2021 in review – January

The start of the year saw food, beverage, merchandise retail and stadium operations giant Legends sign an agreement for global investment firm Sixth Street to become its new majority owner.

The reported $1.35bn (£1.01bn/€1.19bn) deal granted Sixth Street a 51% stake in Legends. As part of the deal, Sixth Street leads the Legends partnership group alongside co-founders YGE Holdings, an affiliate of Major League Baseball’s New York Yankees, and Jones Concessions, an affiliate of NFL American football team the Dallas Cowboys.

Elsewhere, Chinese property company SuperGen Group commenced work on the development of a new esports hub in Shanghai that will include a 6,000-capacity arena.

The development will also serve as a new operations base for Chinese esports organisation Edward Gaming, a division of SuperGen. The Shanghai International Culture and Creative Esports Center will be located in the city’s Minhang District and will be completed in 2023.

Meanwhile, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) stripped the Belarusian capital of Minsk of co-hosting rights to its World Championship due to safety and security issues.

Minsk (pictured) had been due to stage the tournament alongside Riga, but the Latvian capital was ultimately handed sole hosting rights to the event. The IIHF said the decision to strip Belarus of hosting rights was “unavoidable”.

In sponsorship news, Q2 was awarded naming rights to the new home of Major League Soccer franchise Austin FC.

The multi-year deal named the venue Q2 Stadium. The facility, which opened in June, has a capacity of 20,500 and is also being used to host concerts and other events.

German financial services company Allianz also agreed a nine-year extension to its stadium naming-rights deal with French Ligue 1 football club OGC Nice.

Signed in 2012 for an initial nine-year duration, the contract was extended until 2030 with the new terms taking effect from July 1.

Image: Serecki/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size