Real Madrid have signed a stadium management deal for the Santiago Bernabeu worth €360 million ($381 million), the club said Thursday.
The agreement was reached with investment firm Sixth Street and “experiences company” Legends, which specializes in organizing sports and other events and is partly owned by Sixth Street.
The deal with the US-based companies comes with Madrid close to signing Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe, who would arrive as a free agent but command a club-record salary. One of soccer’s top stars, the 23-year-old Mbappe’s contract with PSG expires at the end of this season.
Real Madrid said the money from the deal can be invested in “any of the club’s activities.”
Madrid have not signed any top players in the last few transfer windows and currently hold the league’s highest spending limit at €739 million ($783 million).
The club this season won a record-extending 35th Spanish league title and will be looking to win a record-extending 14th European trophy when it faces Liverpool in the Champions League final on May 28 in Paris.
Sixth Street acquired the right to participate in the operation of certain new businesses of the Bernabeu for 20 years, Madrid said. The exact stake the company will have was not immediately disclosed by the club.
Legends, meanwhile, “will contribute its experience and knowledge in the operation of large stadiums and leisure centers, allowing for the optimization of the management” of the stadium.
“This alliance with Sixth Street and Legends, world leaders in their respective disciplines, will be fundamental in providing unique experiences in a stadium where multiple events can be hosted throughout the year,” Madrid said in a statement. “This agreement strengthens our goal of continuing to significantly increase the stadium’s revenues from both sporting and other types of events.”
Sixth Street said it manages over $60 billion in assets globally and is also linked to the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA, as well as to Airbnb and Spotify. Last year it invested a majority stake in Legends, which was formed in 2008 by affiliates of the New York Yankees and the Dallas Cowboys.
“Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu is hallowed ground in the world of football, and we are honored to be joining this partnership to invest in the innovative, long-term strategic vision that has guided the club’s consistent success over its storied history,” said Alan Waxman, co-founder and CEO of Sixth Street.
The Bernabeu is undergoing major renovation, getting a new roof, modern video screens and a retractable field in a project that was expected to cost close to €1 billion ($1.05 billion). The goal was to have it completed by the end of the year. Last season, the team played at the small Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium at the club’s training center. The renovation work was expedited as fans were not allowed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Madrid rival Barcelona will also renovate their Camp Nou Stadium. It recently reached a naming rights deal for the venue with streaming company Spotify believed to be worth €400 million ($424 million) over 12 seasons.
Barcelona and Madrid did not join in the Spanish league’s deal with private equity firm CVC, which will bring in about €2 billion ($2.1 billion) in investment to Spanish clubs. They say the deal gives too much power to CVC over the clubs’ television rights deals for the next five decades.
Veteran Sjostrom, teenager McIntosh complete golden doubles at swimming worlds
Sarah Sjostrom, who has been winning world titles for 13 years, and Summer McIntosh, who has been winning them for four days, both collected their second gold medals of the week in Budapest on Saturday.
Sjostrom, a 28-year-old Swede who won the 50m butterfly less than 24 hours earlier, added the 50m freestyle, her 10th world gold.
McIntosh, a Canadian 15-year-old, held off 16-year-old American Katie Grimes to win the women’s 400m medley title.
McIntosh, who won the 200m butterfly gold on Wednesday, claimed her fourth medal in Budapest in four minutes and 32.04 seconds.
Grimes was 0.63sec back, while another American, Emma Weyant, was a distant third ahead of Hungarian 33-year-old Katinka Hosszu, the defending champion.
“I tried to push my body as much as possible,” said McIntosh. “The crowd gave me so much adrenaline.
“I really felt my body in the backstroke.
“Katie is a top competitor, I like racing against her since we are in the same age group.”
Sjostrom finished her sprint in 23.98 seconds, 0.20sec ahead of Pole Katarzyna Wasick, with Australian Meg Harris and American Erika Brown tied for bronze.
The Swede took her first European title at 14 and her first world title a year later in 2009. This was her 20th world championship medal.
“Maybe my mind-set and also a lot of hard work, but also I love what I do,” she said of her longevity.
Sjostrom narrowly missed another medal when she anchored Sweden to fourth in the women’s 100m medley relay that closed the championships.
“It’s been a busy four days for me,” she said.
“I feel like it’s business for me too, I just go in and do my job I guess.”
The US won, anchor ed by 17-year-old Claire Curzan. Australia were second and Canada, with Penny Olesiak holding off Sjostrom, third.
The men’s 50m backstroke gold medal was presented twice, with the US anthem played twice.
In the first race of the evening, Justin Ress was disqualified after video review for finishing entirely under water as he touched the wall first.
His training buddy Hunter Armstrong was awarded gold, winning in 24.14 seconds.
Ksawery Masiuk, a 17-year-old Pole, initially took silver, 0.35sec back, with Italian Thomas Ceccon, who set a 100m backstroke world record on Monday, taking the bronze on loan.
Armstrong wiped a tear away as he stepped off the podium after accepting the gold in the evening’s first medal ceremony.
“I’m very disappointed my team-mate was disqualified and hopefully Team USA’s protest will be successful,” he said.
He got his wish, when a jury upheld the appeal. Ress came out alone to stand on the top step of the podium and receive his medal in the last medal ceremony of the championships.
Ceccon had taken pre-emptive revenge by swimming the breaststroke leg as Italy edged the Americans, the reigning champions and world record holders, in the 100m medley relay final. Britain were third.
That was a fifth gold for Italy after Gregorio Paltrinieri earlier swum the second fastest time in men’s 1500m freestyle history to win his third world title in the distance.
The 27-year-old Italian surged away from the start, setting a breakneck pace.
He was on world record pace for much of the race before fading at the end to finish in 14min 32.80sec and miss Sun Yang’s mark by 1.78sec.
American Bobby Finke was second, 3.90sec back, with Florian Wellbrock third at 4.14.
Paltrinieri said he had been motivated by finishing fourth out in the 800m
“I came out with the mindset that I wanted to destroy the pool,” he said after becoming the oldest ever 1500m world champion.
“I’m 28 in a couple of months,” he said. “But I’m still learning.”
Lithuanian Ruta Meilutyte won her first world gold since 2013 when she edged Italian 17-year-old Benedetta Pilato by 0.10sec in the women’s 50m breaststroke final. South African Lara van Niekerk was third.
Meilutyte had not won a major championship medal of any color since 2015.
“It’s nice to be a world champion,” she said.
Chun balloons to 75 as her lead shrinks to 3 at Women’s PGA Championship
This was the moment the rest of the field needed: In Gee Chun standing near the trees, contemplating her situation and then eventually heading back to the point of her previous shot.
A shaky third round cut her lead at the Women’s PGA Championship in half.
Chun shot a 3-over 75 on Saturday, leaving her three strokes ahead going into the final round at Congressional Country Club. On a day the leaders had plenty of trouble, Chun was holding her own until she made a double bogey on the par-5 16th hole.
“Looking forward to an exciting final round already,” she said. “If it’s going to be too easy, then I feel it is boring.”
It looked like the final round might be boring — or at least anticlimactic — as Chun maintained a comfortable lead through much of Saturday. She bogeyed Nos. 1 and 11 but birdied 2 and 12. Her lead was at five when she had to play her third shot from some tall grass on the 564-yard 16th.
That shot put her in even more trouble, in an area with tall grass and some trees. She took an unplayable lie and went back to the previous spot to re-hit.
An 8-iron from there went over the green, but Chun did manage to get up and down for a 7. The two-time major champion from South Korea led by five shots after the first round and six at the halfway point. After the third round, she had an 8-under 208 total.
Lydia Ko (76) and Jennifer Kupcho (74) — Chun’s playing partners — had their own problems, but Lexi Thompson and Hye-Jin Choi both shot 70 and were tied for second with Sei Young Kim (71) at 5 under.
Thompson will play in the final group as she tries for her first major victory since 2014.
“You always want to be in the final group in any tournament,” she said. “I love that the hard work has been able to pay off for me. I’ve been putting in the time, so to see it pay off and pay dividends means the world to me.”
Ko wasn’t able to take advantage of Chun’s struggles. She bogeyed four of five holes during one stretch on the front nine, then birdied four of the next seven. She wrapped up the round with four straight bogeys.
Kupcho had three birdies and three bogeys in the first seven holes and couldn’t gain much ground on the leader.
Kim, who won this event two years ago, had a comparatively drama-free round with two birdies and a bogey. Choi shot 34 on the back nine while playing in a group with Thompson. They’ll be together again Sunday.
“It was the first time playing with her, and I actually watched her as a fan when I was an amateur,” Choi said. “It was a good experience to play with her. Of course, I tried to focus on my game.”
Thompson made three birdies on the back nine, including a putt from about 30 feet on No. 15. She has 11 LPGA Tour victories but none since 2019. She’s played her way into contention after a first-round 74.
Thompson finished second at Crown Colony in February and at Upper Montclair last month.
“I know I’m in a good state with my game and just my mental state, so going out tomorrow enjoying the walk with my caddie and hopefully a lot of fans out there supporting us,” she said. “Whatever score I shoot, I shoot.”
Hannah Green (72) was fifth at 4 under, a stroke ahead of Atthaya Thitikul (68), who was so far behind at the start of the day she was in one of the groups sent off on No. 10. Brooke Henderson (73), Kupcho and Jennifer Chang (73) were tied for sixth with Thitikul.
NOTES: US Women’s Open champ Minjee Lee (73) was 2 under. … Defending champion Nelly Korda (72) was tied for 29th.
Schauffele leaves it late to retain Travelers lead
Xander Schauffele produced a late birdie spree to hold onto a slender lead at the PGA Tour’s Travelers Championship Saturday with a 3-under par 67.
Schauffele, who led by five shots after Friday’s second round, will take a one-shot advantage into Sunday’s final round at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut.
But the 28-year-old from California left it late to ensure he would remain on top of the leaderboard on Saturday with a pair of birdies on the 16th and 17th holes to drop to 17 under for the tournament.
He rolled in a 16-foot birdie putt at the par-3 16th and then drilled an iron from the fairway to a few feet for a further birdie on the 17th.
That ultimately allowed Schauffele to finish the day just in front of red-hot Patrick Cantlay, who had a bogey-free 7-under 63 to move to 16 under.
Schauffele is looking forward to a final round duel against close friend and Ryder Cup playing partner Cantlay.
“It will be fun. I’ve been looking forward to playing with Pat in a final round,” he said.
“We don’t get paired together very often in regular tournaments, only in those team ones.
“So there’s a certain level of comfort we have playing with each other and hopefully that pays off and hopefully we can make a lot of birdies.”
Cantlay was similarly enthused by the prospect of a final day shootout with his friend.
“We actually haven’t played that much together in tournament play, maybe only three times in the last three, four years. So it will be good to go out there again with him,” Cantlay said.
“It’s always nice to be out with him, if he’s on my team or if he’s not. I’m going to go out there tomorrow and try as hard as I can and let the chips fall where they may.”
Sahith Theegala is three off the lead on 14 under after his six-under-par 64.
The highlight of Theegala’s round came with a brilliant eagle three on the par-5 13th, when he reached the green in two before rolling in an 11-foot putt.
The only blemish on an otherwise flawless round came at the 18th, where he made bogey.
Kevin Kisner is one behind Theegala on 13 under after his four-under-par 66.
Scotland’s Martin Laird is tied for fifth with Lee Kyoung-hoon on 12 under. Laird and Lee both carded four-under-par 66s.
Four players including first round co-leader J.T. Poston are tied for seventh on 11 under, while Scottie Scheffler heads a quartet on 10 under after a five-under-par 65.
But there was more disappointment for Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy.
The four-time major-winner who shot an 8-under 62 in the first round had fallen away on Friday after a second round that included a quadruple bogey eight on the 12th hole.
McIlroy navigated his return to the 12th safely on Saturday with a par, but was already struggling after making a double-bogey and bogey on the front nine.
Two more bogeys on the 14th and 16th holes left him tied for 31st place on six under, 11 shots off the lead.
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