Soccer Pub Culture May Come to L.A. with LAFC

The Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) plans to debut next year and open the club’s own Banc of California Stadium. There may be another fun addition to the plans: a new place to enjoy famous soccer pub culture. Pubs, the British term for bars, are the best places to watch the game in the U.K., where the sport was born. In the U.S., bars are also the best places to enjoy the game with fellow fans. L.A. has its own soccer-pub scene where devoted fans often line up to buy tickets to major games. LAFC hopes to tap into this scene and offer an extra cool venue for soccer fans.

Designs Underway for the Optimal Pub Experience with Amazing Sights

Soccer is hugely popular in Europe, where the pub culture can be experienced to its fullest. LAFC hopes to introduce something similar in L.A. The club plans to open a bar of their own so that fans can gather around and watch live matches, mingle, and enjoy beverages. Most people get out of their living rooms not just to watch the match but also to enjoy the experience of watching a live game with other fans. LAFC hopes to recreate this experience to its fullest with the proposed bar.

The designs for the bar are already underway and are heavily inspired by pubs in Europe. One of the involved designers, Sal Reyes of Lucky Boys, has said that the bar will be targeting the “European supporter,” and will have sights akin to a tourist attraction. The principal architect for the LAFC bar is Jonathan Emmett, who described the bar as a place to be right in the middle of the action. The bar will have a “great view” of the pitch, Emmet said, and also wonderful views of the downtown skyline and the surrounding Exposition Park.

Grand Location and European Inspiration

When it opens next year, the Banc of California Stadium will be located near George Lucas’s breathtaking Museum of Narrative Art in Exposition Park. Other grand attractions, like the Memorial Coliseum, Natural History Museum, the African American Museum and the California Science Center will also be close by. So the expectations are high for the stadium to deliver a truly unique experience. It’s highly expected that the park serves as a hub for the 2028 Olympic Games. So it will be an opportunity for the stadium to attract both international and local soccer fans.

Perhaps, as a result, the architects are modeling the stadium after legendary stadiums in Europe, such as Anfield in Liverpool, Queens Park Rangers Loftus Road and the Westfalenstadion of Borussia Dortmund. But the key features of the stadium will be uniquely L.A. For example, the bar with the pitch view is typical of what spectators get in American football stadiums. The idea is to allow fans to enjoy the game without having to leave their drinks behind.

Fan Supported Designs

LAFC has based designs on fan expectations from the beginning. It’s not based on guessing alone. Fan input has been crucial for designing the club’s uniform, crest and choosing colors. Likewise, supporter and fan input is directing how the stadium’s bar is being designed. Supporters meet with the architects occasionally, to offer their take on the designs.

With supporters having a say on the overall vibe of the bar, it can be expected to resonate directly with the core fan base.


Jason Sugarman Excited Over Carlos Vela, LAFC’s Designated Player

The Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) signed Carlos Vela this August as the club’s first-ever “designated player.” It was a “momentous day” for the club, in the words of John Thorrington, LAFC’s general manager and executive vice president of soccer operations. He rightfully predicted that Vela would excite the club’s fans. Jason Sugarman, who is one of the many celebrity investors of the club, is intently focused on how Vela would perform in 2018 when the club would make its debut.

Who is Carlos Vela?

Carlos Vela may not be known to regional soccer fans, but he has extensive international playing experience, according to Mr. Thorrington. Vela is young but has played in many top leagues around the world. Until recently, Vela was with Real Sociedad, the famous Spanish soccer club, as a celebrated forward. Next year, he will transfer to MLS club and play with LAFC. Vela is playing the remainder of this year with Real Sociedad.

LAFC has stated that Vela is the “exact type and profile of player” the club has been looking for. And it’s hard not to see why. Vela is hailed for his versatile and high-end attacking style in his position. He’s also unique because, though he is known as a forward, he plays other positions fluidly as well. He has yet to play a forward in this soccer season for Sociedad, where the club is only behind Barcelona. Vela has been a great secondary playmaker this season for Sociedad. It’s not hard to see the star-level potential here.

Vela got his professional start playing for the Mexican national team. But in the past few years, he has mainly played professional soccer in Spain and England, two of the best places for the game. He really emerged as a noteworthy player in the 2013-14 season, when he scored 16 goals for his team, three of which were in the UEFA Champions League. This year, he appeared in three 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup games. He has played 6 games for the 2018 World Cup cycle, scoring twice.

LAFC’s Coach, Bob Bradley, formerly of the U.S. national team, has called Vela an “exciting attacking player.” Vela is tapped to develop the “style and tempo” for LAFC that the club will bring to the 2018 soccer season. Expectations are flying high, and Vela is well prepped to meet them.

LAFC’s Highly Anticipated Debut is Just around the Corner

Mr. Sugarman is excited about many things for the next year’s soccer season. For one, LAFC’s Banc of California Stadium is coming along nicely and will be ready for the upcoming season. The construction of the stadium is bringing over $300 million worth of private investments to L.A. It will be a soccer-specific and will also be the first open-air stadium built in the city since 1962.

The 2018 MLS season is expected to be quite busy. The club’s main objective right now is to ensure that players are well trained, and also don’t get injured playing this year’s season. Once that’s accomplished, LAFC’s debut season won’t be any less than a total blast.

Jason Sugarman Explains Why L.A. Should Get Excited about Soccer, Not Football

Investing in football is not always as it’s cracked up to be. Let’s take Los Angeles professional football, for example. The NFL is desperately trying to make it work but is epically failing at doing so. The early season results of L.A. football have been dismal, to put it mildly. Football fans don’t seem to be interested in Rams paying the Seahawks, despite the team’s stars practically begging fans to attend the event. Even worse are the Chargers, who recently played a shockingly disastrous 0-4 game.

The Dolphins-Chargers game on the second week of the season saw many empty bleachers. The home team was publicly humiliated when the visiting Eagles players managed to make the remaining crowd cheer for them instead. The incident even lead Dick Stockton to claim, quite amazed, that he’s never seen a “visiting player getting the crowd loud against the home team.”

It seems that L.A. football is getting attention for all the wrong reasons. But the city can safely be crazy about the other football, called soccer here, that doesn’t fail to fill the stadiums. For those who are disappointed in L.A. football, veteran investor Jason Sugarman lists some of the reasons to get excited about L.A. soccer instead:

LAFC will Make a Grand Debut in 2018

The Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) is the most recent entry to Major League Soccer. LAFC will make its debut in the 2018 season, and there are plenty of reasons to get excited. LAFC is funded by celebrity investors like Will Ferrell, Magic Johnson, and Mr. Sugarman. Recently, the Club held an event to break the ground to build the highly anticipated Banc of California stadium in the namesake hometown. The star-studded event was attended by LAFC’s co-owners, investors, sports people and local politicians.

The event took off to a great start with Club’s co-owner, Mr. Ferrell, as a homage to his Hollywood persona, putting down a gauntlet jokingly. The event announced the Club’s naming rights partnership, which was called the “the largest sponsorship in the history of MLS” by LAFC managing owner Larry Berg. Hopes are high that LAFC will make a huge impact on MLS overall.

The Club has signed on players Rodrigo Pacheco, Bassey Etim and Carlos Alvarez, so it’s not hard to believe that LAFC will make a huge splash next year. The team is being coached by the former national team coach Bob Bradley. LAFC is also under the keen supervision of general team manager John Thorrington.

All Signs Indicate that Soccer is the Better Investment, Not Football

Investments follow the “smart money.” Right now, smart money doesn’t seem to be in L.A. football. The ability to draw “correct inferences” from market trends is a crucial skill in becoming a good investor (or at least an economist), according to Stanford’s economics program. Mr. Sugarman, who graduated with a B.A. in economics from Stanford, sees great potential for L.A. soccer much more than L.A. football. Sports fans in the city are already shunning local football, while soccer seems to get everyone excited. Therefore, the investment opportunities right now seem to be in soccer.

Investors Get Access to the Box Seats Everyone Wants

Football fans may have to go to war to get the best box seats, but for the investors of a team like LAFC, the box seats are guaranteed. Not only do box seats give a great view of the game being played, you also get to sit next to other important people. The use of the director’s box has long been hailed as a major opportunity to network with other financiers and investors. Businesspeople can meet others who could potentially become clients. Also, everyone loves the sport, so that’s always a great way to prompt a genuine connection.

Soccer generally attracts more investments than NFL because the sport has a global appeal that most other sports in America don’t. Global appeal translates to millions in profits. As Mr. Sugarman shows, that’s definitely one of the major reasons to invest in a soccer team. Also, the city seems to be into soccer much more than football anyway. Entrepreneurs who have always loved the game can benefit professionally and personally by investing in soccer clubs.

Jason Sugarman Talks about What He Loves Best

Jason Sugarman, the veteran private equity investor, is ready to talk about what he loves best after his family: sports. The financier has made quite a name for himself investing in professional sports teams, including Los Angeles Football Club, and Oklahoma City Dodgers. Mr. Sugarman also has investments in the e-sports teams Team Liquid, Marucci, and DSG Golf. He is also an active investor in L.A’s ever thriving restaurant scene as well.

Investing in LA Football Club with Celebrities

Mr. Sugarman is an investor in the Los Angeles Football Club, along with some other 26 people including former major athletes such as Magic Johnson, Nomar Garciaparra, and Mia Hamm. Both sports and movie star names are nothing new to the Club’s ownership team. Early last year, superstar comedian Will Ferrell became a part owner of the team. The Club’s ownership team is estimated to have a net worth over $4.5 billion.

Plans are already underway for the Club to have its own stadium at the Exposition Park, right nearby where the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will soon be. The club is dropping a whopping sum of $350 million for its future home. The stadium will have an open-air design and high-end NFL-style amenities like private suites and a rooftop bar, according to Los Angeles magazine.

The L.A. Football Club is scheduled to debut in 2018 season with an in-house trained team. Right now, fans can get a peek at the Club’s activities on its official website.

Investing in Innovative Restaurants in L.A.

Mr. Sugarman, an alumnus of Stanford University, is a dedicated foodie who has invested in some of the best restaurants in L.A., including a chain of local BBQ restaurants in Orange County, The Viper Room, El Dorado, The Six at Studio City, new grass fed hamburger restaurant. The Viper Room is a legacy restaurant in the city frequented by A-list celebrities like Johnny Depp. It was once a favorite diner of Johnny Cash.

Mr. Sugarman loves classic American dishes, and he invests in restaurants that serve mostly American cuisine. It’s not always easy in L.A., where tastes are for gluten-free, low-calorie, vegan, and mostly sugar-free dishes. The foodie scene in the city has been reinventing itself to match the tastes of high-flying millennials as well as traditionalists always in the search for the perfect pork chop. Mr. Sugarman, himself a fan of both fusion and classic style dishes, prefers to invest in restaurants that focus on quality and innovation with an eye out for improving social engagement.

What’s Next for Jason Sugarman?

Mr. Sugarman is expected to continue with his significant sports investments in the future. He will be heavily invested in the debut of the L.A. Football Club, which has ambitious plans for the future. He will continue his involvement in the ever rising e-sports sector as well. As a restaurateur investor, he hopes to pour his money into both new and old establishments that embody the foodie spirit of the city. Mr. Sugarman would mainly be invested in his sports portfolio that he hopes to expand in the coming years.

Jason Sugarman has High Hopes for LAFC

Jason Sugarman, the noted private equity financier, has a new obsession on his portfolio—the Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC). The well-known sports fan is focusing all his efforts on the LAFC’s public debut scheduled to be during the 2018 soccer season. Mr. Sugarman is a prolific sports investor who has stakes in the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Golden State Warriors, and the Oakland Raiders. He’s been involved in fantasy sports as well. However, LAFC just might be his most ambitious sports investment yet.

What is the LAFC?

The Los Angeles Football Club is the newest Major League Soccer team in crowded L.A. The team is co-owned by about 27 people, including Sugarman. The LAFC’s star studded investment team includes former major athletes like Nomar Garciaparra, Mia Hamm, and Magic Johnson, as well as Hollywood stars like Will Ferrell. LAFC’s superstar ownership team is estimated to be worth about $4.5 billion.

The team is being overseen by John Thorrington, the South African born executive vice president of soccer operations for LAFC. Thorrington was trained as a young player at the famous Manchester United academy and played in Europe for about eight years. He has been in charge of LAFC’s technical aspects since 2015.

LAFC’s investors like Mr. Sugarman intend the team to rise to the top of the second largest sports market in America. The team plans to debut for the MLS’ 23rd team in 2018, and it will do so with a bang. The team is building an out of this world stadium in L.A.’s Exposition Park, right next to the Coliseum.

The Banc of California Stadium

LAFC’s flagship stadium, called the Banc of California Stadium, will be located close to major attractions like the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Exposition Park. The Club is dropping over $350 million on the stadium to make it a state-of-the-art attraction for sports fans. The building work is still underway. The stadium will feature an open-air design. The developers are planning hip amenities that rival NFL’s, like rooftop bars, and luxurious private suites.

LAFC is also renovating the old Cal State L.A. stadium as a training complex. The Club has spent $30 million on renovations, which is the third largest investment in Major League soccer history for a training facility. Only Real Salt Lake and Atlanta United teams have invested more in training complexes. LAFC is heavily renovating and building new units to make the training complex suitable for modern use.

LAFC Teams

As the Club is yet to debut, there are no professional teams associated with the franchise. However, LAFC has a fully funded academy with U-12 USSDA accreditation. Currently, the Academy is training 26 young players who will debut in 2018. The LAFC is currently in the process of adding new young players to U12, U13, and U14 teams.

Mr. Sugarman firmly believes that the LAFC’s planned 2018 debut will be nothing short of spectacular. The Club’s stadium is already attracting attention for its grand scale if nothing else. It seems that the LAFC has a bright future ahead.