Brighton & Hove Albion and Chelsea became the first English Premier League football teams to play in front of fans in almost six months after the UK Government added their pre-season friendly to a list of test events. Some 2,500 tickets were available for the game at Brighton’s Amex Stadium after the government announced a tranche of test events across major sports to pilot the safe return of spectators.
Capital One Arena, home of the Washington Wizards NBA basketball team and the Washington Capitals NHL ice hockey franchise, set a first for a US sports facility after William Hill officially opened a sportsbook at the venue. The opening coincided with the return of the NBA and NHL following the COVID-19-enforced suspension. The opening came after Monumental Sports & Entertainment, the parent company of the Wizards, Capitals and Capital One Arena, teamed up with William Hill in 2019.
Billionaire Dan Friedkin sealed a €591m deal to acquire Italian Serie A football club AS Roma from fellow American James Pallotta. The takeover was secured amid ongoing uncertainty over Roma’s plans for a new stadium, with the project having faced a string of delays. Roma shares the Stadio Olimpico with cross-city rival Lazio, and Pallotta had a long-held vision for the club to move into the proposed 52,500-seat Stadio della Roma, which would be located in the Tor di Valle district.
Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers confirmed plans to begin life at their stunning new $5bn SoFi Stadium without fans in attendance. After consulting with state and local health officials, the Rams, Chargers and stadium officials announced that home games at the 70,000-capacity venue “will be held without fans in attendance until further notice” due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Several other teams had already announced they would kick-off the 2020-21 season behind closed doors, including the Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals.
The Helsinki Olympic Stadium reopened following a reported €350m revamp. The venue, which originally hosted the Summer Olympic Games in 1952, had been closed for the extensive redevelopment work since 2016. The first sporting event scheduled for the 36,200-capacity stadium was the opening match of the National League Women’s Finnish Football Championship Series.