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Volume 6 No. 216

Events and Attractions

Major League Baseball officials "have indicated their Australian experiment won't be a one-off if Sydney embraces next year's opening series," according to Adrian Proszenko of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. The L.A. Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks "will play a two-game series" at the Sydney Cricket Ground in March. The Dodgers' clash with Diamondbacks "has the potential to be one of the biggest sporting events in Sydney since the 2000 Olympics." MLB VP of Int'l Events Jim Pearce "is hopeful of a return trip if Sydney gets behind the fixtures on March 22 and 23." Pearce said, "The potential of what these games could mean to the future … it could go in a lot of positive directions for baseball in Australia. Coming back is our long-term strategy. We want to keep building on our successes. There's every opportunity that this could lead to more games here" (SMH, 6/14).

IN THE WORKS: In Sydney, Proszenko reported the MLB, the Australian Baseball League and Destination New South Wales have "been working on the project for several years." The negotiations have been "a highly guarded secret, with MLB officials threatening to scupper the deal if details were made public." Sydney-based sports event-marketing firm Moore Sports Dir Jason Moore said, "This will be the biggest sporting event in Sydney since the 2003 Rugby World Cup final." The move to Australia marks "just the sixth time that a series [has] been played outside the U.S., with three previously played in Japan" (SMH, 6/13). Australia Sport Minister Graham Annesley said, "The SCG will be transformed into an MLB field, with the construction of an infield clay area, pitcher's mound, dugouts and additional grandstand" (Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH, 6/13).

The America's Cup continues to cartwheel toward "ever-mounting disaster," according to Dana Johannsen of the NEW ZEALAND HERALD. Desperately "in need of an injection of confidence following last month's tragedy on San Francisco Bay, the beleaguered event is reeling from another series of setbacks, from which it is difficult to see it recovering." With Artemis still to launch their second boat, "they are unable to meet the July 7 start date for the Louis Vuitton challenger series." The result is we are "only likely to see five races in July, between two teams who have already been training against one another for the past eight months." The implications "are massive -- stadium tickets have had to be refunded, hospitality plans are in tatters, and economic benefits the event will have for San Francisco have been scaled back once more." It is "staggering to think how much air has already leaked out of the America's Cup hype balloon" (NZ HERALD, 6/13).

Phil Mickelson "has confirmed his participation" for the 2013 CIMB Classic, "which will be held at a new venue" -- the Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club in Malaysia -- from Oct. 24-27, according to BERNAMA. Event organizer CIMB Group said besides Mickelson, past champions Ben Crane, Bo Van Pelt and Nick Watney "have also confirmed their participation" (BERNAMA, 6/13). The AFP reported the $7M tournament -- up from $6.1M the year before -- will "make its debut as a fully-fledged PGA Tour FedExCup event" (AFP, 6/13). IANS reported the tournament "is co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour with the top-10 players from the Order of Merit qualifying." The course "also serves as the host of the European Tour and Asian Tour's co-sanctioned Malaysian Open for the past four years, as well as the LPGA Malaysia for the past three" (IANS, 6/13).

The All India Football Federation’s bid to host the 2017 U17 World Cup "received a major fillip" on Thursday when the Union Cabinet "gave its approval to the project." According to the agreement, the Central Government will provide Rs. 120 crore ($20.6M) for the venture, including Rs. 95 crore ($16.3M) to State Governments for upgrading the stadiums. The AIFF, in its proposal to the government, "has listed five states for hosting the matches" -- Delhi, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Karnataka and one among Assam, Goa and Kerala (THE HINDU, 6/13). ... McLaren F1 Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh "is not in favour of the F1 calendar being extended to 21 races." Whitmarsh said it will be "tough" for the teams. Next season, New Jersey is expected to make its F1 debut while Russia has a new race "pencilled in." Whitmarsh, though, "reckons that's definitely one event too many" (PLANET F1, 6/13). ... Phuket is "likely to be the venue" for Thailand's first F1 race in '15. Thailand Tourism and Sports Minister Somsak Pureesrisak said, "Phuket should be an ideal venue which meets our target to promote tourism. We still have time to prepare for the race" (BANGKOK POST, 6/13). ... The Russian city of Chelyabinsk "will host" the 2015 World Taekwondo Federation World Championships from Sept. 16-23 (XINHUA, 6/13).