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Volume 6 No. 215

Events and Attractions

New Jersey F1 Race Promoter Leo Hindery Jr. said that the American Grand Prix is back on track after it had to postpone its ’13 scheduled debut due to missing local and federal approvals that made it difficult to have all the capitalization in place. Hindery said, "We are back under construction. We have the consents in place that we didn’t have last fall, and we will quite comfortably put the race on, now probably in the mid-year of 2014 with [F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone’s] support." He added: "There are two civil engineering pieces that still need attention. One is the obvious one in that the course itself has to be paved to take out any crowns in the roadway, make it perfectly flat, and then [FIA F1 Race Dir] Charlie Whiting and his associates demand a quality of asphalt paving that’s very, very high end." The pavement work will start around September when the weather is most conducive to do such work. The second piece that needs attention includes transportation and seating alongside the Hudson River. Hindery said, "We are going to put some, like a pontoon, floats where some of the ferries that will serve the race will dock. We have about 39 ferries that will be part of the transportation scheme. And we will do some work over the summer to make the landing area for the ferries a little larger and that will include some stands right on the river’s edge."

DROPPED DREAMS: The proposed "New York" race has long been the dream of Ecclestone, Hindery said, and "We were on track, I thought, pretty well for June 2013, and, to be frank, we couldn’t get all of the approvals necessary, most especially right around the river itself. Here in the U.S., water ways are the responsibility of multiple jurisdictions. We have now all of those consents." The missing approvals made it difficult for the organizers to have all the capitalization in place. Ecclestone said, "The problem in New York/New Jersey is not a problem for us. It's a problem for the people that started this, and I think it's basically a financial problem." Organizers also would have been unable to put some needed viewing stands right at the river’s edge. In addition, Hindery said Hurricane Sandy, which devastated parts of the Northeast, "distracted everybody as well." Out of time and without the necessary approvals Ecclestone decided to drop the American Grand Prix from the ’13 F1 calendar. Hindery: "I think that Bernie made absolutely the right decision."

The public transport projects designed to modernize Brazilian cities for the 2014 World Cup "are being scaled back, delayed or cancelled as legal challenges, corruption and a lack of planning threaten to rob locals of the tournament's most lasting legacy," according to Andrew Downie of REUTERS. The 12 host cities, keen to use the event to overhaul aging urban infrastructure, "laid out ambitious plans to build new metro lines, monorails and dedicated bus lanes" but, with 15 months to go before the games kick off, "it seems unlikely that all the projects will come to fruition." Former Brazilian World Cup winner and now lawmaker in Brazil's Congress Romario said, "The much-discussed social legacy looks like it won't get off the drawing board. Almost all the transport projects are behind schedule, some have been put back and will be opened only after the World Cup and others have been cancelled altogether." Federal Audits Court who monitors World Cup planning official Valmir Campelo said that five cities -- Brasilia, Fortaleza, Manaus, Salvador and Sao Paulo -- "would not have the promised tram lines, express lanes for buses or metro links ready for the opening match on June 12." World Cup organizers "play down the setbacks and say the host cities are still being transformed." Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo argues that other big sporting events, such as the 2012 and 2008 Olympics, "had similar teething problems." Nevertheless, it "seems clear that the situation is not as rosy as it was supposed to be" (REUTERS, 3/5)

The German Hockey League (DEL) "will not host an outdoor Winter Game in '14, but it wants to pursue long-term goals with the outdoor game," according to HOCKEY WEB. The DEL and its 14 clubs decided that Winter Game, which made its debut in January, "will take place every other year." The first DEL Winter Game took place in front of 50,000 people at a sold out Nuremberg Stadium on Jan. 5. DEL CEO Gernot Tripcke said, "The event was a great success that we want to use to make hockey even more popular in Germany." The league "is currently working on bidding and awarding guidlines." The 2nd DEL Winter Games 2015 "will be awarded in the late summer" (HOCKEY WEB, 3/7).

The German Tennis Federation (DTB) "has withdrawn its application for a grass tournament at Hamburg's Rothenbaum," according to SPIEGEL ONLINE. The DTB said in a statement: "We couldn't identify an approach for a mutual solution during talks with our contract partner Michael Stich." The federation has submitted an application to the ATP to host a grass tournament in '15, but without the consent of Tournament Dir Stich. This leaves Stuttgart as the one remaining contender for the new grass event. Stuttgart Tounament Dir Edwin Weindorfer has traveled to the ATP tournament in Indian Wells, U.S. where he will have additional talks. Weindorfer said, "We know from the ATP and Wimbledon that we have submitted a strong bid." The ATP wants to make a decision about the host of the grass tournament, which will start in '15, by March 20. Besides Stuttgart, the other candidates are Gstaad, Switzerland and 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands (SPIEGEL ONLINE, 3/6).

Cardiff, Wales will be the host port for the Volvo Ocean Race in '17-18. Cardiff will host a stopover in the 13th edition of the race -- a move that "will see the world's premier round-the-world sailing race visit Wales for the first time" and mark its return to the U.K. for the first time in over a decade (WALES ONLINE, 3/6). ... The Harlem Globetrotters will play seven exhibition matches on consecutive nights in New Zealand in May. The basketball team will visit Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, Dunedin, New Plymouth, Napier and Nelson (NEW ZEALAND HERALD, 3/7). ... The New Zealand men's national softball team "will be backed by some of this country's biggest softball crowds" when they host Australia this weekend (NEW ZEALAND HERALD, 3/8). ... The Pakistan Cricket Board has finalized two possible slots this year for its Super League Twenty20 tournament which was due to start March 26, but has "now been indefinitely postponed." The tentative dates up for consideration are in August or before Pakistan flies to the West Indies on July 8 (PAKISTAN TODAY, 3/7).