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Volume 10 No. 23

Events and Attractions

Winemaker Bob Oatley and his son, Sandy, formally challenged the U.S. defenders, the Golden Gate Yacht Club, "for the 35th running" of the America's Cup, according to Rupert Guinness of THE AGE. On Tuesday, after the Oatleys confirmed that the "Hamilton Island Yacht Club had been accepted by the Golden Gate Yacht Club as the 'challenger of record' for the next Cup," Oatley recalled how skeptics "believed that flying catamarans would prove to be 'a flop.'" Oatley counted himself among the skeptics. The Oatleys now believe that "the catamaran will be the way to go when the next America's Cup is next held -- probably in three years." Bob Oatley said, "The whole program is moving so fast. [During] the last week of racing in San Francisco, the world's opinion of these boats [was that] they were so successful. Prior to that, a lot of people thought that they were a flop" (THE AGE, 10/2). In Sydney, Amanda Lulham reported Regatta Dir Iain Murray, a close friend of the Oatleys who "sails on their supermaxi Wild Oats," said, "It's great news, just great news." The date of the next America’s Cup, the type of boat to be raced, the format of the racing and the rules are "subject to negotiation between the Challenger of Record (Hamilton Island Yacht Club) and the Defender (Golden Gate Yacht Club)." The Defender, "under the Deed of Gift, gets to decide the venue." Both the "Challenger of Record and the Defender have already indicated they want multiple challengers and also to cut campaign costs" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 10/1).

Abu Dhabi's hospitality industry "is set to benefit from the increased tourism numbers driven by next month's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix," according to Sananda Sahoo of THE NATIONAL. Accommodation at the Yas Viceroy is already "sold out for the race week" from Nov. 1-3. Though the hotel did not reveal "how much the race week contributes to its annual revenue, it accounts for more revenue than any other comparable period over the year." L.A.-based Viceroy Hotel Group Regional President Anton Bawab said, "It's like my wedding day. I am in my best suit, standing at the door from 7am receiving guests." Tri Hospitality Consulting Senior Consultant Rashid Aboobacker said that "occupancy and average room rates for hotels on Yas Island are typically the highest in November, much of it because of the grand prix." Aboobacker: "Average monthly occupancy in November went up to nearly 80% last year, over 15 percentage points more than the average annual occupancy for these hotels" (THE NATIONAL, 9/30).

The MotoGP World Championship will not be making "its annual July stop at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca" in Monterey, Calif. in '14, according to the MONTEREY COUNTY HERALD. After a week of "speculation on motorcycle racing websites, the raceway confirmed the news Monday, marking the end of nine straight years Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway has played host to the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix, one of the track's biggest events." Laguna Seca GM Gill Campbell said that the decision, which will mean the MotoGP circuit "will have U.S. stops next year only in Indianapolis and Austin," was a "mutual agreement between Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and MotoGP parent company Dorna Sports." Campbell said that three U.S. events "is one too many." Campbell: "There is, frankly, not enough of everything to go around for three world championships in the United States." Though the event has "steadily drawn weekend crowds of 150,000," Campbell said that the event "has not been profitable for the past four years." Attendance "dipped this year and the licensing fee with Dorna is going up by $800,000 next year." Campbell said that it takes about $9M "to put on the event" (MONTEREY COUNTY HERALD, 9/30). The EFE reported the "mythical U.S. circuit is off the MotoGP World Championship 2014 calendar." Laguna Seca "had been the host of a race every year since '05." Campbell said, "Our proposal is to work hard to return the event to Monterey in the near future." In regards to the MotoGP World Championship, "it is expected that motorcycle governing body FIM will announce its provisional calendar for next year later this week" (EFE, 10/1).

Former German tennis player Michael Stich has together with the tennis club LTTC Rot-Weiß Berlin applied for a license to host a WTA tournament in Germany. The club facility last hosted a women's tournament in '08. Stich: "We have together with the club submitted an application to the WTA." Stich, who owns the Hamburg Sports & Entertainment agency, and the club want to host a WTA event starting in '15. The proposed tournament would take place after the French Open and ahead of Wimbledon. The event would be played on a grass surface. Stich: "I think it's a very interesting idea. Women's tennis is currently booming here, but we have a deficit in Germany because there aren't enough tournaments." Currently Germany plays host to two WTA events with the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart and the Nürnberger Versicherungscup in Nuremberg. However, there are doubts that the dilapidated facility of LTTC Rot-Weiß Berlin, which includes the 7,000-seat Steffi-Graf-Stadion, meets the requirements to host a pro tournament. Stich said, "You can renovate anything, and it is in the interest of the club and the city to change its condition" (SPONSORs).

Funding for Scots involved in sports featured in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow "has been increased" by more than 20%. Sportscotland said that "spending on the 17 sports will be more than" £38M ($62M) during '11-15, compared with around £31M in '07-11 (SCOTSMAN, 9/30). ... The Vietnam Football Federation said that the Yamaha ASEAN U13 Football Cup "will kick off in Vietnam's capital Hanoi" on Friday until Sunday, with participation of six teams from four countries. The tournament will include two teams from Indonesia, two teams from host Vietnam, and two teams each from Malaysia and Thailand (XINHUA, 10/1).