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All England, all the time

In honor of British junior welterweight boxer Ricky Hatton, who is in town to fight Paulie Malignaggi on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden, Leftovers brings news from home to Hatton and his supporters.

We start with tennis, where the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club will pay 55 million pounds ($82.8 million U.S.) to get full ownership of the site of the Wimbledon championships by buying the stake of the sport’s national governing body.

The AELTC, which runs the tournament, will get the Lawn Tennis Association’s 50 percent holding in the company that owns the site after 2013.

The LTA has had its stake since 1934, and both parties have worked together to promote British tennis since 1922. Under the current agreement that ends in 2013, the AELTC runs the tournament while the LTA gets 100 percent of the event’s proceeds and puts it back into developing the sport in Britain.

ON SOLID FOOTING — Tim Phillips, chairman of the All England Club, said the Wimbledon tennis championships will weather the current economic crisis better than other sporting events because of long-term contracts and its popularity.

“We have multiyear contracts in place on important revenue streams such as television contracts, while ticket demand usually well exceeds supply,” he said.

The slowing global economy has affected tennis, soccer and Formula One racing. The BNP Paribas Masters tennis event in Paris lost a sponsor because of the credit crunch, while the Dutch tennis open was sold to the family of Australian Open winner Novak Djokovic after it failed to find a new sponsor.

MUST PROTEST — In Hatton’s hometown of Manchester, a group of Manchester United fans has asked the U.K. Office of Fair Trading to investigate the Premier League soccer club’s ticketing policy.

The Manchester United Supporters Trust says the club has breached the 1998 Competition Act and its “statutory and legal obligations to season-ticket holders.”

The group’s argument centers on United’s compulsory Cup plan — which forces season-ticket holders to agree to purchase seats for Cup matches — and on rising prices, MUST said in a statement. The fans group opposed Malcolm Glazer‘s 2005 purchase of the club, which currently is the English and European champion.

“We’ve seen unfair terms and huge ticket price rises imposed on supporters by clubs taking advantage of their loyalty,” MUST chief executive Duncan Drasdo said in the statement. “For a long time, Manchester United was by no means the worst offender, having previously had an admirable policy of keeping prices relatively low despite the success of the club. All that changed when the Glazers took over.”

The group also claims prices have increased by an average of just less than 60 percent since the Glazer family took over.

Sounds like a page from the Glazers’ NFL playbook. The Glazers own the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.


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