LAFC, Bank of Montreal agree to $100 million stadium naming rights deal

The first open-air stadium built in Los Angeles since 1962 has been affectionately called “The Banc” since it opened in the spring of 2018.

For the next decade, “La Banque” might be more fitting.

Moving on from the South Los Angeles stadium’s initial naming rights partner, Banc of California, the Los Angeles Football Club has entered into the largest naming rights deal in Major League Soccer history with Bank of Montreal for approximately $100 million over 10 years, according to a source familiar with the terms.

On Thursday, LAFC revealed its 22,000-seat home would be renamed BMO Stadium effective immediately, making it the second MLS venue associated with the 200-year-old French-Canadian bank after Toronto FC unveiled BMO Field in 2007. BMO inked a 10-year renewal with Toronto in 2022, including for the club’s main jersey sponsorship.

In 2020, LAFC and the Banc of California announced the restructuring of their reported 15-year, $100 million agreement that led to the financial institution’s eventual removal from the marquee of the downtown stadium that is erected on the former site of the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena.

Following a $20.1 million termination fee, Banc of California paid LAFC approximately $36 million dollars over three years, according to financial records filed by the bank with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Described as “The Bank of Soccer” in a press release announcing the deal with LAFC, BMO touted partnerships with Toronto, CF Montreal and the Vancouver Whitecaps FC as well as investments of over $18.5 million aimed at developing youth soccer in Canada since 2005.

As the eighth-largest bank in North America expands its footprint in the U.S., BMO received regulatory approval from the Federal Reserve on Tuesday to acquire the Bank of the West. The $16.3 billion deal is the largest by a Canadian bank.

“BMO is thrilled to forge this partnership with LAFC, which reinforces our bank’s commitment to growing the game of soccer across North America,” Cameron Fowler, chief strategy and operations Officer, BMO, said in a prepared statement. “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.”

The LAFC corporate sponsorship team led by senior vice-president, head of corporate sponsorships and media sales Kristen Kuhn and CFO Stacy Johns handled the contract and partnership negotiation, the club said.

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After breaking ground on the $350 million facility on Aug. 23, 2016, the soccer-specific stadium opened for events in the spring of 2018. LAFC said it has sold out every MLS regular-season match and playoff match at the venue, which also hosted the 2022 MLS All-Star game and the 2023 MLS Cup.

BMO Stadium will remain home to Angel City Football Club, which debuted last year in the NWSL. ACFC led the women’s soccer league in attendance, averaging more than 19,000 fans per match.

On Jan. 25, the U.S. men’s national soccer team will make its debut at BMO Stadium in an exhibition match with Serbia for the first event at the renamed facility that will continue to book concerts, music festivals and corporate events.

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