LAFC home ground now BMO Stadium



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LAFC new naming rights Image: Coliseum GSVA

The Major League Soccer (MLS) team LAFC’s (US) home has a new name with the Montreal (Canada)-based bank BMO (Canadian multinational investment bank and financial services company) replacing the Banc of California as the stadium’s title sponsor, the team announced on January 19th. BMO also holds the naming rights to the MLS team Toronto FC’s stadium and is Toronto’s (Canada) kit sponsor as well.

‘Los Angeles Times’ quoted the LAFC Co-President Larry Freedman as stating, “We get an incredible partner that has a decades-long commitment to the game. They have been supporting the growth of the game and access to the game and inclusivity. This is also a partner that has deep experience in sports partnership, not only in MLS but in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Hockey League (NHL).”

The Los Angeles Football Club, commonly referred to as LAFC, is an American professional soccer team based in Los Angeles, US. The club competes in Major League Soccer (MLS) as a member club of the league’s Western Conference. The club was established on October 30th, 2014, and began play during the 2018 season as an expansion team.

The 22,000-capacity BMO Stadium, formerly Banc of California Stadium, is a soccer-specific stadium in the Exposition Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, US. It is the home of Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles FC and the National Women’s Soccer League’s Angel City FC.

‘Los Angeles Times’ further stated that the announcement of the partnership comes one day after the BMO won regulatory approval for a $16.3-billion deal to take over San Francisco-based Bank of the West, expanding its reach in the United States across nine States.

The venue’s first official game as the BMO Stadium will be played on January 25th when the US men’s national team faces Serbia, although much of the Banc of California signage will take weeks to replace, Freedman said. BMO also joined Angel City, which plays its NWSL games at the stadium, as a partner.

LAFC, the reigning MLS champion, signed a 15-year, $100-million naming-rights partnership with the Santa Ana (City in California)-based Banc of California in 2016, two years before the stadium opened. But in 2020, in the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, the bank paid $20.1 million to get out of the agreement, although its name remained atop the stadium as LAFC searched for a replacement.

Added Freedman, “I would have liked it to happen sooner. It took longer than anybody would have liked. But at the end of the day it was all worth the wait because we got a wonderful partner.”

Terms of the BMO deal were not made public.

LAFC’s original shirt sponsor, YouTube TV, ended its deal with the team after three seasons and was replaced by Flex Power Tools. Drinkmaker Rockstar Energy, which sponsored the team’s practice facility at the Cal State Los Angeles, ended its deal with LAFC last season.

Freedman said the team would like to find a replacement for Rockstar – “We are always actively pursuing new partners. There is plenty of opportunity to add to what is already, I think, a league-leading partnership portfolio.”

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