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Yankees, LeBron James to invest in AC Milan soccer team

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Yankees, LeBron James to invest in AC Milan soccer team

NEW YORK (AP) — Baseball’s elite are getting involved with one of Europe’s most celebrated soccer clubs.

The New York Yankees are becoming a minority investor in Italian champion AC Milan, the second soccer team the baseball power will partially own after MLS’s New York City.

A Los Angeles-based fund that includes LeBron James also is becoming a minority investor in the seven-time European champion under RedBird Capital Partners, The Financial Times reported Tuesday. RedBird is nearing a deal to purchase a controlling interest in Milan for 1.2 billion euros ($1.2 billion).

Gerry Cardinale, who founded RedBird in 2014 and is a managing partner, announced a preliminary agreement in June to buy Milan from fellow American firm Elliott Management. The closing is to take place by the end of September.

Yankees Global Enterprises, the baseball team’s parent company led by the Steinbrenner family, will take a stake of about 10% in Milan, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because the final deal has not been announced.

“We’re very confident that the Yankee brand is the most famous sports brand in the world, and we think we can help boost the revenue of AC Milan by being associated with it,” Yankees president Randy Levine said Tuesday.

Milan declined to comment.

The Yankees agreed in 2013 to purchase a 20% stake in the New York City Major League Soccer team that launched in 2015. City Football Group, Manchester City’s parent company, is the controlling owner.

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Yankees Global Enterprises also owns stakes in the YES Network and Legends Hospitality, formed in 2008 with the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys.

“It came about based on our relationship with Gerry and RedBird that goes back over 25 years,” Levine said. “The Steinbrenners were one of the original investors in RedBird when Gerry started it. We worked very closely with Gerry when he was at Goldman Sachs in building the YES Network and Legends Hospitality. He was involved with Goldman’s work on the new Yankee Stadium when RedBird was formed and YES was purchased back from Disney, RedBird became a partner with us and YES.”

The Yankees, 27-time World Series champions, are signing a separate marketing agreement with Milan, a 19-time Italian champion, that will include broadcasting replays of games on the YES Network, as Manchester City does. There also will be cross-merchandising between the pinstripes and the Rossoneri.

“We have a little familiarity with soccer — we’ve learned a little since our relationship with City Football Group,” Levine said. “We think it’s a good investment. Like with Man City, we do not intend to get involved in running the soccer side. We leave it to the experts. We’ve got enough to do on the baseball side.”

New York City plays most of its home games at Yankee Stadium, and Levine is helping lead the search for a site for a soccer stadium for the MLS team.

Milan is coming off its first Italian title in 11 years.

Main Street Advisors, the fund supported by James, also counts the rapper Drake among its partners, as well as English Premier League club Liverpool and the Boston Red Sox.

James and Drake will be passive investors in Milan through the fund and have not taken direct stakes, according to The Financial Times, which first reported the investments.

RedBird also has a stake in Fenway Sports Group, parent company of Liverpool and the Red Sox. Champions League rules prohibit two clubs in the competition from being under the same ownership to protect the integrity of games on the field. UEFA likely will have to make a judgment on the extent of RedBird’s influence on decision-making at Liverpool.

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RedBird is set to become Milan’s fourth owner in five years.

Milan was owned by Silvio Berlusconi from 1986 until 2017. Italy’s prime minister from 2001-06 and 2008-11, Berlusconi sold control to a company controlled by Sino-Europe Sports Investment Management Changxing Co. The American hedge fund Elliott provided financing and took control of the team in 2018 when loan payments were not made.

Inter Milan, Roma, Fiorentina and Bologna are among other foreign-owned teams in Serie A.

“Italian soccer is still experiencing financial contraction,” Inter CEO Giuseppe Marotta said of the Milan transaction. “We’ve gone from a period of patronage by the Morattis and the Berlusconis who brought (trophies) to Milan and Inter to a situation in which both clubs have foreign ownership. And thank goodness they came.

“Most of the foreign owners are American and they’ve brought in a new business model, and a different mentality in which economic and financial sustainability is very important.”

Having previously failed to qualify for Europe’s elite competition for seven consecutive years, including a one-year UEFA ban for breaking financial monitoring rules, Milan is playing in the Champions League for a second consecutive season. That competition can increase revenue by about 100 million euros ($100 million) in UEFA prize money and help restore the club’s global brand.

Milan shares one of soccer’s iconic venues, San Siro, with rival Inter Milan. With a capacity of about 80,000, the stadium opened in 1926, was extensively renovated ahead of the 1990 World Cup and is scheduled to host the opening ceremony of the 2026 Winter Olympics. There are few luxury suites and fan amenities in the venue, formally known as Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, and both Milan and Inter have discussed building a new stadium adjacent to the current arena.

“As we help the City Football Group here in New York,” Levine said, “in commercial ways and trying to get through a stadium and a whole bunch of other things, we think in our brand there could be synergies between us and Milan that will raise the value of Milan significantly.”

Former longtime team captain Paolo Maldini will stay on as Milan’s technical area director despite the ownership change, a person involved in the negotiations said, adding that Stefano Pioli is safe in his job as Milan’s coach. That person also spoke the AP on condition of anonymity because the final deal has not been announced yet.

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The only Italians investing in the deal are media rights executive Riccardo Silva and his brother, Saverio Silva, the person said.

Riccardo Silva owns the Miami soccer club, which plays in the second-tier USL Championship. He founded the Miami team together with Maldini, who withdrew his ownership stake in Miami when he took on his current role at Milan.

The deal could involve players from Milan’s youth academy spending time at Miami.

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Dampf reported from Rome. AP Sports Writer Graham Dunbar in Geneva contributed to this report.

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More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Andrew Dampf is at https://twitter.com/AndrewDampf

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Remember last year’s Memorial Day travel jams? Chances are they will be much worse this year

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Remember last year’s Memorial Day travel jams? Chances are they will be much worse this year

The patience of Memorial Day weekend travelers was tested Thursday by widespread delays across the country, but there were relatively few canceled flights, raising hopes that airlines can handle bigger crowds expected Friday.

By early evening on the East Coast, more than 6,000 flights had been delayed Thursday, with the biggest backups at the three major airports in the New York City area and Dallas-Fort Worth International.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pasha Pidlubniak waits for a domestic flight at Miami International Airport, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Miami. A record number of Americans are expected to travel over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

 

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Pasha Pidlubniak waits for a domestic flight at Miami International Airport, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Miami. A record number of Americans are expected to travel over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

 

The Transportation Security Administration predicted that Friday will be the busiest day for air travel over the holiday weekend, with nearly 3 million people expected to pass through airport checkpoints. It could rival the record of 2.9 million, set on the Sunday after Thanksgiving last year.

“Airports are going to be more packed than we have seen in 20 years,” said Aixa Diaz, a spokesperson for AAA.

When they aren’t waiting out flight delays, travelers are reporting sticker shock at the prices.

At Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, Larisa Latimer of New Lenox, Illinois, said her airfare was reasonable but other expenses for a getaway to New Orleans were not.

 

 

 

 

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Motorists travel along Interstate 24 near the Interstate 40 interchange Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. A record number of Americans are expected to hit the pavement over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

 

Motorists travel along Interstate 24 near the Interstate 40 interchange Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. A record number of Americans are expected to hit the pavement over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

 

“I just have to make the accommodation,” she said. “The rental car is up … this year, the hotel accommodations were very unusually expensive.”

Kathy Larko of Fort Meyers, Florida, used frequent-flyer miles — and some flexible scheduling — to pay for her trip to Chicago.

“I’m really conscious of looking at the cost of the entire trip. We’re staying a little farther out than we normally would” to get a lower hotel rate, she said. “We’re also flying back a day later, because we could get cheaper miles.”

More travelers will be on the road. AAA estimates that 43.8 million people will venture at least 50 miles (80 kilometers) from home between Thursday and Monday, with 38 million of them taking vehicles.

 
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Travelers wait at a TSA checkpoint at the Los Angeles International Airport, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Los Angeles. A record number of Americans are expected to travel over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

 

Travelers wait at a TSA checkpoint at the Los Angeles International Airport, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Los Angeles. A record number of Americans are expected to travel over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

 

Airport unions are using the holiday weekend to highlight their demands.

About 100 workers who clean airplane cabins and drive trash trucks at the airport in Charlotte, North Carolina, started a 24-hour strike Thursday, demanding better pay and healthcare, according to the Service Employees International Union. About 15% of flights were delayed, but it was unclear whether the strike played any role.

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A planned strike at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York was averted, however. Teamsters Local 553, which represents about 300 workers who refuel passenger and cargo jets at JFK, said that it reached a settlement with Allied Aviation Services and called off a walkout planned for Friday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

George Ridley, 4, left, rides on a suitcase as he and his father Chris Ridley make their way through the Nashville international Airport, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. A record number of Americans are expected to travel over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

 

George Ridley, 4, left, rides on a suitcase as he and his father Chris Ridley make their way through the Nashville international Airport, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. A record number of Americans are expected to travel over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

 

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“We are happy an agreement has been reached, a need for a strike averted, and we are hopeful that the deal will be ratified by our members,” said Demos Demopoulos, the secretary-treasurer of the local.

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Associated Press video journalist Melissa Perez Winder in Chicago and Associated Press radio reporter Shelley Adler in Washington contributed to this report.

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Texas health department appoints anti-abortion OB-GYN to maternal mortality committee

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Texas health department appoints anti-abortion OB-GYN to maternal mortality committee

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas’ health department has appointed an outspoken anti-abortion OB-GYN to a committee that reviews pregnancy-related deaths as doctors have been warning that the state’s restrictive abortion ban puts women’s lives at risk.

Dr. Ingrid Skop was among the new appointees to the Texas Maternal Morality and Morbidity Review Committee announced last week by the Texas Department of State Health Services. Her term starts June 1.

The committee, which compiles data on pregnancy-related deaths, makes recommendations to the Legislature on best practices and policy changes and is expected to assess the impact of abortion laws on maternal mortality.

Skop, who has worked as an OB-GYN for over three decades, is vice president and director of medical affairs for the Charlotte Lozier Institute, an anti-abortion research group. Skop will be the committee’s rural representative.

Skop, who has worked in San Antonio for most of her career, told the Houston Chronicle that she has “often cared for women traveling long distances from rural Texas maternity deserts, including women suffering complications from abortions.”

Texas has one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the U.S., and doctors have sought clarity on the state’s medical exemption, which allows an abortion to save a woman’s life or prevent the impairment of a major bodily function. Doctors have said the exemption is too vague, making it difficult to offer life-saving care for fear of repercussions. A doctor convicted of providing an illegal abortion in Texas can face up to 99 years in prison and a $100,000 fine and lose their medical license.

Skop has said medical associations are not giving doctors the proper guidance on the matter. She has also shared more controversial views, saying during a congressional hearing in 2021 that rape or incest victims as young as 9 or 10 could carry pregnancies to term.

Texas’ abortion ban has no exemption for cases of rape or incest.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which says abortion is “inherently tied to maternal health,” said in a statement that members of the Texas committee should be “unbiased, free of conflicts of interest and focused on the appropriate standards of care.” The organization noted that bias against abortion has already led to “compromised” analyses, citing a research articles co-authored by Skop and others affiliated with the Charlotte Lozier Institute.

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Earlier this year a medical journal retracted studies supported by the Charlotte Lozier Institute claiming to show harms of the abortion pill mifepristone, citing conflicts of interests by the authors and flaws in their research. Two of the studies were cited in a pivotal Texas court ruling that has threatened access to the drug.

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Michigan farmworker diagnosed with bird flu, becoming 2nd US case tied to dairy cows

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Michigan farmworker diagnosed with bird flu, becoming 2nd US case tied to dairy cows

A Michigan dairy worker has been diagnosed with bird flu — the second human case associated with an outbreak in U.S. dairy cows.

The male worker had been in contact with cows at a farm with infected animals. He experienced mild eye symptoms and has recovered, U.S. and Michigan health officials said in announcing the case Wednesday.

A nasal swab from the person tested negative for the virus, but an eye swab tested Tuesday was positive for bird flu, “indicating an eye infection,” U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said.

The worker developed a “gritty feeling” in his eye earlier this month but it was a “very mild case,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, Michigan’s chief medical executive. He was not treated with oseltamivir, a medication advised for treating bird flu, she said.

The risk to the public remains low, but farmworkers exposed to infected animals are at higher risk, health officials said. They said those workers should be offered protective equipment, especially for their eyes.

Health officials say they do not know if the Michigan farmworker was wearing protective eyewear, but an investigation is continuing.

In late March, a farmworker in Texas was diagnosed in what officials called the first known instance globally of a person catching this version of bird flu from a mammal. That patient reported only eye inflammation and recovered.

Since 2020, a bird flu virus has been spreading among more animal species — including dogs, cats, skunks, bears and even seals and porpoises — in scores of countries.

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The detection in U.S. livestock earlier this year was an unexpected twist that sparked questions about food safety and whether it would start spreading among humans.

That hasn’t happened, although there’s been a steady increase of reported infections in cows. As of Wednesday, the virus had been confirmed in 51 dairy herds in nine states, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department. Fifteen of the herds were in Michigan.

The CDC’s Dr. Nirav Shah said the case was “not unexpected” and it’s possible more infections could be diagnosed in people who work around infected cows.

U.S. officials said they had tested 40 people since the first cow cases were discovered in late March. Michigan has tested 35 of them, Bagdasarian told The Associated Press in an interview.

Shah praised Michigan officials for actively monitoring farmworkers. He said health officials there have been sending daily text messages to workers exposed to infected cows asking about possible symptoms, and that the effort helped officials catch this infection. He said no other workers had reported symptoms.

That’s encouraging news, said Michael Osterholm, a University of Minnesota epidemiologist who has studied bird flu for decades. There’s no sign to date that the virus is causing flu-like illness or that it is spreading among people.

“If we had four or five people seriously ill with respiratory illness, we would be picking that up,” he said.

The virus has been found in high levels in the raw milk of infected cows, but government officials say pasteurized products sold in grocery stores are safe because heat treatment has been confirmed to kill the virus.

The new case marks the third time a person in the United States has been diagnosed with what’s known as Type A H5N1 virus. In 2022, a prison inmate in a work program picked it up while killing infected birds at a poultry farm in Montrose County, Colorado. His only symptom was fatigue, and he recovered. That predated the virus’s appearance in cows.

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The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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