Thousands of boxing fans "were left frustrated and angry" Monday after tickets for the "hotly anticipated" rematch between Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler quickly sold out, according to Ron Lewis of the LONDON TIMES. Froch will face Kessler at the O2 arena on May 25, the same night as the Champions League final takes place across the city at Wembley. Any fears that the rival attraction "would hit ticket sales were instantly repelled." After going on sale at noon, all 17,000 tickets -- face value between £40 ($63) and £500 ($788) -- "were sold in less than three hours, although many quickly appeared on eBay and ticket resale sites at inflated prices." The demand "was not only a shock to Froch’s fans, but also to promoters." Much of the demand is "likely to come from Denmark, where Kessler is incredibly popular" (LONDON TIMES, 2/5).
Events and Attractions
The Pan American Sports Organization named La Punta, Argentina; Santiago, Chile; Lima, Peru; and Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela "as the four cities that submitted bids for the 2019 Pan Am Games," according to ISPORTCONNECT. Each city is vying for its first opportunity to host the Games, though Venezuela and Argentina have each hosted the event before. Santiago was set to host the '93 winter Pan American Games, but the Games was canceled when the U.S. "threatened to withdraw over a small slate of events." Santiago and Lima "appear to have the edge over La Punta and Puerto Ordaz" in that they are their respective country's capital cities, "meaning travel to and around those cities will be easier, and resources for constructing venues will be easier to obtain" (ISPORTCONNECT, 2/5).
F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone confirmed that a 20th grand prix "will not be added to the Formula One calendar this year," according to Gary Meenaghan of THE NATIONAL. Ecclestone, however, did say he is certain the schedule will return to its full capacity in '14 after he was left "very impressed" by progress in Sochi ahead of next year's inaugural Russian Grand Prix. Following last year's announcement that the Grand Prix of America would not be taking place in '13, rumors circulated that a European city "would join the calendar to fill the vacant weekend." Ecclestone, however, said it was now impossible to implement such an addition "at this late stage." Ecclestone: "The calendar has been formed already, it's too late." Ecclestone, who has spent much of the past four decades "expanding F1's global footprint," was quizzed on a host of potential future host cities, including Jerusalem, Isreal; Doha, Qatar; and Dubai, UAE (THE NATIONAL, 2/5). The AP's Michael Casey reported the leading contender to fill the spot was Istanbul, which was dropped from the F1 calendar in '12 after "a disagreement with Ecclestone over the fee charged to stage the race." Portugal has "also been mentioned in recent months as another candidate." Ecclestone said of the 20th race, "Disappointed it didn't happen before. You can't suddenly slot it in." Ecclestone also said he was "100 percent" confident that the Bahrain Grand Prix would "go ahead despite ongoing unrest in the Gulf nation" (AP, 2/5).
AN AUSSIE BOOST: The AAP reported Australia's Victorian state government is "set to swallow the mounting costs of the Australian Grand Prix and negotiate for an extension of the race." Premier of Victoria Ted Baillieu is "likely to begin talks" later this year on a new deal to keep the event at Albert Park after the current contract ends in '15. However, the Baillieu Government said that it was "committed to reducing the costs involved in any new arrangement." Baillieu said, "There are three more races under the current contracts, and we will see out those and commence discussions at an appropriate time" (AAP, 2/5).
Schladming, Austria is playing host to the 42nd Int'l Ski Federation (FIS) Alpine World Ski Championships that started on Monday with a one hour opening ceremony, according to BILD. At 7:36pm local time, FIS President Gian Franco Kasper "declared the world championships are officially opened." A record number of 609 athletes from 69 countries "will compete for medals in 11 different events" until Feb. 17. Schladming, which has a population of 5,000, has invested $400M ($541M) for "the greatest ski party of all time." The little town in the Austrian state of Styria "expects around 400,000 spectators during the championships." German skiers will receive €25,000 ($34,000) for a gold, €15,000 ($20,000) for a silver and €10,000 ($14,000) for a bronze medal. In addition, athletes receive €32,000 ($43,000) from FIS for winning a gold medal (BILD, 2/5).