Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 6 No. 214

Events and Attractions

The U.S. Open will be "met with a walkout from an overwhelming majority of the men’s players this year unless it comes up with a considerable improvement in prize money and reconsiders its decision to move the final to a Monday night," according to Neil Harman of the LONDON TIMES. There is "a growing sense" among those performing at the Australian Open -- which recently increased its prize money -- that the comparative payout by the United States Tennis Association will "lead to the first boycott in the sport" since 81 players refused to play at Wimbledon in '73. If a similar number of players made good on a threat not to play the U.S. Open this year, the "effects would be profound." The USTA said in December that an additional $4M "would be found" for the overall '13 pot, and that the event would be extended to 15 days for a Monday men’s final, with a day in between the semifinals and the final. The men said that this decision was "taken without consultation and that they disagree with the extension of the event," having preferred a Friday semifinal and a Sunday final. Their greater beef, though, is with what they see as an "insignificant increase in their rewards" (LONDON TIMES, 1/21). The PA's Crooks & Fisher wrote organizers will have to decide in the future whether to shift the men's semifinals from Saturday to Friday, a move they have "so far resisted for commercial reasons." Another of the players' biggest complaints has been "with the length of the season." The schedule was reduced by two weeks last season and will be the same this season. However, in order to achieve that, the week between the Paris Masters and ATP World Tour Finals in London was taken out, "arguably to the detriment of both tournaments" (DAILY MAIL, 1/21).

In London, Kevin Mitchell wrote in the GUARDIAN's The Sport Blog, "Fanciful notions that players might boycott the US Open this year (or any tournament from here until the end of time) raised wry smiles in Melbourne." Andy Murray seemed "nonplussed when asked about this allegedly burning issue." Murray said, "I didn't know about the story. Where did that come from?" With unemployment stubbornly high in the U.S. and elsewhere, "sympathy for a strike by millionaire tennis players would be about zero." It "won't happen" (GUARDIAN, 1/21).

The ATP revealed its calendar for '14, highlighted by a new ATP World Tour 500 event in Rio de Janeiro, according to IG. The Rio tournament, to be played on clay, is scheduled to begin on Feb. 17, 2014 and will be part of a four-week South American swing. ATP President Brad Drewett said, "The four-week South American swing including a new event in Rio de Janeiro is an exciting development for the sport. There are significant opportunities for growth in South America, a region that has become a key focus for us as we look to grow and develop the sport in that territory" (IG, 1/21). The EFE noted the South American swing also includes events in Viña del Mar, Chile, Buenos Aires, Argentina and São Paulo, Brazil. One of the novelties in the new calendar is the incorporation of a one week break between between the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris and the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London (EFE, 1/21).

Beach Soccer Worldwide revealed that it is "organising India's first professional Beach Soccer Championship in Goa," India, according to the PTI. The Goa FA and the Goa Football Development Council "are backing the officially sanctioned event, which will become a biannual feature in India." This first edition of the tournament "will be held in Goa from Feb. 7-10." The teams "will comprise of 10 players each -- five on field and as many substitutes." The duration of play "will include three periods of 12 minutes each, with a break of three minutes." In case of a tie at the end of regular time, there will be three minutes of extra time before the penalty shootout. The tournament "will see the teams battle it out for a grand prize" of Rs 2 lakh ($3,700) (PTI, 1/21).

The upcoming India vs. England one-day int'l on Jan. 23 "will see some over-the-rooftop ticket rates," according to Hindol Basu of the TIMES OF INDIA. The "pricing is such that it has even surpassed the India-Pakistan 2011 World Cup semifinal ticket rates, the last ODI to be held at the PCA Stadium in Mohali," India. The ticket rates at some stands "have gone up by five times, more than the inflation rate that is prevailing in the country now." To illustrate the point, "a spectator now has to cough up" Rs 25,000 ($465) for the VIP seats at the AC lounge! Professional Cricketers' Association Media Committee Chair Ajay Tyagi said, "Rising prices have propelled us to increase the ticket rates. The association needs money to run its day-to-day affairs." Ticket rates for the students block "have also been increased by three times from the last one-day match" and will now cost Rs 150 ($1.8) instead of the earlier Rs 50 ($0.9). The general chair block ticket prices have gone up from Rs 100 to Rs 300 ($5.60). The north pavilion tickets were Rs 1,000 ($18.60) during the World Cup semifinal. Now, it will cost Rs 2,000 ($37.20) (TIMES OF INDIA, 1/21).

British Cycling confirmed that the 2013 Elite Men’s and Women’s National Road Race Championships will be staged in Glasgow, Scotland. The event, which takes place on June 23, will form part of the proposed course for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, and with the majority of racing based within Glasgow’s city centre, will provide a spectacular backdrop for an epic weekend of elite level cycling (British Cycling). ... The Magic Millions' January sale series on the Gold Coast "concluded last week with its success underscored by a rise of some" A$7M ($7.4M) in trade to a A$76.2M turnover for the six-session sale. A total of 786 yearlings "were sold at three levels" for A$75.4M and an average price of A$95,865 while 87 horses of racing age fetched A$866,950 (THE AUSTRALIAN, 1/21).