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Angel City FC details revenue progress as debut season kicks off

By Alex Silverman
Jane Walker is one of the “female-centric” brands the club has aligned with.Courtesy of Angel City FC

Angel City FC’s head of revenue, Jess Smith, had a lot to celebrate ahead of the NWSL club’s inaugural match at Banc of California Stadium last Friday: more than 15,000 season tickets sold, 21 corporate partners signed, merchandise shipped to 38 countries — and all while building a brand based on community impact and female empowerment.

“There’s definitely a moment of reflection right now, just appreciation that we had an idea of building something with purpose, we held to our values and then the market told us, ‘Yes, keep going,’ through their dollars and in showing up,” she said. “I don’t know how it can get much better than that feeling.”

With an ethos built on community impact and female empowerment, Angel City FC put together a robust and eclectic sponsorship portfolio ahead of its inaugural season. Headlined by DoorDash, which the team signed to the most lucrative jersey sponsorship in NWSL history, the lineup of 21 companies ranges from familiar sports spenders to industry newcomers in nontraditional categories.

The latter includes a range of what Smith called “female-centric” brands that resonate with the club’s core fan base, such as direct-to-consumer shoe brand Birdies, specialty produce brand Melissa’s, shopping membership program Curateur and Johnnie Walker spinoff brand Jane Walker.

Smith noted she has yet to strike deals in three of the most prominent categories for major sports properties — automotive, financial services, and insurance — which she attributed to the club’s laser focus on forging authentic partnerships. That includes allocating 10% of sponsorship revenue toward philanthropic initiatives and collaborating with each brand on a distinct initiative focusing on a cause.

“It’s really been about building a portfolio of allies and companies that have shared values with us that understand what we’re building and want to collaborate with us on that. And the 10% means that alignment is very real.”

Smith said the club is in discussions with potential suitors in each of the vacant categories and is closing in on deals with undisclosed automotive and financial companies.

In addition to shoring up the sponsorship roster, Smith sees emerging Web3 technology as a potential revenue driver for the club that extends beyond the sponsorship element of its partnership with Crypto.com. She said that while the team’s short-term strategy is “all about accessibility, inclusivity and getting people comfortable” with things like non-fungible tokens, there is untapped potential to monetize NFTs beyond the team’s local market.

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