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Thursday, March 23, 2023

TOCA and Ventura Form Football-Themed Entertainment and Dining Partnership in Mexico

TOCA and Ventura Form Football-Themed Entertainment and Dining Partnership in Mexico

TOCA Football Inc., a technology-based football training and entertainment company that has raised over $100 million in funding, has entered into a franchise agreement with Ventura Entertainment to open TOCA Social dining and entertainment venues in Mexico.

Ventura Entertainment has committed to opening at least 20 TOCA Social locations over the next 10 years, including seven locations in the US, Canada and Mexico ahead of the 2026 World Cup. All told, Ventura says it will invest more than $100 million over the next decade in venues where people eat, drink and attend football-themed games.

Mexico-based Ventura plans to open its first TOCA Social in Monterrey this year. According to the company, the only TOCA Social so far is in London, where it opened next to the O2 Arena in August 2021 and attracted more than 300,000 visitors in its first year.Toca Announce Last year it will also open a venue in Dallas this year.

TOCA CEO Yoshi Maruyama said the company hopes to open at least 75 TOCA Socials around the world. It will own and operate venues in the U.K. and U.S., as it does in London and Dallas, but it will sometimes team up with other companies through franchise agreements, working with local operators, such as the Ventura deal in Mexico.

“(Football) is a big part of (Mexican) culture,” Maruyama said. “So, given the demographics, given the sheer size, given the economy’s focus on leisure and entertainment, Mexico is a no-brainer for Toca to expand.”

Ventura CEO Guido Benassini said the TOCA Social concept is similar to Topgolf, which has more than 75 locations in the U.S. and eight overseas.

Ventura has an exclusive franchise agreement with Topgolf in Mexico. The company opened its first Topgolf in Monterrey in 2021 and plans to open another in Mexico City. In addition to Topgolf, Ventura operates six other attractions in Mexico, including aquariums, theme parks and swim-with-dolphins facilities.

Ventura was drawn to run TOCA Socials because of the company’s experience in the entertainment industry and because football is so popular in Mexico, Benaccini said. Monterrey, for example, has teams from the country’s top league (Liga Mx) and often attracts sold-out crowds.

“(Monterey) is a very prosperous region in Mexico,” Benaccini said. “It’s got a lot of industry. There’s a lot of American companies. There’s a lot of manufacturing facilities there.”

He added: “Football is by far the number one attraction in Mexico. In Monterrey, it’s really a religion and a culture. So that’s definitely where we want to start.”

Despite the expected growth of the TOCA Social brand, the majority of TOCA Football’s revenue comes from 37 TOCA sports facilities in the US and Canada. The facilities offer training sessions for children as young as 18 months and games, camps and leagues for older children and adults. Maruyama said he expects TOCA to have at least 250 such centers in the next few years.

TOCA has raised $105 million in funding since it was founded in 2016 by Eddie Lewis, a former Major League Soccer (MLS) and premierpink League players. In June 2021, the company Announce Investors in the $40 million Series E round included Seattle-based venture capital firm WestRiver Group, an early investor in Topgolf.

Maruyama, who joined TOCA in 2019, claims the company’s revenue is doubling every year, though the company would not disclose the amount of revenue it generates. Maruyama also said the company plans to conduct an initial public offering (IPO) within the next three years.

“We have long stated that our vision, or at least the vision of Toca’s management, is to IPO our company before the 2026 World Cup,” he said.

October, TOCA Announce Signed a 10-year agreement with MLS, which became TOCA’s shareholder. The partnership also includes TOCA integrating MLS content at its facilities and hosting MLS events at TOCA Social locations. TOCA and MLS will also develop training programs to be used at TOCA training facilities and games, which will be offered at TOCA Social locations.

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