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Volume 10 No. 25

Events and Attractions

The Red Bull Air Race World Championship “will make a comeback after a three-year hiatus in February,” according to the SID. Defending world champion Paul Bonhomme from the U.K. and 11 additional pilots “will compete at seven events in six countries.” German pilot Matthias Dolderer said, “I’m expecting an interesting season with cool locations.” At Red Bull Air Race events, pilots “have to race an obstacle course of 25-meter high pylons.” The air-racing series “is all about speed, precision and skill” (SID, 10/8). Of the seven races, two will take place in the U.S. The world championship will be back with three former World Champions in the 12-pilot field after taking a three-year break to improve safety and reorganize. For '14, there will be a number of technical improvements to increase safety, including standard engines and propellers for all pilots, changes to the lightweight nylon pylon material (making it easier for them to burst apart if they are clipped by plane wings) and raising the height of the pylons that the pilots pass through from 65-80 feet. The high-G 270-degree "Quatro" turn through a set of four pylons used in previous years has been eliminated due to the exceedingly high g-force it exerts on the planes and pilots. Another safety feature and highlight is the new Challengers Cup competition that will be introduced in '14. This stepping-stone competition will give new pilots experience racing under less pressure on the day before the Red Bull Air Race (Red Bull). In Petaling Jaya, Tan Shiow Chin wrote for the first time ever, "Malaysia will be hosting a leg of the Red Bull Air Race World Championships." Putrajaya "was announced as the site for the second leg of the 2014 Championships at the launch of the event at the Putrajaya Marina" (THE STAR, 10/8).

English rugby clubs have been warned that they are "taking a major financial gamble by forming a breakaway tournament with French clubs," and will miss out on an extra €10M ($13.57M) next season in Heineken Cup revenues "if they press ahead with 'a start-up tournament' with 'a start-up broadcaster,'" according to Gavin Mairs of the London TELEGRAPH. European Rugby Cup CEO Derek McGrath, whose organization governs the Heineken and Amlin Challenge Cups, said that the "English and French clubs risked missing out" on a 20% "increase in total income," rising from €52M ($71M) this season to €62M ($84.1M) in the "first season of a new accord." The ERC, however, is "still hoping to bring all the European stakeholders to the negotiating table at the end of this month, having appointed Canadian mediator Graham Mew to find a resolution." McGrath warned that it would be "highly risky" for both the "England clubs and their players to walk away from the Heineken Cup" to a "start-up tournament" that had yet to be approved by the Int'l Rugby Board or the Rugby Football Union. McGrath: "The major difficulty if the English clubs go elsewhere is that the revenues there are estimates. They are based at most on something from the BT [Sport] contract which nobody has yet got details of" (TELEGRAPH, 10/7).

The NFL on Tuesday announced a third regular-season game in London for '14, building on two this year. There had been one game in prior years since the league began playing in the U.K. in '07. The Raiders, Falcons and Jaguars each will be a home team next year at Wembley Stadium. The Jaguars are playing one game a year in London for four years starting later this month. The Falcons' inclusion is somewhat surprising given the home teams largely have been those with some struggles selling out games. The dates and away teams will be announced later this season.

Milan's San Siro stadium "will stage the Heineken Cup final" for the first time in '15 provided an agreement "is reached on a new European club rugby accord." English and French rugby clubs announced last month that they "planned to set up their own competition after running out of patience with stalled negotiations over the future of the Heineken Cup" (REUTERS, 10/7). ... The Malaysian Grand Prix, which will be held at the Sepang Int'l Circuit (SIC) on Sunday, "can expect a bumper turnout." SIC CEO Datuk Razlan Razali said that, as of Monday, they had sold 90% of the 80,000 tickets for Sunday’s race (THE STAR, 10/8). ... Southeast Asian Games host Myanmar is planning to hold opening and closing ceremonies "on a grand scale" in December, meeting Asian standards. The SEA Games opening ceremony "will feature advanced technologies with the help of technical assistance by about 200 Chinese experts." The opening and closing ceremonies will be staged at Wunna Theikdi stadium in Nay Pyi Taw (XINHUA, 10/8).