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Volume 6 No. 214

Events and Attractions

More than 170,000 seats were "left empty during Arsenal's home games last season, according to startling new figures which cast serious doubt on the Premier League's boast of record occupancy on the eve of the new campaign," according to Ben Rumsby of the London TELEGRAPH. Attendance for matches at the Emirates Stadium recorded by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), which "counts the number of spectators who turn up to games, contrasts sharply with the official figure released by the club, which is based on tickets sold." MPS data shows Arsenal recorded an "average attendance of 53,788 at the 60,338-capacity ground for all Arsenal matches last season," an occupancy figure of 89.1%. That is almost 10% lower than the 99.1% average "released by the club and would suggest an alarming number of no-shows for matches -- 173,945 in total" last season. Such stark figures are not limited to Arsenal either, with a similar freedom of information request to Greater Manchester Police last season "revealing it had recorded much lower attendances" for ManU matches at Old Trafford than the club, "the difference in one case being almost 25,000" (TELEGRAPH, 8/14).

The New South Wales government will invest A$10M ($9.3M) toward the staging of The Championships in '15, according to Brendan Cormick of THE AUSTRALIAN. NSW Premier Mike Baird, Racing Minister Troy Grant and Racing NSW Chair John Messara announced on Thursday that "the government would be renewing its support of Sydney’s autumn racing carnival event." Messara said that "the announcement would provide certainty to the industry, participants and sponsors and enable Racing NSW to maintain this year’s prizemoney levels for The Championships." Messara said, “I applaud the Premier and NSW government for seeing clear potential to build The Championships into a world class event.” The A$10M investment will, in part, "be directed towards a new permanent quarantine station to allow foreign horses to participate without needing to quarantine in Victoria." There "will also be a race for regional horses during the carnival and funds allocated to marketing and promotions aimed at maximising visitor numbers." Meanwhile, the South Australian Jockey Club "is set to dump jumps racing, describing it as detrimental to its brand" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/15).