Bank Run by 41-Year-Old Signs $100 Million Stadium-Name Deal

  • Fifteen-year deal among the biggest in Major League Soccer
  • Team broke ground Tuesday on $350 million, 22,000-seat venue

An artist's rendering of the new soccer stadium that will be home to the Los Angeles Football Club.

Source: Gensler

Banc of California, whose 41-year-old leader has almost doubled its stock price and assets since the start of 2015, agreed to pay $100 million over 15 years to slap its name on Los Angeles’s new soccer stadium, according to a person with knowledge of the agreement.

At $6.7 million per year, the sponsorship is one of Major League Soccer’s biggest naming-rights deals, topping some similar arrangements in much bigger leagues as well. Technology company Avaya recently agreed to pay $2 million per year in a 10-year deal with MLS’s San Jose Earthquakes, according the San Jose Mercury News. M&T Bank recently extended its deal with the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens for $6 million a year.

The 22,000-seat venue in South Los Angeles, home of the Los Angeles Football Club, will be called Banc of California Stadium. The team announced the partnership Tuesday without disclosing a price as it broke ground on the $350 million project in a ceremony featuring Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

“We saw an opportunity to continue building a foundation,” Banc of California Chief Executive Officer Steven Sugarman said at the ceremony. “A foundation that includes economic opportunity, jobs, access to capital and access to banking services.”

Spokesmen for the club and company declined to comment on the price or didn’t respond to messages seeking comment.

‘Great Deal’

“That’s a great deal for the team,” said Eric Smallwood, managing partner of Apex Marketing Group Inc. who consults on naming rights. “L.A. is the second-biggest media market in the league, but this will help boost other figures. A new benchmark amount.”

If Los Angeles wins its bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, Irvine-based Banc of California could get even more exposure. The city’s proposal would use the new soccer stadium as an aquatic center. The bank already is an official partner of the bid committee.

The Los Angeles Football Club’s owners paid $110 million in 2014 to join the Galaxy in L.A. The league is preparing to almost double its expansion fees to about $200 million, and is targeting four more cities to bring its team total to 28.

LAFC will play its first MLS game in 2018. The team recently overhauled its ownership group, with Apollo Global Management senior partner Larry Berg leading a trio of local investors taking control of the franchise. Berg was joined by Ares Management co-founder Bennett Rosenthal and Riot Games Inc. co-founder Brandon Beck. Other limited partners in the franchise include comedian Will Ferrell, former baseball player Nomar Garciaparra and his wife, soccer player Mia Hamm.

Brother’s Investment

Sugarman’s brother, Jason, also is an investor in the soccer club, and happens to be the son-in-law of Mandalay Entertainment Group CEO Peter Guber, who owns stakes in the club and the NBA’s Golden State Warriors.

“Jason had no involvement in this process whatsoever,” said Cale Ottens, a spokesman for the bank, said of the name deal.

The new stadium will include an international food hall, conference and event center, a retail store and what the team calls nightlife components. About half of the cost will be financed with debt in a loan syndicated by Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Banc of California formed in 2013 when it merged its two banking subsidiaries -- Pacific Trust Bank and the Private Bank of California. It has more than 100 locations and, under the partnership, will expand services in the district around the venue. The bank’s black-and-gold color scheme matches that of the team.

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