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Volume 10 No. 25

Events and Attractions

F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that "plans to host a Grand Prix in New Jersey were dealt a blow by several partners pulling out" of the $100M project, according to Christian Sylt for FORBES. The Grand Prix of America was "announced with great fanfare" in Oct. '11. Since the initial announcement, the F1 Group, which "holds the rights to the race series, has twice dropped the Grand Prix of America from its provisional calendar." The most recent bid to get a green light for the race came in April last year when the F1 Group provided a $10M loan to Port Imperial Racing Associates, which is organizing the Grand Prix and is led by private equity fund InterMedia Managing Partner Leo Hindery Jr. Ecclestone: "Two or three backers that Leo had had confirmed to me that they had an agreement with him and they were going to put the money up. If Leo had got the money or I had put the money up that race would have been on." Ecclestone recently said that he "doubted a race in New Jersey would ever happen." He said, "I don’t really think so. It is the same problems that it started with -- nothing has changed." Another source "close to the situation" said that "the local politicians are jumping into the 'lifeboats' and looking for ways to cover their political butts" (FORBES, 8/28).

Actor Russell Crowe's vision of an "expanded World Club Challenge will move a step closer to reality" when National Rugby League clubs South Sydney, Brisbane and "a third NRL team play the top three Super League clubs in England in February," according to Walter & Proszenko of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. The teams will fly to England after the NRL All Stars match at Suncorp Stadium and are "scheduled to play against the top three Super League clubs" on Feb. 20, 21 and 22 in what are "almost certain to be three sellout matches." Full details of the expanded tournament "are expected to be announced on Friday but it is understood the two third-ranked teams will meet on the Friday night, followed by the two second-ranked teams on Saturday, with the NRL and Super League premiers to play on Sunday." The decision to expand the World Club Challenge to six teams "may be the first move towards a Champions League-type tournament floated by Crowe four years ago" (SMH, 9/2).

The numbers for this year's A$6.2M ($5.8M) Melbourne Cup that were unfurled on Tuesday -- "148 total entries, with 31 stemming from overseas -- paint an intriguing picture," according to Adam Pengilly of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. In all, "horses trained in seven different countries are among first nominations." Naturally, "most attention will be narrowed on the Queen, who figures to end a 17-year Melbourne Cup absence if the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Estimate heads south." But for "all the frenzy a royal appearance would generate, it's unlocking old frontiers which must really please Melbourne Cup officials." Japanese-trained Admire Rakti and Bande are "confirmed visitors, no doubt rehashing memories of Delta Blues and Pop Rock running the quinella" in '06. Racing Victoria Exec GM of Racing Greg Carpenter said, "We have entries from seven countries and are excited to welcome Japanese participation for the first time since 2010, along with renewed interest from German trainers." The Melbourne Cup glow was "launched on the same day as the Sydney spring carnival, which was officially christened during a lavish function at Randwick" (SMH, 9/2). Pengilly reported in a separate piece Racing NSW Chair John Messara has "hailed the new series for provincial-based horses as filling a missing link in The Championships." Less than a fortnight after a A$1M series for country-based horses was added to next year's The Championships program, a "similar model for horses stemming from provincial regions was announced on Tuesday" (SMH, 9/2).

The NBA announced that three int'l teams, Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv and Maccabi Haifa from Israel and Brazilian club Flamengo, will travel to the U.S. and Canada for nine preseason games against nine NBA teams this October. The nine games are the most ever played by int'l teams on North American soil during one preseason. The games will tip off with Maccabi Tel Aviv taking on the Cleveland Cavaliers on Oct. 5 at Quicken Loans Arena (NBA).