Republic FC defender Emrah Klimenta (23) and Cosmos defender Hunter Gorskie (3) battle for control of the ball during a game between Sacramento Republic FC and the New York Cosmos at Hughes Stadium in Sacramento on Saturday, February 28, 2015. Republic FC has signed a new deal with UC Davis Health to be the team’s jersey sponsor if the club is granted an expansion spot in Major League Soccer. Randall Benton rbenton@sacbee.com
Republic FC defender Emrah Klimenta (23) and Cosmos defender Hunter Gorskie (3) battle for control of the ball during a game between Sacramento Republic FC and the New York Cosmos at Hughes Stadium in Sacramento on Saturday, February 28, 2015. Republic FC has signed a new deal with UC Davis Health to be the team’s jersey sponsor if the club is granted an expansion spot in Major League Soccer. Randall Benton rbenton@sacbee.com

City Beat

News, insight and discussion on Sacramento and its neighborhoods

City Beat

Sacramento Republic FC lands deal that could help Major League Soccer bid

By Ryan Lillis

rlillis@sacbee.com

October 16, 2017 10:14 AM

UPDATED October 17, 2017 08:28 AM

In another step to shore up its Major League Soccer bid, Sacramento Republic FC announced Monday that it has signed a five-year deal with UC Davis Health for a jersey sponsorship.

The agreement may be the first time that a club has signed a binding jersey sponsorship deal before landing a spot in the country’s premier professional soccer league.

Republic FC already has a kit sponsorship deal with UC Davis, but the new contract would run from 2020 – the first year the team would play in MLS – through the 2024 season. Financial terms were not disclosed Monday.

“As I’ve said before, actions speak louder than words,” Republic FC Chairman and CEO Kevin Nagle said in a written statement. “UC Davis Health has been a vital ally to Republic FC from day one, and its willingness to formalize our partnership sends a powerful message to MLS about how strong our market support is here in Sacramento.”

Never miss a local story.

Sign up today for a free 30 day free trial of unlimited digital access.

A committee of MLS owners will examine the top expansion contenders in the coming weeks and is expected to recommend cities to the league’s board of governors. The board is then expected to vote on two expansion spots in December. Republic FC has been mentioned by league officials as a top contender, along with Nashville, Cincinnati and Detroit.

Republic FC recently began pre-construction of a new soccer stadium in the downtown railyard and is expected to further strengthen its bid in the coming weeks with more sponsorship announcements. A deal for a jersey sponsor is particularly key to the city’s bid, as kit deals are often the most lucrative sponsorships secured by MLS clubs – even larger than stadium naming rights.

“This partnership pairs two of Sacramento’s strongest ambassadors, and sends an unequivocal signal that Sacramento is a major league city,” Mayor Darrell Steinberg said.

Watch Mayor Darrell Steinberg pump up major league soccer in Sacramento

Mayor Steinberg and Republic FC owner Kevin Nagle gather at the downtown rail yards to announce the construction of a soccer field to go along with Sacramento's bid for a Major League Soccer program.

Randy Pench The Sacramento Bee

Ryan Lillis: 916-321-1085, @Ryan_Lillis