City National hopes to score with sports

David Acosta to head new sports division

City National Bank, a leading financier of films and TV productions, is making its move into sports.

The Los Angeles-based bank has hired David Acosta, 36, as a senior vice president for its entertainment practice headquartered in Manhattan, where he will spend much of his time working with professional sports teams and owners.

Under Acosta’s direction, CNB will provide services from financing sports teams and arenas, even concessionaires, to providing wealth management to high net worth team owners and athletes.

Sports is a growing part of media banking with such giants as Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase and Citibank operating large sports practices. “There is still plenty of room in this market,” Acosta said.

Acosta had worked for Israel Discount Bank and Lazard Freres & Co., where he established relationships in the National Football League, Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Assn.”David will be a key part of our growth plans in New York,” said Rich McCune, CNB’s team manager for entertainment in New York. “Sports is just a natural fit for us.”

CNB’s entertainment practice in Gotham launched eight years ago with seven employees and has since grown to 60 (CNB overall has 175 employees in its entertainment division). The bank plans to open a second New York City office, in part, to help accommodate its growing business on Broadway. It now serves as the banker, largely providing cash management services, to 40% of Main Stem shows.

Besides private banking, films have always been a big part of CNB’s entertainment practice, however. Three movies now in theaters, “The Kids Are All Right,” “Cyrus” and “The Extra Man,” were fully financed by CNB.

The entertainment practice accounts for about 20% of CNB’s estimated annual revenues of more than $1 billion.