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Volume 6 No. 212

Events and Attractions

Evidence shows that the public is "taking the opportunity to see Australia's first US Masters champion," according to Matt Murnane of THE AGE. Adam Scott is attempting to "conquer the unprecedented 'Scotty Slam' -- which is winning all three Australian Majors as well as this week's World Cup in the same summer." There have been "significant increases in attendances and TV ratings for the two tournaments that Scott has played in over the past fortnight." Even allowing for the fact that last week's Masters was "played at the fan-friendly Royal Melbourne Golf Club, promoters were buoyed" by an almost 10% increase in crowd attendances compared to last year. Last year, only pay-TV subscribers could "watch the Australian Masters on Foxtel." The tournament's organizers have "already begun fielding offers from sponsors ahead of next year's Masters." Channel Seven "posted an average audience figure of 448,000 and a combined average metro and regional audience of 695,000." A comparison of those figures against past ratings supplied by TV Tonight showed that "this year's Masters was a bigger hit with viewers than the Masters tournaments in which Tigers Woods was the star attraction" in '09 and '10 (THE AGE, 11/20).

The Int'l Cricket Council confirmed that Real-Time Snickometer will be part of the Decision Review System in the upcoming Ashes series, which begins in Brisbane on Thursday. The decision-making technology that will be used as part of the Nine Network's coverage of the Ashes includes Virtual Eye, Hot Spot and RTS. Both Virtual Eye and Hot Spot are on the list of approved DRS technologies and can be used by TV umpires in any series in which they are available (ICC). In Sydney, Chris Barrett reported after a series in England in which the third-umpiring technology and the standard of officiating left players frustrated, the ICC "has moved to restore confidence by adding a device it believes, in conjunction with others, will provide more certainty in determining whether batsmen are out." But there "have been questions raised about the wisdom of trialling the new DRS tool in such a huge series." The umpires involved in the series -- the third official at the Gabba is South Africa's Marais Erasmus -- "were training on how to make decisions with the real-time Snicko at the ground on Tuesday" (THE AGE, 11/20). The AP reported Snickometer was "previously used on TV broadcasts but not available to umpire reviews of disputed calls during tests." The report quoted Channel Nine Exec Producer of Cricket Brad McNamara as saying that the cricket boards of England and Australia "agreed to use Snicko," which graphically represents ball touching bat, and the ICC "would use the broadened DRS system for the Ashes series as a trial" (AP, 11/19).

Rugby Football Union CEO Ian Ritchie "is trying to restart negotiations" over the future of a European club tournament after weeks of deception by the Pro12 unions, according to Paul Rees of the London GUARDIAN. Three meetings scheduled for this month have been postponed because the unions "are reluctant to address the issue of governance." The clubs, who last year gave notice that they would be pulling out of the Heineken Cup, are "organizing a replacement tournament, the Rugby Champions Cup, and insist it will be run by clubs." The French Rugby Federation "has been obstructive towards the new tournament," saying among other things that it would "flout French law." The Pro12 unions "have been waiting to see whether the Top 14 clubs will be persuaded to commit" to European Rugby Cup. The Pro12 unions "have complained that they have not seen details" of the TV deal secured by Premiership Rugby with BT Sport. However, the RFU "has." The clubs maintain that the contract will boost income by 50%, "leaving all six countries better off." The four Welsh regions are "meeting this week to discuss the implications of the impasse." One club official said, "This is a key moment. At the moment, it could go either way but the longer there is a delay, the greater the chance of the three Celtic unions and Italy suffering a big drop in revenue next season because there will be no Europe" (GUARDIAN, 11/19).