Angel City FC are off to a blockbuster start to their history on the field, with an ownership model that seems to have set the scene for a groundbreaking amount of sponsorships for an NWSL club, a large and raucous crowd at home games that has seldom been seen in the league previously, popular merchandise and a palpable buzz, plus a competitive team out of the gate.
It’s a launch that’s been successful enough that Angel City is early on being credited with helping to move NWSL and women’s soccer into a new era, and that could prove attractive in more ways than one. Among other things, a report last week claims MLS club LAFC, which leases Banc of California Stadium to Angel City FC, has an option to purchase an equity stake within four years, according to Sportico.
The report explains that while LAFC and Angel City have a stadium-share agreement with revenue sharing in terms of merchandise, tickets and concessions sold to the MLS team, with LAFC chipping in with personnel help on the ticketing and consulting sides. But in addition, LAFC can purchase an equity stake within the four-year period of the stadium lease agreement if they so choose. The price point of that purchase was not reported, and it’s not clear if LAFC could purchase a stake big enough to have a say in club operations, or if their investment would merely be “over the top” the existing funding from the enormous ownership group and the leadership team would remain as currently constituted.
For now, I don’t think there is a rush to make any move for either side, but it is worth noting that as Angel City builds an impressive debut season, LAFC’s interest in having equity in the NWSL club could go from “out of the goodness of their heart” to “just a smart and rational business decision.” And it’s worth noting while there is some overlap between the fanbases of the respective clubs, they are far from a total overlap, with consistent market research showing season ticket holders for MLS and NWSL clubs in the same market seldom tend to overlap beyond a mere 10 percent or so. If anything changes in the Angel City or LAFC spheres, we’ll be sure to let you know.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.