Soccer fans will be able to see Orange County Soccer Club games at the Great Park for several more seasons.
On Tuesday, the Great Park Board, which is made up of Irvine councilmembers, approved a five-year extension to an agreement that will allow the club to play at Irvine’s Championship Soccer Stadium until 2028.
The OCSC has had an agreement with the city since 2019, giving it access to the Championship Stadium for about 18 home games in exchange for fees.
New to the agreement are advertising and branding rights given to OCSC and community grant funding paid to the city by OCSC. According to the staff report, the grant will be used to provide residents with scholarship opportunities for various community programs.
“This agreement provides the city with ongoing revenue streams while providing OCSC with the stability they need to call Great Park home for years to come,” said Cory Hilderbrand, an Irvine spokesperson.
The new pieces to the agreement will allow OCSC to advertise its own brand as well as third-party sponsors within the Great Park Sports Complex and the soccer stadium, including the panels on the scoreboard, during the next five years. That’s something OCSC couldn’t do under previous agreements, which mandated the club take down signage after games, OCSC spokesperson Chad Romiti said.
OCSC, in turn, will provide the city $25,000 annually, beginning on Feb. 15, according to the staff report, for the “intended purpose of adding to the city’s scholarship fund for various programs in community services.”
The new agreement also outlines the option of an additional five-year extension “upon the written, mutual agreement of the parties.” Romiti said he’s positive the team will play at Great Park through the 2033 season, given the “history between the club and the city of Irvine.”
“We’re pretty confident that it will be a 10-year deal,” Romiti said. “Obviously, we have to be good stewards of the facility.”
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City leaders had some reservations regarding stadium naming rights.
OCSC would have the exclusive rights to pursue third-party sponsorship for the naming rights to the stadium, the agreement had said. For any third-party sponsors secured by OCSC, the club would get to keep 80% of the fees while the rest would go to the city.
The board ultimately struck that provision from the agreement, choosing to further discuss it with the soccer club at a separate time.
“We bring a lot of value to the stadium, and in terms of our ability to bring in partners, we bring a lot of additional value to your beautiful facility, which is how this agreement was contemplated,” said Daniel Rutstein, the club’s president of business relations.
The club will be celebrating the new deal at its first-round Western Conference Quarterfinal playoff game on Oct. 21 at the Championship Stadium, Romiti said.