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Volume 6 No. 212


British motor racing home Silverstone "has taken a major step towards securing its future," according to Kevin Eason of the LONDON TIMES. The British Racing Drivers' Club, which owns Silverstone, has announced a £32M ($51M) deal with property developer MEPC "that will allow development of the 800 acres around the Silverstone track." This is only the first move, "though, as a management buyout of the circuit is expected to be completed by the start of next month." MEPC, owned by the BT Pension Scheme and with a portfolio worth £700M ($1.1B), "moves onto Silverstone's industrial estate and land earmarked for development around the outside of the famous circuit with a 999-year lease." The £32M price for the lease will leave the BRDC debt-free after spending almost £40M ($63M) "carrying out massive improvements to Silverstone, mainly to hang onto the rights for the British Grand Prix, the nation's marquee motor racing event." The grand prix attracts 300,000 people over the three days of the event, "thought to be the biggest Formula One crowd of the year" (LONDON TIMES, 9/11). REUTERS' Alan Baldwin reported BRDC said in a statement that "the agreement does not include the management or development of Silverstone Circuit" (REUTERS, 9/11). AUTOSPORT reported BRDC Chair Stuart Rolt said that "MEPC had been carefully chosen." Rolt: "We have every confidence that their vision for our land will see the realization of a high-quality development, which will add to the ever growing status of Silverstone as a world-class center for motorsport and vehicle engineering" (AUTOSPORT, 9/11).

ManU has looked to "bitter rivals" Man City for inspiration as the team "looks to improve the match-day atmosphere around Old Trafford," according to Adam Crafton of the London DAILY MAIL. ManU is "currently planning to create a fanzone outside the club's iconic stadium" that will look to replicate the entertainment on offer in Man City's City Square, which is located outside Etihad Stadium and "has become hugely popular" with visitors. ManU has reportedly been "so taken by the success of City's initiative that they have recruited the same agency, Ear to the Ground, to recreate the zone." The area offers prematch entertainment, "with live bands, fresh food and coaching sessions for children." ManU also views it as an "opportunity to bring in further revenue and they will be hoping that the new entertainment zone will encourage supporters to spend more money" on matchdays and that it will also "provide the feel of a family day-out for fans." The club will "look to attract a commercial partner to sponsor the zone and will be looking to follow in the footsteps of City," which secured a three-year deal with BT Sport, with the all-purpose entertainment area "now known as BT City Square" (DAILY MAIL, 9/11).

La Liga Atlético Madrid CEO Miguel Angel Gil said that the team will leave "Vicente Calderón stadium in a move to its new stadium called 'La Peineta' for the '16-17 season," according to the EFE. Gil said, "We have the intention of finishing construction during the '15-16 season so the team can begin playing at its new stadium for the '16-17 season." Gil said that he was "confident that construction company FCC, which is in charge of the project, will not have any problems finishing by '15 despite Spain's economic crisis." Gil: "There is no reason for doubt or uncertainty that FCC will have the project done on time." Gil explained that the "demolition of Vicente Calderón is Atlético's responsibility due to an agreement signed with the Madrid City Council." Gil said that the "estimated cost of the demolition" would be €5M ($6.7M). Atlético's new stadium will seat "just less than 70,000 people and have 4,100 parking spaces" (EFE, 9/11).

A-League side Central Coast Mariners believes it will "take a huge step towards being financially secure if they win the right to become the first A-League club to run its own stadium," according to Tom Smithies of the Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH. The Mariners are in talks with Gosford City Council "to take over the running of Bluetongue Stadium" starting in February, after their initial tender "and those of what are believed to be two rival bidders were all judged inadequate by the council last week." Though it would require a "substantial increase in the Mariners’ operating infrastructure," team Owner Mike Charlesworth described the proposed venture as "pivotal to our sustainability" and promised to "invest his own money in developing the ground." The Mariners would take on the "existing staff running the stadium, but crucially would also take ownership of multiple revenue streams -- from the profit on beer sold at games, to the naming rights, plus fees for its potential use to host concerts and events." The sponsorship deal by which the stadium "carries the name of the Bluetongue Brewery has lapsed, meaning the successful bidder will be able to strike a new deal and keep the proceeds." Charlesworth said, "It's pivotal to the sustainability of the club -- I can't think of anything more important." Currently the Mariners, "as with all A-League clubs, receive money from ticket sales to their games but precious little of any other money spent at the stadium" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 9/12).