Barcelona "is the leading candidate" to host the Spanish race of the new Formula E, according to Raymond Blancafort of MUNDO DEPORTIVO. The new series, created by motorsports governing body FIA, is "reserved for electronic cars" and will make its debut in '14. Barcelona's profile as a leading city in new technology, and its long standing tradition of hosting motorsports competitions make it a leading candidate. Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag would not divulge the Spanish city with which the organization is negotiating but said, "We are negotiating with a Spanish city, and everything is moving in the right direction." He reiterated that the new series was in no way looking to compete with F1. Agag: "In no way do we want to compete with F1. We want to offer an escape for all the actors in the electronic cars sector and contribute to its growth through competition" (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 11/15).
Events and Attractions
The recently-concluded ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London "had record crowds," according to Paul Gittings of CNN. When the event moved from Shanghai in '09, "arguably the economic outlook was even more dire, but during its fourth staging this year the tournament celebrated its millionth paying customer and in many ways is a beacon for the heady success currently being enjoyed by tennis despite the global downturn.” ATP Exec Chair & President Brad Drewett said, "The ATP and its 62 tournaments are now generating more than half a billion dollars annually. We are in our strongest financial position ever and we have the biggest and best group of corporate partners ever involved in the game." The ATP reported that commercial revenues have increased 165% since '09. During finals week this year, "Ricoh extended its support while the big announcement saw title sponsor Barclays put its name to the tournament through '15 with London confirmed as the venue in a two-year extension.” Attendance at ATP events has "remained steady at 4.4 million each year since 2009.” Former tennis player Boris Becker and London Times tennis beat writer Neil Harman believe that the Finals “will benefit from finding a permanent home in London, extended past '15.” Harman said, "It's absolutely astonishing what has been achieved, what they have done with the stadium, the players all love it" (CNN, 11/13).
NEW HEIGHTS: The event drew a record 263,229 fans across eight days this year. The previous record of 256,830 was set during London’s first year of hosting the event in ’09. The tourney also attracted record audiences on both TV and online with an estimated global cumulative audience of 100.7 million viewers. Live match streaming on TennisTV.com received more than 3.75 million total streams, an increase of 25% over last year. ATPWorldTour.com attracted a record 3.4 million unique users for the week (ATP).
The Int'l Cycling Union (UCI) "has confirmed" the city of Ponferrada, in the mountainous area of northwest Spain, as the host of the 2014 World Championships, according to the EFE. UCI President Pat McQuaid said, "I am delighted to confirm that the Ponferrada organizers have responded quickly and efficiently to our request, providing us with the financial and organizational guarantees that we required. We can now look forward with confidence to the 2014 UCI Road World Championships in one of our traditional cycling nations." It will mark the first time since Madrid in '05 that the World Championships are held in Spain. The 2014 World Championships will be held between Sept. 20-28 (EFE, 11/15).
MORE CYCLING NEWS: The CHINA DAILY reported that the 2012 Tour of Fuzhou, in East China's Fujian province, will kick off Sunday with more than 200 riders. The race, "which marks the province's first int'l cycling event," will cover a distance of about 300 km (CHINA DAILY, 11/15).
The difficulties of the financially struggling Nürburgring racetrack increase by the minute, which means the chances of hosting the 2013 Grand Prix of Germany become slimmer and slimmer, according to the DPA. Mercedes Motorsport Dir Norbert Haug said, "The situation at the Nürburgring is very serious and therefore anything but pleasant." The negotiations between racetrack tenants and liquidators have stalled and could lead to a long-term battle in court. At the same time, preparations for the Grand Prix's likely alternative, the Hockenheimring, "have not even begun and are already on a tight schedule." Hockenheim Mayor Dieter Gummer said, "We have already entered the Christmas sales period for the 2013 events, and it would be very difficult to put together a Formula 1 race in such a short time." The 2013 Grand Prix of Germany is scheduled for July 14. Gummer said, "It would be without a doubt problematic. Usually the promotion for the next event starts with the end of the previous one." Talks with F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone scheduled for Nov. 8 had been canceled by Nürburgring racetrack operators. Nürburgring spokesperson Karl-Heinz Steinkühler said that, "at the moment, operators do not see chances for further talks as long as liquidators do not move in their direction." Given the stalled situation at the Nürburgring, it is surprising that Ecclestone "has not been in talks with Hockenheimring representatives about a replacement race." Gummer: "We are in constant contact [with Ecclestone], but negotiations about a Formula 1 event at Hockenheim in 2013 have never taken place" (DPA, 11/14).
The Rugby Football League has confirmed its "Magic Weekend" will remain at Manchester City's Etihad Stadium in '13 and also stay there for '14. The RFL has yet to confirm the fixtures -- the full season's games are announced Monday -- but it is "widely expected that last year's derby game format will be replicated" (MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS, 11/14). ... The China Horse Fair 2012, which will run from Sunday to Tuesday, is "set to transform Beijing into a global marketplace for the professional horse sports and leisure industries, with more than 130 exhibitors from 16 countries and regions." Suppliers from European countries such as the Netherlands, France, Germany, the U.K., Ireland, Belgium and Switzerland will be on hand. They will be joined by other nations "at the forefront of global horse sports and leisure" including the U.S., Australia and Argentina (CHINA DAILY, 11/15).