The U.K. government "is under pressure to step in" to save the British Formula 1 Grand Prix after Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton "roared to victory in front of one of the biggest sporting crowds of the year," according to the London EVENING STANDARD. More than 120,000 fans filled Silverstone on Sunday. U.K. Culture Secretary Karen Bradley presented the trophy to Hamilton and "left the home of British motor racing in no doubt" that the race is a "centrepiece event" in the nation's calendar. F1 CEO Chase Carey showed Bradley around the garages and "underlined the massive contribution to Britain’s technology industries made by F1’s teams." But Silverstone’s "shaky future comes amid claims that London could yet snatch the race away." A bid "emerged from the shadows as the Silverstone event got away, calling itself the London GP company." Unlike a "much-vaunted race in London’s Docklands, which appears to have no basis in fact," the London GP outfit made "extravagant claims" for a race that would attract 100,000 fans, including 60,000 in the stadium, "with a music festival as part of the festivities." The company claimed the race would generate £82.5M ($107.7M) and "not require any government funding." It "would not compete with Silverstone but be a new event" (EVENING STANDARD, 7/17).
Events and Attractions
China is to host the "richest ever rugby sevens tournament," with the top eight finishers from the '16-17 World Rugby Sevens Series to fight it out in the "Champion of Champions" in Shanghai in October, according to Josh Ye of the SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST. The tournament, which is a "similar concept" to the eight-player ATP Finals in tennis, is "part of a push to grow rugby in the country." It "is hoped having the likes of Fiji, South Africa and New Zealand strut their stuff will help put the relatively unknown sport on the map." Event host Alisports VP Wei Quanming said, "On October 20 or late October, we will invite eight teams with the best records to Shanghai." Earlier in the year, World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper said that the tournament would feature the "highest ever prize money we have seen in sevens." Last October, the company invested $100M over 10 years with the aim of "attracting a million new players within five years." Wei said that Alisports, which is engaged in a long-term partnership with the Chinese Rugby Football Association, will "remain focused on growing the sport from the ground up despite leading off with a world-class tournament." He said, "Our main focus is still to develop home-grown stars" (SCMP, 7/17).
Demand for tickets to the Women’s Cricket World Cup final "has been so high" that Marylebone Cricket Club released more for public sale "in areas of the stadium usually reserved for its members." Before the tournament started, the Int'l Cricket Council sold 13,000 tickets for the final, which takes place at Lord’s on Sunday, "but demand has soared since the group stages" and all available tickets are "expected to be sold by the weekend." There will still be about 2,000 seats reserved for MCC members "but the rest of the stadium, about 26,000, will be for the general public" (LONDON TIMES, 7/17).
Football Federation Australia claimed it wanted the Socceroos to play Thailand at Suncorp Stadium until the Queensland government withdrew its bid to host the World Cup qualifier. The "blame game continues" after FFA’s confirmation over the weekend that the Sept. 5 match will take place at Melbourne's AAMI Park. The state government, via Tourism & Events Queensland, insisted an offer was made "in good faith" to host the Socceroos-Thailand match. But FFA said that the offer was taken off the table by TEQ due to "commercial" issues understood to include ground signage (Brisbane COURIER-MAIL, 7/17).
Afghanistan replaced Australia in a development tour of South Africa "after the latter pulled out due to a pay dispute" between its players and board. Australia's "A" team, captained by Usman Khawaja, was scheduled to play two four-day matches and a 50-over tri-series against India and South Africa on the tour. Afghanistan will now join South Africa and India for the series starting later this month (REUTERS, 7/17).
Kazan, Russia, and Budapest, Hungary, were awarded the rights to host the 2022 and 2024 FINA World Swimming Championships, respectively. Hong Kong and Taipei City, Taiwan, were the other two candidates (FINA).