Australian Open Tournament Dir Craig Tiley "has flagged a record first-round losers' cheque" of at least A$27,000 ($28,300) -- a rise of almost 30% -- at next month's grand slam, according to Linda Pearce of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Consultations "are continuing with the ATP and WTA over the breakdown of the rises," which will deliver the biggest percentage increases to players eliminated in the first three rounds. Women's No.2 Maria Sharapova has questioned the idea of inflating the rewards for those who fail to win a match, but Tennis Australia "is committed to easing the financial pressure on those ranked 80th and below." On Monday, Tiley said the winner of this week's wildcard playoff could expect to earn "above A$27,000"' for contesting the Jan. 14-27 tournament. This year, players eliminated in the first round at Melbourne Park got A$20,800, compared with A$22,163 at the French Open, A$22,168 at Wimbledon and A$21,954 at the U.S. Open (SMH, 12/11).
Events and Attractions
Austrian energy drink producer Red Bull "has applied for the open slot in the '13 F1 calender with its company-owned Red Bull Ring racetrack, which is located in Spielberg, Austria," according to the SID. So far, Istanbul, Turkey and Le Castellet, France have been the front runners to replace the postponed F1 race in New Jersey. Red Bull Motorsport adviser Helmut Marko said, "We have brought to FIA's attention the fact that the Red Bull Ring exists and is in possession of an F1 license." The racetrack hosted its last F1 race in '03, then named A1 Ring. After the track had been partially demolished, Red Bull "purchased the course and rebuilt it." The German Touring Car Championship (DTM) races in Spielberg (SID, 12/10).
Action sports content provider and creator of the X Games ESPN kicks off a new era with the '13 global expansion’s six-event schedule -- featuring eight sports, 26 disciplines and new venues from inaugural host cities Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil; Barcelona, Spain; and Munich, Germany. The three new cities will combine to offer the most wide-ranging program of sports and disciplines in X Games history, including the addition of Mountain Bike Slopestyle, Women’s Skateboard Park and the return of BMX Freestyle Dirt. With the disciplines set, event planning and course designs underway, this expansion will be the first of its kind for the franchise. The '13 six-event schedule will include Aspen, U.S., Jan. 24-27; Tignes, France, March 20-22; Foz do Iguaçu, April 18-21; Barcelona, May 16-19; Munich, June 27-30; L.A., Aug. 1-4 (ESPN).
The Aberdeen Assett Management Scottish Open, played at the Castle Stuart Golf Links, won the Sporting Event of the Year award. The recognition marks the first time a European Tour championship has received the award (European Tour). ... The Doha GOALS Forum will be inaugurated Tuesday. The conference was created as an initiative to drive the use of sport as a vehicle for social and economic change. More than 1,500 participants are expected at the event, which began Monday and goes through Wednesday, with 1,100 people from overseas from 60 countries including 400 students. Speakers include FIFA President Sepp Blatter and former LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe, as well as multi-Gold Medalists Ian Thorpe and Carl Lewis (Doha GOALS Forum). ... The Int'l Handball Federation has approved the Caja Mágica arena in Madrid as a preliminary round venue for the 2013 Men’s World Championship in Spain. The tournament is scheduled to take place from Jan. 11-27 (EFE, 12/10).