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.
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.