Los Angeles Football Club dropped some unexpected news this week, announcing they are restructuring their partnership with Banc of California, which currently holds the naming rights to the club’s stadium, and said venue will eventually get a new naming rights sponsor.
“We are extremely proud of our relationship with Banc of California and all that we have built and accomplished together,” LAFC co-owner and president Tom Penn said in a team statement. “We thank them for being our founding naming rights partner, helping us create something special and making Banc of California Stadium one of the best sports and entertainment experiences in Los Angeles. We are excited to continue working with Banc of California on our joint community initiatives, while also pursuing a new naming rights partner for the stadium.”
The original deal, signed in 2016, was reportedly supposed to run for 15 years and at $100 million, to that point the highest such naming rights deal in MLS history and competitive with similar deals in larger American pro sports leagues. The LAFC release on the news indicates they want “the ability to expand its roster of sponsors and partners in support of the club for years to come,” which means they’re taking bids right now, apparently, for the next stadium naming rights sponsor.
It’s unclear if LAFC or Banc of California initiated the change, and as far as these things go, changing your arrangement while still committing to work together is rather unusual. Often, old stadium names disappear with nary a reference again by the club, and aside from the initial announcement, not a ton of attention is usually paid to these deals, I guess with the idea that the stadium naming rights themselves are pretty apparent and a lot of exposure for the company.
On the supporter/media front, I doubt they’ll partner with another bank so “The Banc” will likely go by the wayside as a nickname unless it is a magical name that stands the test of time. Having lived through some of the other stadium renamings around the league, eventually you get a new nickname or acronym and life goes on.
And obviously, we’ll keep you posted on developments regarding a new name for The Banc. There’s no specific timeline for the switch, although I would expect there will likely be a new name by next season. We’ll see.
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