2019 In Review – April

Tottenham’s first-ever game at its new 62,062-seat stadium ended in a 2-0 Premier League victory over Crystal Palace.

The win brought to an end Spurs’ fans wait to return ‘home’ after spending almost two full seasons at Wembley while work on the new stadium was carried out. A crowd of 59,215 attended the match.

Prior to the game, Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy wrote an open letter to supporters welcoming them ‘home’, with the new stadium having been built next to the old White Hart Lane, which staged its final match on May 14, 2017. Levy earlier confirmed the stadium would come with a price tag of around £1bn (€1.17bn/$1.32bn).

In what was a month of stadium openings, Bankwest Stadium, the new home of NRL rugby league club Parramatta Eels and A-League football team Western Sydney Wanderers, staged its first game.

The sixth round of the NRL Premiership saw the Eels christen their new home in style with an impressive 51-6 victory over Wests Tigers.

The 30,000-seat stadium welcomed 29,047 rugby league fans through its gates, with NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg hailing Bankwest Stadium as a “game-changer.”

Meanwhile, Minnesota United christened Allianz Field after drawing 3-3 with New York City FC under the lights at its new Major League Soccer (MLS) home.

The 19,400-seat, $250m (£189m/€220m) stadium in Saint Paul broke ground in June 2017 and was turned over to the club from construction manager Mortenson in February.

Real Madrid approved a financing package for the redevelopment of Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, with US financial services giants J.P Morgan and Bank of America Merrill Lynch to lead the €575m (£496.9m/$650.6m) loan.

Real will pay off the loan over a 30-year period, with a fixed interest rate of 2.5%. Key Capital Partners acted as the financial advisor and coordinator of the financing project for the club.

The financing was structured by J.P Morgan and Bank of America Merrill Lynch with the collaboration of Banco Santander and Société Générale. CaixaBank was the agent in the transaction.

The Association of Tennis Professionals announced that Turin’s Pala Alpitour will replace The O2 in London as home of its ATP Finals from 2021.

A five-year deal was agreed, running from 2021 to 2025. The move to Turin will bring the ATP Finals to Italy for the first time in its 50-year history and makes Turin the 15th city to host the season-ending tournament of the men’s game since its inception in 1970.

In other hosting news, the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) awarded rights for the 2020 Copa América to Argentina and Colombia, with the national team tournament set to undergo a major revamp for next year’s edition.

Soft drinks manufacturer Coca-Cola agreed a long-term deal to take on naming rights to the Dubai Arena, which opened its doors in June.

Under the 10-year deal, the 17,000-seat facility became the Coca-Cola Arena. The arena is the largest indoor facility of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Other significant naming rights deals were struck this month involving the Cleveland Cavaliers, Protective Stadium, Christchurch Stadium, Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks and AaB.

The Indiana Pacers’ long-term future was tied to Indianapolis after an agreement was reached involving extensive improvements for the NBA basketball franchise’s Bankers Life Fieldhouse arena.

The Marion County Capital Improvement Board of Managers (CIB), which oversees Indianapolis’ professional sports stadia, approved a resolution authorising funding for the first long-term contract agreement with a major league sports team in the city with no new taxes or fees.

The 25-year agreement includes $360m (£274.6m/€318.3m) for capital improvements comprised of an estimated $270m from state and CIB sources and $65m of private investment from the team’s ownership group, Pacers Sports & Entertainment.

Meanwhile, NHL ice hockey team the Minnesota Wild committed to an early 10-year extension of its lease deal for Xcel Energy Center through an agreement that is set to see its rent payments decrease at the Saint Paul arena.

The original lease between the City of Saint Paul and the Wild was scheduled to run through 2025, but the new agreement with the council takes this through to 2035.

Image: Tottenham Hotspur