Banc of California Paid $20 Million to End L.A. Soccer Stadium Name Agreement (EXCLUSIVE) — Variety

Banc of California is paying a $20.1 million fee for the right to end its stadium-naming deal with professional soccer team Los Angeles Football Club 12 years early. The bank and Major League Soccer club on Tuesday said they were unwinding the 15-year, $100 million deal that began in 2018. By the time the agreement…

Banc of California Paid $20 Million to End L.A. Soccer Stadium Name Agreement (EXCLUSIVE) — Variety
Banc of California is paying a $20.1 million fee for the right to end its stadium-naming deal with professional soccer team Los Angeles Football Club 12 years early.
The bank and Major League Soccer club on Tuesday said they were unwinding the 15-year, $100 million deal that began in 2018. By the time the agreement expires at the end of the year, Banc of California will have paid more than $35 million for the right to have its name on the venue, the company said in an SEC filing.
Collecting the termination fee, akin to three years’ worth of the current payments, will help buoy the team as it seeks another naming rights partner amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has halted play in the major U.S. sports leagues.
“The good news with naming rights is that those companies typically look at these deals as long-term investments,” LAFC president Tom Penn said.
LAFC negotiated the original naming rights deal as the $350 million stadium project was starting construction, pitching sponsors with renderings and projected metrics.




Penn said LAFC will have the advantage this time of negotiating with a fully operational stadium, which has sold out every MLS game and which will hold events during the 2028 Summer Olympics.



The team and league are also in a different place financially. LAFC owners, a group that includes Apollo Global Management senior partner Larry Berg and Riot Games co-founder Brandon Beck, recently bought back a share of the team at a league-record $700 million valuation.

With season officially done, Leafs can look ahead to possible return, Columbus series — Toronto Sun

Rick Vaive’s Maple Leafs record is safe. Read More

With season officially done, Leafs can look ahead to possible return, Columbus series — Toronto Sun
By Terry Koshan

Rick Vaive’s Maple Leafs record is safe.

For now.

With the news — which was expected — on Tuesday afternoon that the 2019-20 National Hockey League regular season is over, Auston Matthews’ charge for the Leafs’ franchise goal-scoring mark will have to wait until the 2020-21 season.
Vaive’s 54 goals in 1981-82 will remain the most in team history.

When the NHL went on pause on March 12, Matthews had 47 goals in 70 games, with 50 a true probability and a shot at Vaive’s record perhaps a little more difficult.

Matthews will score 50 at some point, and we would bet he eventually breaks Vaive’s record. And not that Matthews would require it, but he can take solace in the fact he led the Leafs in scoring with 80 points, the first time since he was an NHL rookie in 2016-17 that he finished a season as the Leafs’ scoring champ. In the two seasons in between, Mitch Marner led the Leafs in scoring. Count on one of the two finishing atop the Leafs for the foreseeable future.

Anyway, the confirmation of the conclusion of the regular season was one of several highlights in NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s return-to-play announcements from the comfort of his own home on Tuesday. In a following interview on the Tim & Sid Show on Sportsnet, Bettman said there’s “light at the end of the tunnel” for the NHL as it puts plans in place to return in the midst of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

It’s expected the NHL will begin Phase 2 of the return to play in early June, with players moving back to their home facilities for voluntary, small-group, on- and off-ice training.

Phase 3, if the green light is given by medical and civil authorities, would include formal training camps, but not earlier than the first half of July.

Phase 4 would include what players and fans have been pining for since the NHL went on pause on March 12: The competition for the Stanley Cup with 12 teams in two hub cities, of which Toronto remains one of 10 in contention.

Bettman stressed the health and safety of players and club personnel was paramount, and the timing for the start of Phase 4 is to be determined.

Of course, the plans to return to play are at the whim of the coronavirus. It could be that we don’t see the NHL again until the start of the 2020-21 season, and there’s no certainty as to when that would be.

Let’s assume the NHL’s plans fall into place as the league hopes, even if there are moving dates on the calendar.

Toronto ended the season with a record of 36-25-9 for 81 points, including going 27-15-5 under Sheldon Keefe after the firing of Mike Babcock last November.

The Leafs, seeded eighth in the Eastern Conference based on points percentage, indeed, would play the ninth-seed Columbus Blue Jackets in the play-in qualifying round, with the best-of-five representing the first post-season matchup of the teams.

To put it simply, the series would pit the Leafs’ high-octane offence (their 3.39 goals a game was third in the NHL) against the Blue Jackets’ stifling, nose-to-the-grindstone defence (their 2.61 goals-against a game tied for third-fewest in the NHL).

We wouldn’t want to take anything away from Keefe, but the Jackets would have an edge behind the bench in coach John Tortorella, considering his NHL experience compared to Keefe (1,327), but we would take Frederik Andersen over Elvis Merzlikins or Joonas Korpisalo in goal.

Both teams would be close to full health, and for Toronto, getting defenceman Jake Muzzin and forward Ilya Mikheyev, who were injured when the season was paused, back for the penalty-kill would be crucial.

The Leafs and Jackets were to play each other on March 21 for the third and final time of the season. They met twice, with each team winning once, but not since Oct. 21.

Individually, the Leafs had some good things going for them when play was halted. Matthews was Matthews; Marner wound up with 67 points in 59 games, and captain John Tavares finished with 60 points in 63 games, giving him 148 in 145 in his first two seasons with Toronto. William Nylander and Zach Hyman shone, and Rasmus Sandin was taking steps on the blue line.

The final dozen games, record-wise, summed up the Leafs’ season to a degree. There were inconsistencies as they went 6-5-1, winning their final game against Tampa Bay after going 0-2-1 on a three-game trip through California that produced only three goals.

We buy into what many players have said during the past two months — that teams that are the youngest and most-skilled would have the best shot out of the gate. The Leafs would glide effortlessly into that category.

Now let’s keep our fingers crossed that the NHL positives revealed on Tuesday become reality in the coming months.

tkoshan@postmedia.com

LeBron James, other Lakers express frustration on social media over death of George Floyd — Daily News

Another death of a black man in police custody has angered people around the NBA, including Lakers star LeBron James. A video of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling atop the neck of a man named George Floyd who later died circulated through news and social media circles. James weighed in on Instagram, posting a still…

LeBron James, other Lakers express frustration on social media over death of George Floyd — Daily News

Damian Lillard Won’t Play In NBA Return If Blazers Don’t Have Playoff Shot — NESN.com

As the NHL on Tuesday announced its plan to scrap the regular season and delve right into a 24-team postseason, the NBA hasn’t gotten as far with its comeback in regards to return-to-play formats. The league surveyed its GMs to get a feel for how each team feels, but some players are taking it upon…

Damian Lillard Won’t Play In NBA Return If Blazers Don’t Have Playoff Shot — NESN.com

As the NHL on Tuesday announced its plan to scrap the regular season and delve right into a 24-team postseason, the NBA hasn’t gotten as far with its comeback in regards to return-to-play formats. The league surveyed its GMs to get a feel for how each team feels, but some players are taking it upon themselves to publicly voice their opinions too. Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers, for example, on Tuesday made it known that if the NBA doesn’t return with a structure that gives his team a shot at the playoffs, he won’t participate. “If we come back and they’re just like, ‘We’re adding a few games to finish the regular season,’ and they’re throwing us out there for meaningless games and we don’t have a true opportunity to get into the playoffs, I’m going to be with my team because I’m a part of the team,” Lillard told Yahoo Sports. “But I’m not going to be participating. I’m telling you that right now. And you can put that in there.” It makes sense that he wouldn’t want to risk injury, or the chance of getting sick, for meaningless basketball. The Blazers currently sit at No. 9 in the Western Conference, 3.5 games out of the eighth and final playoff spot currently inhabited by the Memphis Grizzlies. “If we come back and I don’t have an opportunity to make the playoffs, I will show up to work, I’ll be at practice and I’ll be with my team. I’m going to do all that and then I’m going to be sitting right on that bench during the games,” Lillard said. “If they come back and say it’s something like a tournament, play-in style, between the No. 7 and No. 12 seeds, if we’re playing for playoff spots, then I think that’s perfect.” There is no return format that will please everyone while still putting safety concerns at highest priority, but until it nails those logistics down, no other big decisions can really be made. We’ll see what the league comes up with.

Read more at: https://nesn.com/2020/05/damian-lillard-wont-play-in-nba-return-if-blazers-dont-have-playoff-shot/