, which will be divided in four categories. Ticket prices will range from R$28.50 ($14) to R$418 ($205). The cheapest tickets are part of category 4, which is reserved only for Brazilians. Overall, 830,000 tickets will be available for the 16 games (GLOBO ESPORTE, 11/8). LANCENET.com.br's Vessoni & Salata reported that the draw for the group stage of the tournament will be held in São Paulo on Dec. 1. Besides Brazil, six national team have already qualified: Spain, Italy, Uruguay, Japan, Mexico and Tahiti. The country representing Africa will be revealed in February once the Africa Cup of Nations has taken place (LANCENET.com.br, 11/8).
MORE TICKET INFO: FIFA revealed that all tickets will go on sale Dec. 3. During this first sales phase, at least 50,000 category 4 tickets will be offered to Brazilian residents. Students, people over the age of 60 and recipients of the social program Bolsa Familia will be entitled to receive a 50% discount on the ticket face value. Furthermore, elderly people (over-60s) residing in Brazil will be entitled to receive a 50% discount for category 1-3 tickets. In addition, a certain allocation of category 1-3 tickets will be exclusively offered to Visa card holders worldwide in a pre-sale phase from Nov. 21-30. Fans will be able to either buy up to six individual tickets for a maximum of 10 matches or purchase a maximum of six specific series comprising several matches in one venue. For the group stage, tickets for int'l supporters will be sold in U.S. dollars for anywhere between $60 and $140 subject to the category, and tickets for Brazilians will be sold in Brazilian reals ranging from R$57 ($30) in category 4 to R$266 ($130) in category 1 (FIFA).
The Singapore Open and World Sport Group extended their deal another five years, but the event is still "facing a possible change of dates, prize money and even sanctioning bodies as organisers search for a new title sponsor" after the withdrawal of British bank Barclays, according to Talek Harris of the AFP. After the signature from WSG, officials pledged the event was "here to stay," but they were "unable to give details about the next edition" of the event often called Asia's Major. Barclays announced at the beginning of the year that it would not renew its sponsorship of the event, which is one of the region's richest, "but it has struggled to attract top-quality fields in a congested part of the season." WSG Senior VP for Golf Chris Jordan said organizers were now canvassing an "enormous" number of potential sponsors, but he stressed that all options "were open for the event's future." Jordan said, "We are talking to an enormous raft of [sponsors], in an enormous raft of different categories, and we're very confident that towards the beginning of next year, when this one's settled, we'll be making some more announcements." Jordan "indicated he was keen to shift the notoriously rain-affected event away from its current slot." Jordan: "Frankly, as far as I'm concerned all bets are off. Nothing's a given, but we will look at dates because seriously, we can't afford to have too much bad luck on one date any more." The event began Thursday (AFP, 11/8).
Despite being the second-most expensive fixture on the int'l rugby sevens circuit, the Wellington sevens continued its tradition of selling out quickly, according to Shabnam Dastgheib of the DOMINION POST. A small increase over last year's prices did not stop the 14,000 tickets -- 4,000 more than last year -- from selling out "in just 17 minutes." Tickets for the two-day event on Feb. 1-2 cost NZ$199 ($162) for the covered, uncovered and red zones, "while a family zone adult ticket cost NZ$149 ($123)." Wellington Hertz Sevens GM Steve Walters said he thought pricing for the tournament "would be up there" because of the level of demand. Walters said that more tickets were made available to the public this year because of "more careful scrutiny of the numbers held back for corporate attendees" (DOMINION POST, 11/8).
Auckland, New Zealand "has finished second behind London at the 2012 International Sports Event Management awards after the successful hosting of last year's Rugby World Cup." The Rugby World Cup "was the main event held in Auckland during the judging period, but the city also hosted the ITU World Cup triathlon event, Champions Trophy hockey tournament, Volvo Ocean Race and Rally of New Zealand" (NEW ZEALAND HERALD, 11/8). ... The first Afghan Rugby Club team -- Kabul United RFC -- "will play a series of matches against rugby clubs from Cambodia, Hong Kong, Uzbekistan, India, the U.K. and New Zealand at the biggest ever sport festival in Pakistan this week." The participation "means a lot to the Afghanistan Rugby Federation." It is a big step for development of the sport and "will certainly encourage other rugby clubs to do more to be entitled for foreign tours." Kabul United "was formed less than a year ago, but interest in the sport is quickly spreading" (ALJAZEERA.com, 11/7). ... India is "in the running to host the 2015 World Wrestling Championship ahead of the next Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro." Wrestling Federation of India Secretary General Raj Singh said, "We have bid for the 2015 Senior Men’s World Wrestling Championship" (PTI, 11/7). ... Indian football team's int'l friendly against Yemen, which was slated to be played on Wednesday in Guwahati, has been canceled after the visiting team informed All India Football Federation that it "will not be able to make the trip due to ticketing problems" (PTI, 11/8).