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USATF Brings Track Back to Madison Square Garden

USATF launches U.S. Open at Madison Square Garden; Lagat returns to Garden for men’s mile



NEW YORK – Track & Field will return to the country’s premier
sports and entertainment venue for the 99th year on Saturday, January
28, when the U.S. Open Track & Field at Madison Square Garden kicks
off USA Track & Field’s 2012 Visa Championship Series, USATF
announced Thursday.

© Errol Anderson

Garden legend Bernard Lagat will headline in the men’s mile in a USA
Track & Field meet that promises to showcase the best of the
sport’s tradition in a streamlined in-stadium and broadcast
presentation.  The U.S. Open will be the first track meet to be held in
The Garden following the completion of the first phase of the
building’s historic, top-to-bottom, three-year Transformation, and will
be the first major professional meet in the United States as the 2012
Olympic Year gets
under way.

“Madison
Square Garden feels like home to me, and I am so happy to be coming
back in 2012,” said Lagat, a 2-time Olympic medalist and the American
record holder who has won eight 1-mile races in the Garden. “I can’t
think of a better place to kick off the Olympic year. I look forward to
seeing the New York track fans who have supported me for so many years,
many new fans in the new Garden.”

The U.S. Open will be broadcast on ESPN from 7-9 p.m. Eastern on
January 29 and is part of USATF’s most aggressive TV schedule in years.

Garden Party

Though Lagat will be a familiar face, plenty will be “new” at the U.S.
Open, including the newly completed first phase of The Garden
Transformation, a new schedule of events, and new ticket prices.  With
tickets priced from $15 to $75, a wide range of sports fans will be
able to see a historic sport held in a state-of-the-art sports and
entertainment venue.

Fans can expect traditionally popular events to be contested, such as
the men’s mile and a full slate of professional events, as well as
select high school fan favorites. The full schedule will be announced
by December 1.

“The U.S. Open will provide the fast-paced, exciting meet expected at
every MSG event,” USATF Interim CEO Mike McNees said. “This will be a
tightly scheduled meet featuring the ‘best of the best’ from past
Garden meets while providing a fitting kick-off to the 2012 Olympic
year. We are excited about our partnership with The Garden and are
especially glad that everyone from kids to families to VIPs will be
able to access the meet.”

“Track and field has a long standing history at Madison Square Garden
spanning nearly 100 years and has played an important role in the
building’s status as The World’s Most Famous Arena,” said Scott O’Neil,
president, MSG Sports. “We are excited to continue our partnership with
USA Track & Field and launch the U.S. Open at Madison Square
Garden. This new event will kick-off the 2012 Olympic year and provide
fans with a look at some of the top athletes in the sport, including
legendary runner and Garden
crowd favorite Bernard Lagat, as they begin their race toward London.”

Visa Championship Series on the air

USATF’s 2012 Indoor Visa Championship Series will continue with the New
Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston on Feb. 4 and the 2012 USA Indoor
Track & Field Championships in Albuquerque, N.M., Feb. 25-26, where
athletes will qualify for the Team USA squad that will compete in March
at the IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships in Istanbul,
Turkey.

All told, indoors and outdoors, the 2012 Visa Championship Series will
feature five hours of coverage on NBC, six on ESPN and two on ESPN as
the Visa Championship Series tees up the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials
– Track & Field. The Olympic Trials will be broadcast entirely on
NBC and its affiliates.

Tickets, starting as low as $15.00, will go on sale to the general
public on Wednesday, November 30 at 12:00pm. Tickets will be available
at the MSG Box Office, Ticketmaster charge at 866-858-0008, all
Ticketmaster outlets, and THEGARDEN.com. Annual MSG Track & Field
subscribers can contact 212-465-6073. USA Track & Field is proud to
accept only Visa.

For information on the Visa Championship Series, including the U.S.
Open and TV information, visit www.VisaChampionshipSeries.com

About USA Track & Field

USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track
& field, long-distance running and race walking in the United
States. USATF encompasses the world’s oldest organized sports, the
World’s #1 Track & Field Team, the most-watched events at the
Olympics, the #1 high school and junior high school participatory
sport, and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States: www.usatf.org.

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