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Volume 27 No. 32
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Banc Of California Signs $100M Naming-Rights Deal For LAFC's New Stadium

Banc of California yesterday agreed to pay $100M "over 15 years to slap its name" on expansion MLS club LAFC's new soccer stadium, according to sources cited by Eben Novy-Williams of BLOOMBERG NEWS. At $6.7M per year, the sponsorship is one of MLS' "biggest naming-rights deals." The team officially "broke ground" on the $350M, 22,000-seat venue yesterday (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 8/24). In L.A., James Koren notes Banc of California will have a branch on site and will "serve as a bank for the team and its affiliated nonprofit organization." Banc of California has "fewer than 40 branches" and assets of about $10B, making it "by far the smallest bank to put its name on a professional sports venue." It is about "one-tenth the size of BBVA Compass, the bank that holds the naming rights" to the Dynamo's stadium. The deal "may seem surprising given the bank's size ... but it reflects a web of relationships the bank's leaders have nurtured behind the scenes with the team's management." Banc of California President & CEO Steven Sugarman's brother, Jason, is a "minority investor in the soccer team and son-in-law" to the team's Exec Chair, Peter Guber. Magic Johnson Enterprises President Eric Holoman is also one of the bank's board members and the Basketball HOFer is "another part owner of the team." Sugarman said that the relationship that "sparked the deal" is one between himself and LAFC President Tom Penn. Both are of the LA 2024 committee. The new stadium is "one of the venues that would be used" during the Games (L.A. TIMES, 8/24).

OWNERSHIP SHUFFLE: In L.A., Damian Calhoun notes LAFC has "undergone a sort of reshuffling among the ownership group, with Larry Berg coming in as lead Managing Owner." Berg, senior partner of Apollo Global Management, has "been joined" by co-Managing Owners Bennett Rosenthal and Brandon Beck. All three were "previously limited partners in the franchise." Managing Partner Henry Nguyen has been named Owner & Vice Chair. Other members of the ownership group include actor Will Ferrell, former soccer player Mia Hamm and her husband, former MLBer Nomar Garciaparra (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 8/24).