LAFC announces renaming of Banc of California Stadium to BMO Stadium
LAFC’s home has a new name with Montreal-based bank BMO replacing Banc of California as the stadium’s title sponsor, the team announced Thursday. BMO is also holds the naming rights to Toronto FC’s stadium and is Toronto’s kit sponsor as well.
“We get an incredible partner that has a decades-long commitment to the game,” LAFC co-president Larry Freedman said. “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 NBA and the NHL.”
Announcement of the partnership comes one day after 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 U.S. across nine states.
Carlos Marroquin runs the Santa Clarita Blue Heat, which has played a big role in developing soccer stars such as Alyssa Thompson and Deyna Castellanos.
The venue’s first official game as BMO Stadium will be played Jan. 25 when the U.S. men’s national team faces Serbia, although much of the Banc of California signage will take weeks to replace, Freedman said. BMO on Thursday 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 Santa Ana-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.
“I would have liked it to happen sooner. It took longer than anybody would have liked,” Freedman said. “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.
Harvard-Westlake star Alyssa Thompson becomes the youngest player ever selected No. 1 in the NWSL draft, with the 18-year-old going to Angel City FC.
LAFC’s original shirt sponsor, YouTube TV, ended its deal with the team after three seasons and was replaced by Flex Power Tools. Drink maker Rockstar Energy, which sponsored the team’s practice facility at 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,” he said. “There is plenty of opportunity to add to what is already, I think, a league-leading partnership portfolio.”
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