Saints prep naming search
The New Orleans Saints are preparing to look for a new naming rights holder for the Superdome. Mercedez-Benz has held naming rights under a 10-year agreement that expires in July next year and the Saints this week said that the German automaker does not intend to extend the deal. In 2015, Mercedes-Benz also entered into a 27-year naming rights contract with the home stadium of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, which opened in 2017. “Each contract came about for different reasons rather than a desire to have two stadiums,” Mercedes-Benz said in an e-mail. “The Mercedes-Benz Superdome was an opportunity that came to us during a time when we were trying to channel business and funds to New Orleans for the post-[Hurricane] Katrina rebuilding a decade ago.” The Superdome is undergoing US$450 million renovations and is scheduled to host the NCAA men’s basketball Final Four in 2022 and the Super Bowl in 2024.
LPGA cancels ‘Q-schools’
The LPGA has decided to cancel tour qualifying “Q-schools” this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, with most players retaining their status for next season, the elite women’s golf circuit said on Wednesday. The tour, which was suspended in late February after the Women’s Australian Open, plans to return on July 23 with the opening round of the Marathon Classic in Sylvania, Ohio. Commissioner Mike Whan said that the decision to retain the same playing roster, with a few exceptions for players returning from medical exemptions or earning cards from tournament wins, was simply a matter of fairness. “We really felt that the right thing to do was make sure that while COVID-19 is going to affect 2020 for everybody, it shouldn’t affect your career,” he said. “And you shouldn’t find yourself back trying to play your way onto a tour when you probably didn’t get a chance to play your way on or off a tour in the first place.” There would be no qualifying for any of the remaining 20 tournaments this year, with the fields to be decided the week before the event.
FC Seoul fined for sex dolls
South Korea’s FC Seoul were fined a record 100 million won (US$81,278) for using sex dolls to fill seats at a match held behind closed doors, with K-League officials saying that the club had “deeply humiliated women fans.” With spectators barred because of the pandemic, Seoul came under fire after dozens of the dolls, wearing T-shirts or holding placards with the logo of a sex toy seller, appeared at Sunday’s game. After reviewing the case, the K-League accepted Seoul’s claim that they did not know the mannequins were sex toys, but said that it “could have easily recognized their use using common sense and experience.” It said in a statement late on Wednesday that “the controversy over this ‘real doll’ incident has deeply humiliated and hurt women fans [and] damaged the integrity of the league,” as it handed down the largest fine in its 38-year-history. Seoul accepted the decision, apologized and promised to prevent a repeat. A mannequin distributor reportedly approached the K-league offering to provide its products to fill empty stands for free, and was introduced to the Seoul club. The team said that it had asked the police to investigate the provider.
‘CRIMINAL ACT’: The UCI said it ‘strongly condemns’ Dylan Groenewegen’s ‘dangerous behavior,’ which left Jakobsen in critical condition and injured other cyclists Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen was in a coma on Wednesday, in “serious” condition, after he was thrown into and over a barrier at 80kph in the conclusion to the opening stage of the Tour de Pologne. Footage showed 23-year-old Jakobsen, of the Deceuninck-Quick-Step, racing elbow-to-elbow with fellow Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen of Jumbo-Visma as both men frantically tussled in a tight sprint to the line in Katowice. However, Jakobsen came off worst, somersaulting over the barriers before colliding with a photographer after Groenewegen had veered suddenly to the right, squeezing his rival into the security wall. “His condition is very serious. His life is
Growing concern over health standards in e-sports has prompted a new federation to pledge to address the problem, as players fall victim to conditions ranging from wrist injuries to obesity, stress and diabetes. The retirement of top Chinese player Jian Zihao, better known by his gaming handle “Uzi,” sent tremors through the booming sport, whose revenues are predicted to reach US$1.1 billion this year, according to industry analyst Newzoo. The 23-year-old, hailed as an “icon” of the League of Legends game, stepped away from e-sports in June, saying that “chronic stress, obesity, irregular diet, staying up late and other reasons” had given
WEEKEND MATCHES: While Tatung FC made good on their chances early on, Taiwan Steel rallied to win the game 2-3 and move to the top with Taichung Futuro Sunday’s action saw Taichung Futuro, Taipower FC and Taiwan Steel tied for first place on 30 points in the Taiwan Football Premier League, while Hang Yuan FC picked up a point to take the No. 4 spot on 25 points after holding Taipower to a scoreless draw. In Taoyuan, Tatung FC hosted Taiwan Steel. It was an exciting matchup, as the visitors rallied from 2-0 down to take the game with three goals. Tatung made good on their chances early on. Honduran midfielder Elias Argueta opened the account 15 minutes into the game with a low shot from the right. Three minutes
Ronnie O’Sullivan delivered a scathing attack on the next generation of snooker players after he made the quarter-finals of the World Snooker Championship on Sunday, ending Chinese star Ding Junhui’s world championship dream. The mercurial 44-year-old Englishman won an enthralling high-quality second-round encounter 13-10 to set up a quarter-final clash with three-time champion Mark Williams. When asked by the BBC whether he thought he would remain at the top of the game for this long, the Briton, who turned professional in 1992, said the poor quality of younger players had secured his position and that something drastic would have to happen