Sun Sep 15 12:51pm ET
By GREG BEACHAM
AP Sports Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) SoFi Stadium is the name of the palatial new home of the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers.
The growing personal finance company formally known as Social Finance has reached a 20-year agreement for the naming rights to the multibillion-dollar stadium complex in Inglewood, California, the teams announced Sunday.
SoFi Stadium is on schedule to open next summer in Hollywood Park ahead of the 2020 season for Los Angeles' two NFL teams. One season later, the stadium will host the Super Bowl.
SoFi was only founded in 2011, but the Bay Area-based online lending startup has grown rapidly into a prominent financial services business particularly successful among people refinancing student loan debt. Led by CEO Anthony Noto, a former NFL executive, and fresh off a $500 million round of equity financing led by Qatar's sovereign wealth fund in May, SoFi bought the naming rights to reap extraordinary exposure from the world's most prominent new stadium.
''It was something that really took a while for us to convince them that we were the right partner, and really gain the confidence that we could make that long-term commitment,'' Noto told The Associated Press. ''We're super excited to have got to this point. They're building something that's unprecedented, and I think the impact it could have (on SoFi) will be equally unprecedented.''
The 70,000-seat stadium is the centerpiece of a 298-acre complex developed by Rams owner Stan Kroenke and shared by owner Dean Spanos' Chargers. Along with the 2022 Super Bowl, the arena also will host the 2023 College Football Playoff national championship game, an annual college football bowl game, and the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2028 Olympics.
With SoFi's name out front, the entire complex will have a prominent role in the future of the NFL and the Los Angeles metroplex.
''It's one of these forward-thinking companies,'' Spanos told the AP. ''It's in the forefront of innovation in their industry. That's something and somebody we want to be associated with as our stadium takes on that same sort of energy, because it's something that nobody has ever done before. I think what Stan has built here and done here, in his creativity with this whole development, this probably is going to redefine this area of Los Angeles for the next century. It's going to be something that LA is going to be very proud to have.''
Spanos and Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff are both pleased by the addition of a young, technologically savvy partner with the naming rights deal.
''When Stan started to imagine what sports and entertainment district at Hollywood Park to be, he wanted to find not only world-class partners, but innovative partners,'' Demoff told the AP. ''He wanted to bring someone unique to the table that hadn't been there before, and I think SoFi is a terrific partner because under Anthony's leadership, you can see their vision for financial technology, for changing banking and loans, and really that process of putting the customer first is very similar to what we want to do at the stadium. I think it's a unique fit for what we believe will be the greatest stadium in the world.''
Kroenke and Demoff also were pleased by the compact, alliterative name for such an expansive project, Demoff said.
''SoFi Stadium - I'm a fan of alliteration, so I love it,'' Demoff said. ''That may be very 10th-grade English of me, but I think it's a very natural-sounding name.''
Noto has a personal connection to the stadium and to its primary sport: The former Goldman Sachs partner also is the former chief financial officer of the NFL, and he worked on the league's groundwork efforts a decade ago to return to the Los Angeles market. After he became the chief operating officer of Twitter in 2014, Noto worked on its agreement to stream NFL games on the platform.
''I really had a front-row seat on seeing the impact (the NFL) could have on a business like ours,'' Noto said. ''It's a small component of our overall marketing budget and our overall spending budget, but the benefit we get from reallocating the investment into this from other things is magnitudes greater.''
SoFi recently has partnered with sports brands ranging from college basketball conference tournaments to the U.S. Open tennis tournament and the X Games. Noto said SoFi aggregated the audiences that saw their combined sponsorship efforts in 2018 and came up with about 15 million unique viewers for the entire year.
That's roughly the same amount of exposure they'll get from one prime-time NFL game in SoFi Stadium, Noto said.
Noto praised his former boss, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, for this culmination of the league's years of patient planning for a return to the nation's second-largest market.
''It's a result of Roger's vision back in 2008 and `09 when he established he wanted the LA market to be not just another stadium, but to be this iconic destination,'' Noto said. ''Stan and Dean are bringing it to life in a way that no one could truly comprehend when Roger laid out the vision.''
Along with the name, SoFi members will have their own lounge inside the stadium, and the company will stage additional events and seminars at the complex.
The money from a naming rights deal typically offsets construction costs, and Kroenke's project is expected to cost more than $5 billion. The Hollywood Park project already sold separate naming rights last month to American Airlines for a year-round performance venue and stadium entrance area.
The New York Jets Defense was dominated by the Patriots in a 33-0 loss to the Patriots Monday night. The Jets allowed a 16-play touchdown drive to open the game and things went downhill from there as Tom Brady and the Patriots did anything they wanted in the game. Brady had clean pockets to throw out of all night as the Jets didn't record a sack and running back Sony Michel scored three touchdowns. The lone bright spot for the Jets defense was an interception by Trumaine Johnson on a tipped ball, but overall it was a night to forget for New York. The Jets will try and bounce back next week at Jacksonville but are nothing more than a low end streaming defense in the deepest of leagues.
New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell rushed 15 times for 70 yards while hauling in one of four targets for an additional six yards vs the Patriots Monday. Bell's 16 touches aren't ideal for fantasy, especially after getting only 15 touches last week, but he still dominated the backfield touches with the lower workload this week likely because New England dominated time of position and put the Jets in a passing game script early. No other Jet had more than two carries so fantasy owners can still insert Bell in their lineups expecting 15-20 touches weekly. The Jets offense has looked brutal at times this season but Bell is a borderline RB1 on volume alone, and with the schedule for New York softening a bit, Bell is a great buy-low running back.
New York Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder made four catches for 26 yards on five targets in a brutal home loss to the Patriots Monday night. Crowder's four catches lead the team on a night QB Sam Darnold only completed 11 passes, but he could do nothing with those catches against the elite New England secondary. Crowder's five targets are his fewest in three games with Darnold as Demaryius Thomas was targeted nine times in this game. Crowder will look to bounce back next week against a Jaguars secondary that will be a better matchup for him than this week vs the Patriots number one ranked defense.
New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson caught one pass for 10 yards on eight targets in an ugly loss to the Patriots Monday night. Anderson was blanketed by All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore all night and could get nothing going downfield as QB Sam Darnold was under pressure almost every snap. Anderson has had one game this year that was good for fantasy, and that included a 92-yard touchdown. The boom-or-bust nature of Anderson can be frustrating for fantasy, but the Jets schedule gets softer in the coming weeks so Anderson still has plenty of opportunity to make the big plays that he needs to have big fantasy weeks. He should be owned in 12-team leagues and started when he has a good matchup.
San Francisco 49ers running back Matt Breida and wide receiver Marquise Goodwin both passed concussion protocol on Monday and should be fine heading into Week 8 against the Carolina Panthers. Both players missed time on Sunday but reentered the game. The health clearance sets up Breida as an RB3 against a weak Panthers rush defense, but hes taken a backseat to Tevin Coleman in recent weeks. Goodwin did not record a catch in Week 7 and has just 15 yards over the past two contests. Hell be a zero-floor WR5 against one of the leagues top pass defenses.
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold had a night to forget vs New England in Week 7 completing only 11 of 32 passes for 86 yards. Darnold, who was out with mono during the Jets' first meeting with the NFL's number one defense, threw a career-high four interceptions and also lost a fumble in a 33-0 beatdown. Darnold looked uncomfortable all night playing behind an offensive line that was down two starters and it showed. He consistently threw off his back foot, facing pressure on almost every drop back as the Jets had no answer for the vaunted Patriots Defense. While this night was rough, Darnold's schedule gets better in the next few weeks and could be a viable starter in two-quarterback leagues or desperation bye-week replacement.
New York Jets wide receiver Demaryius Thomas caught three passes for 42 yards in a loss to the Patriots Monday night. Thomas' nine targets lead the team, but he could do little with that opportunity as QB Sam Darnold was under pressure all night and only completed 11 passes total. Thomas has been getting more involved in recent weeks, but is still the third option behind Robby Anderson and Jamison Crowder. He's nothing more than a desperation flex in deep leagues.
The New England Patriots have declared TE Matt LaCosse, DL Michael Bennett, WR Josh Gordon, SS Patrick Chung, OT Korey Cunningham, RB Rex Burkhead and TE Ryan Izzo inactive for Week 7.
The New York Jets have declared LB Albert McClellan, OT Kelvin Beachum, DL Henry Anderson, TE Chris Herndon, RB Trenton Cannon, LB Neville Hewitt and OG Kelechi Osemele inactive for Week 7.
Oakland Raiders WR Tyrell Williams (foot) is considered questionable for the Week 8 game at this point, according to head coach Jon Gruden. Williams was able to do some running Monday, Oct. 21.
Fantasy Spin: Fantasy players should monitor Williams' practice participation during the week to have a better idea of his status for Week 8. He is the team's top option in the passing game when healthy and can be a No. 3 fantasy receiver.
Los Angeles Chargers LB Melvin Ingram (hamstring) hopefully will be able to play in the Week 8 game, according to head coach Anthony Lynn.
Free-agent RB C.J. Anderson (Lions) recently worked out for the Oakland Raiders.
Pittsburgh Steelers CB Steven Nelson (groin) participated in practice Monday, Oct. 21.
Washington Redskins S Deshazor Everett (ankle), LB Josh Harvey-Clemons (hamstring), OG Wes Martin (chest), FS Montae Nicholson (ankle), CB Josh Norman (hand, thigh) and WR Steven Sims (toe) did not participate in practice Monday, Oct. 21. LB Ryan Kerrigan (elbow) and OT Donald Penn (non-injury) were limited during practice. The Redskins did not hold a practice Monday, so these are estimations.
Philadelphia Eagles DT Akeem Spence was released Monday, Oct. 21.
Washington Redskins QB Case Keenum (foot, shoulder) fully participated in practice Monday, Oct. 21. The Redskins did not hold a practice Monday, so this is an estimation.
Fantasy Spin: Keenum struggled in inclement weather last week and will be facing another tough opponent again this week. He should be avoided in all fantasy leagues.
Washington Redskins TE Vernon Davis (concussion) was limited during practice Monday, Oct. 21. The Redskins did not hold a practice Monday, so this is an estimation.
Fantasy Spin: Davis still needs to receive medical clearance to play, so he should be considered questionable this week. Fantasy players should look for other options to use and can keep Davis on the bench.
Washington Redskins RB Adrian Peterson (ankle) did not participate in practice Monday, Oct. 21. The Redskins did not hold a practice Monday, so this is an estimation.
Fantasy Spin: Peterson recently underwent an MRI on his ankle, so his status for the Week 8 game is uncertain. Fantasy players should keep an eye on the situation over the next few days since Peterson could be a possible flex option if he plays.
Washington Redskins RB Chris Thompson (toe) did not participate in practice Monday, Oct. 21. The Redskins did not hold a practice Monday, so this is an estimation.
Fantasy Spin: Thompson did not practice last week and missed Week 7, so he may be facing an uphill battle to play in Week 8 . Wendell Smallwood likely will fill in for Thompson again this week but probably can be avoided in most leagues.
Minnesota Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph (thumb) fully participated in practice Monday, Oct. 21. The Vikings did not hold a practice Monday, so this is an estimation.
Fantasy Spin: Rudolph is coming off his best game of the season where he posted 58 yards and one touchdown. He may see a new more targets this week if Adam Thielen is not able to play and can be a low-end No. 1 fantasy tight end.