Los Angeles FC, of the US' top-tier Major League Soccer (MLS), have secured Montreal-based bank BMO Financial as the new naming rights partner for their $350-million stadium in a 10-year deal worth a reported $100 million.
Starting this week, the venue’s name will change from Banc of California Stadium to BMO Stadium, with physical signage at the stadium to be installed in due course. The stadium will host its first official game under the new moniker on January 26 when the US men’s national team faces Serbia in a friendly.
As part of the deal, the pair will work together to highlight small businesses in the area. Forbes has reported that BMO Financial will pay $100 million ($10 million per year) over 10 years, making it the largest naming rights partnership in MLS history by average annual value.
Larry Freedman, LAFC co-president and chief business officer, said: “Our partnership with BMO unites two organizations that share a vision and commitment to be leaders and forces for good in our community.
“BMO Stadium is the premier outdoor arena in the heart of Los Angeles, having established itself as a world-class sports and entertainment venue that hosts iconic concerts, events, and top-level soccer.”
The new deal ends the club’s long-running search for a new stadium sponsor since announcing a restructure of its 15-year agreement with Banc of California in 2020 that would see the financial institution step away as the team’s naming rights partner but remain as its primary banking partner.
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That partnership started in 2016 when the two agreed on a $100-million deal to have the bank's name on the new stadium built by the LAFC’s ownership group, two years before the club’s debut in the MLS in 2018.
At the time, it was hailed as one of the biggest naming rights deals in the league.
Since their MLS debut, LAFC have won the MLS Cup and two Supporter’s Shields. Every MLS regular season and playoff match at its home stadium has been sold out.
The stadium, which is also home to the National Women’s Soccer League club Angel City FC, has a capacity of 22,000 and has been used to stage other men’s soccer events including the 2021 MLS All-Star Game and 2022 MLS Cup.
It also hosts around 250 events per year and is part of plans for the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
Cameron Fowler, BMO’s chief strategy and operations officer, said: “BMO is thrilled to forge this partnership with LAFC, which reinforces our bank’s commitment to growing the game of soccer across North America.
“Through BMO Stadium, we will share our passion for soccer and commitment to the Los Angeles community while bringing to life our purpose, to boldly grow the good in business and life. We look forward to supporting LAFC and its fans this season and beyond.”
BMO, also known as Bank of Montreal, has several partnerships in MLS, including naming rights to Toronto FC’s home arena, BMO Field. It is also the kit sponsor for Toronto FC and CF Montreal and has spent more than $18.5 million on initiatives to develop youth soccer in North America.
Naming rights for stadiums are the most valuable sponsorship asset for franchises in the US, with the deals fast becoming the most expensive in the world.
Fellow MLS side Real Salt Lake struck a 15-year deal worth nearly $100 million with American First Credit Union in September 2022, while the Houston Dynamo secured home energy supplier Shell Energy as its stadium rights partner earlier this week.