The Latest: Cuba puts sports on hold until at least April 30 More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6 Associated Press There are no known MLB players who have tested positive for coronavirus. Two minor league players with the Yankees have tested positive.___2:15 p.m.All men’s and women’s professional tennis tournaments through June 7 are being called off because of the new coronavirus pandemic.The ATP and WTA announced Wednesday that the entire clay-court circuit “will not be held as scheduled” — a day after the start of the French Open, also played on that surface, was postponed from May to September. ___2:05 p.m.Another Atlanta sports star is following the lead of Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman says he’ll match Ryan’s donation of $50,000 to the Atlanta Community Food Bank, which distributes food to the needy, and $50,000 to the Giving Kitchen, which aides food service workers who are financially hit by the coronavirus outbreak.In addition, Freeman says he’ll donate another $25,000 to the Salvation Army. ___4:55 p.m.The 24 Hours Le Mans endurance race has been postponed for three months because of the coronavirus outbreak and will now run from Sept. 19-20.The race was initially set for June 13-14.The new date will also impact other races on the World Endurance Championship’s calendar. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditThe Latest on the coronavirus pandemic’s effect on sports around the world (all times local):3:30 p.m.Cuba has joined countries around the world in suspending its sports calendar due to the new coronavirus pandemic. The Austrian soccer league is making plans to extend its suspension until May and take advantage of UEFA’s decision to postpone the European Championship.The Austrian Bundesliga says its clubs agreed they could restart in early May and play until the end of June.The league says “should the situation in general ease and make a resumption of play possible, the clubs will immediately consult about concrete start dates and draw up an alternative schedule.”UEFA moved the European Championship to 2021, freeing up space for European leagues to finish seasons disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak before many players’ contracts expire on June 30.___ Infantino’s offer for FIFA to donate $10 million to the World Health Organization was approved.Soccer’s stalled season could be delayed beyond its traditional June 30 finish so FIFA will look to amend or have temporary rules relating to player contracts and trading windows.___12:36 p.m.Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey hasn’t ruled out the prospect of holding some spring football practices, but he’s not all that optimistic. Ticket holders can either receive a credit that will apply to the same level of admission for next year or receive a full refund.___2:25 p.m.An Arizona-based employee of the Cincinnati Reds has tested positive for the new coronavirus.The employee worked inside the team’s spring training complex in Goodyear, Arizona, from Feb. 29 to March 14. The team said in a statement it was sending a precautionary notice to those who were inside the building and that those who were in close contact with the employee are being tested and have self-quarantined. The tours had said last week they would suspend play until late April or early May.The tournaments affected by the tours’ suspensions include combined men’s and women’s events in Madrid and Rome.Also being scrapped are upcoming WTA tournaments in Strasbourg, France, and Rabat, Morocco, along with ATP events in Munich; Estoril, Portugal; Geneva; and Lyon, France.Both tours also said that their rankings will be frozen “until further notice.”The International Tennis Federation also put a halt to its lower-tier events until June 7. Sankey says on a conference call with reporters that “practically that window’s pretty narrow.” The SEC and other conferences have canceled championships for spring sports and spring football games, and suspended athletic activities until at least April 15.“That doesn’t mean we’ll be back to normal practice activities April 16,” Sankey said.He also cited federal recommendations limiting the size of gatherings.___4:20 p.m. March 18, 2020 ___3 p.m.All training sessions at Belgian professional soccer clubs have been suspended until at least April 5 because of the coronavirus outbreak.Belgium’s national security council earlier said all gatherings, cultural, social, festive and sporting activities have been prohibited until the same date.The league says it will decide which matches can be rescheduled once training has resumed. Gravina also says “a salary cut for soccer players can not be a taboo in this period of emergency.”___3:35 p.m.Clubs in the top two soccer leagues in Sweden say they do not want to start the new season until the beginning of June because of the coronavirus outbreak.The Swedish soccer association must now decide whether to accept the clubs’ request. 11:35 a.m.The IndyCar race in Long Beach, California, won’t be held this year.Officials with the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach said Wednesday they pursued the possibility of rescheduling the popular race to a later date, but “trying to reassemble all the elements that have made the Long Beach event such a success does not appear feasible for 2020.”The race had been scheduled for April 19.Next year’s date will be April 18. The season was due to start on the weekend of April 3-4.The clubs say in a statement that their decision is supported by broadcasters, fans and the country’s main supporters’ union.The clubs say “work remains on establishing a new plan for the year and sorting out the exact dates for the start and other rounds.”___3:30 p.m. 1 a.m.Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and pop star wife Ciara have announced they are donating 1 million meals through Seattle’s Food Lifeline to help provide meals for those in need during the coronavirus outbreak in the region.“Everything we do together makes a difference,” Ciara said in a video posted to her Twitter account. “And together we will conquer this tough time that we’re going through.”According to Food Lifeline’s website, the organization provides the equivalent of 134,000 meals daily and had 58 million pounds of food sourced last year.___ Premier League team Chelsea is making a hotel located on the grounds of its Stamford Bridge stadium available free of charge for London’s medical workers during the coronavirus outbreak.The club says Russian owner Roman Abramovich will cover the costs of providing the accommodation for staff of the National Health Service who “will be working long shifts and may not be able to travel home or would otherwise have to make long commutes.”Chelsea says the offer is initially for a two-month period and will be reconsidered depending on circumstances.The entire hotel will be given up for medical workers if necessary.___ 3:40 p.m.Italian sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora says the country’s top soccer league is likely to resume on May 3.Spadafora says “then we will evaluate whether it’s open to the public or not.”Italy was one of the first countries to suspend its soccer leagues because of the coronavirus outbreak.Italian soccer federation president Gabriele Gravina says starting on May 3 should allow the league to finish by June 30 but if that’s not possible “there must be a change in format.” The site states that all the money raised will be “directly donated to Humanitas to help strengthen the intensive care and emergency units of Milano, Bergamo, Castellanza and Torino’s hospitals.”Italy has been the second hardest hit country with more than 31,000 cases of the virus.The 38-year-old Ibrahimović rejoined Milan in January from the Los Anegles Galaxy. He has also played for Italian clubs Inter Milan and Juventus.___1:20 p.m. The league also says it will pay the second instalment of an 800,000 euro ($862,000) solidarity fund to amateur clubs to help them cushion the economic weight of the pandemic.___1:35 p.m.AC Milan forward Zlatan Ibrahimović has set up a fundraiser to help Italian hospitals in the center of the coronavirus outbreak.According to the website accepting donations, Ibrahimović has donated 100,000 euros ($109,000) to the fund. It quickly raised a further 10,300 euros ($11,300). 8:50 a.m.The Western Athletic Conference has canceled all competition and championships for the remainder of the academic year.The WAC had previously suspended all competition, but the conference’s board of directors voted Tuesday to cancel all spring sports. The decision falls in line with the NCAA’s cancellation of its winter and spring championships.The WAC’s decision affects men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s outdoor track and field, men’s and women’s tennis, softball and baseball.___ The national sports institute announced Wednesday that events would be put off at least until April 30.The official Prensa Latina news agency said that will push back the baseball season, which had been scheduled to start on April 11, as well as this month’s Cuba Cup of track and field.The institute also said that Cuban delegations won’t travel abroad — potentially affecting qualification for the Olympic and Paralympic games.Cuba has reported 10 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and one death, that of an Italian tourist.___ ___4:50 p.m.FIFA is looking to set up a hardship fund to help soccer stakeholders affected by the coronavirus outbreak.FIFA says it will “analyze if a support fund at global level will be required” and how it might operate.A conference call with the presidents of FIFA and the six continental governing bodies agreed to proposals made Tuesday by Gianni Infantino. Spanish soccer team Alavés says 15 people in its club have become infected with the coronavirus: three players, seven members of its coaching staff and five other employees.The club had already reported that two members of its staff were infected.Valencia and Espanyol said earlier this week that their clubs have also been hit by the virus.Valencia said Monday that 35% of its squad and coaching staff are infected, while Espanyol said on Tuesday that six members of its squad and staff have it.All three clubs say their infected members are in good health.
Staples Center, primarily privately financed and the first major project of what would become the Anschutz Entertainment Group, has not been a bust by any stretch of the imagination.Since it opened on Oct. 17, 1999, with the first of four Bruce Springsteen concerts, it has become the sports and entertainment heartbeat of the nation’s second-largest city. And it’s fair to say that the development it spawned – the L.A. Live complex across the street, which includes the Microsoft Theater, the Grammy Museum, hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, a bowling alley, a multiplex, ESPN studios, etc. – has done its part in transforming the neighborhood from a ghost town of blighted buildings, parking lots and undeveloped land into a true destination.It might not quite be the L.A. equivalent of Times Square, as some of the early hyperbole suggested. But it has become the sort of civic gathering place that didn’t previously exist downtown, which is where a great city should have its communal space.Staples Center’s impact on sports and entertainment in this community is obvious, as the home of the Lakers, Clippers, Kings, Sparks, Grammy Awards and plenty of other attractions. There are 207 events this calendar year alone, including concerts by Elton John, Pink, Carrie Underwood, Ariana Grande, Shawn Mendes, Michael Bublé, the Backstreet Boys, etc.It would be quite appropriate – call it a 20th anniversary gift – if the building became the first in modern NBA history to host all seven games of a playoff series. It would be even more appropriate if it were a Lakers-Clippers Western Conference finals; that would assure the building of its eighth NBA Finals, to go with three NBA All-Star Games, two NHL All-Star Games, two Kings Stanley Cup celebrations and three WNBA Finals with the Sparks. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error (We will, incidentally, make no cracks about how Taylor Swift has one more banner in the building than the Clippers. We will say that even as the third tenant, the Clippers profited greatly from moving from the Sports Arena to Staples. Now, as they plan their own building in Inglewood, they have the best chance they’ve ever had to rectify that banner deficit.)But Staples Center and L.A. Live didn’t just transform a few blocks of that South Park neighborhood. Its effect was wider.Carol Schatz is now retired, the president emeritus of the Downtown Center Business Improvement District. In the days before Staples Center opened, I talked to her in her capacity as the leader of an organization of downtown merchants, and she made the point that the arena would turn a 9-to-5 downtown into “a 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. downtown.”She miscalculated slightly, she says now.“Literally, I’d say probably by 2015 or so it was a 24/7 downtown,” she said in a phone conversation Monday.“The way I know that for a fact: When my husband and I moved downtown, because we had a rehab going in our home in West L.A. and had to move out, I was absolutely blown away at how much energy there was on the streets well past 11 and midnight. I kind of just pinched myself as I walked around, (seeing) people with baby carriages and dogs and all that, which never, ever would have been seen when we began this effort.”Staples and L.A. Live, which opened late in 2007, was just one factor in rejuvenating downtown. Another, she said, was bringing people back to the area as residents, by creating an environment that made it enticing.“Instead of the tail wagging the dog,” she said, downtown “became the economic engine for the entire region, which is what a downtown in a big city should be doing.”It does have its imitators, too. The entertainment district that will surround SoFi Stadium when Stan Kroenke’s 298-acre project opens for Rams and Chargers home games in Inglewood next year in many ways takes its cue from what AEG has done downtown.Meanwhile, consider this: The latest big arena project, the new Chase Center in San Francisco, cost $1.4 billion. Staples Center was built for an estimated $375 million – around $574 million in 2019 dollars – although the ultimate price tag for L.A. Live came to around $2.5 billion.Their effect on downtown L.A.? I’d say it was worth the [email protected]@Jim_Alexander on TwitterStaples Center has hosted some of the biggest events in sports and entertainment since it first opened in the fall of 1999 and has helped revitalize much of the surrounding downtown community. (AP Photo/Nick Ut) Who knew, or could even guess, just what the impact could be when Phil Anschutz and Ed Roski first talked about building a new arena in downtown L.A.The negotiating, between the owners of the Kings and the Los Angeles City Council over what was planned, who was paying for it and what the city’s liability would be, began in earnest early in 1997. There were naysayers. Some wondered if losing the North Hall of the Convention Center, where the arena would be built, was a deal-breaker. Others worried about the city being on the hook for the bonds to begin development of the adjacent property.During one of those city council meetings, according to a Daily News story from May of 1997, one council member voiced this concern: “What happens if this is a bust? We’ll end up with a vacant building.”We will not name that council member. No sense dunking on ’em more than two decades later.