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Sunday, February 25, 2024
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LAFC’s Historic Run: From MLS Cup Final Return to Billion-Dollar Valuation

  • MLS club looks to become league's first repeat champion since 2012.
  • Season has included series of historic accomplishments.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

In a 2023 MLS season dominated heavily by the exploits of Inter Miami’s Lionel Messi, LAFC is putting its own historic stamp on the league — and not just on the field. 

The defending league champions clinched a return trip to the MLS Cup Final, defeating the Houston Dynamo 2-0 on Saturday in the Western Conference Final. In seeking to become the league’s first repeat champion since the 2011-12 LA Galaxy, LAFC is extending what has already been a landmark season for the franchise.

In July, LAFC and the Galaxy set a single-game league attendance record, drawing 82,110 for an installment of the city’s famed El Tráfico rivalry. LAFC has now played in 52 matches this year, including competing in several non-MLS tournaments, a league record within a calendar year.

Set to face the Jimmy Haslam-owned Columbus Crew on Saturday, LAFC earlier this year became the first MLS club to reach a $1 billion valuation. The team secured a $100 million stadium naming rights deal with banking giant BMO. And the club is now reportedly in talks to acquire Switzerland’s Grasshopper Club Zurich in a bid to expand its portfolio into Europe.

The club’s prominent ownership includes Los Angeles Dodgers and Golden State Warriors co-owner Peter Guber, Basketball Hall of Famer Magic Johnson, former pro athletes Nomar Garciaparra and Mia Hamm Garciaparra, and actor Will Farrell, among others. Johnson was present at BMO Field for the conference title win.

Banner Year

LAFC’s accomplishments help cap off a season in which MLS set league records for both attendance and revenue.

This season also marked the debut of the league’s new rights deal with Apple, driving viewership numbers that Apple senior vice president Eddy Cue said “no one expected.”

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