Kicking Off A New Era of Soccer
in Expo Park

All photos by David Franco/Board of Supervisors

With a blast of fireworks and confetti, soccer fans celebrated the grand opening of the $350-million Banc of California Stadium at Exposition Park, the new home of the Los Angeles Football Club.

L-R: Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, LAFC forward Carlos Vela, Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Councilman Curren Price.

This privately financed “cathedral of soccer” is the first open-air sports arena built in LA since Dodger Stadium in 1962. A stunning piece of architecture, it stands where the now-demolished LA Memorial Sports Arena used to be, right next to the LA Memorial Coliseum.

“This magnificent Banc of California Stadium will do more than provide a new state-of-the-art place to play soccer,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, a member of the Coliseum Commission. “It will bring thousands of jobs and economic opportunity to the surrounding community and beyond, furthering the transformation already taking place in this region.”

“This has exceeded expectations,” he added. “There’s no way you can come here and not marvel at what has been done in record time.”

“I think it’s the best stadium in all of Major League Soccer,” said former NBA superstar Earvin “Magic” Johnson, one of the LAFC’s co-owners along with two-time Olympic gold medalist Mia Hamm Garciaparra, former Major League Baseball all-star Nomar Garciaparra, entertainment and sports leader Peter Guber, and others.

“It is an honor to unveil this world-class stadium to the Los Angeles community,” LAFC lead managing owner Larry Berg said.  “This project is not only about providing our fans and supporters a state-of-the-art venue to watch soccer in the heart of Los Angeles, but this is about our Club’s commitment to investing in and elevating our entire city.”

Also present at the ceremony were LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Council President Herb Wesson, Councilmember and Coliseum Commission President Curren Price, MLS commissioner Don Garber, LAFCco-managing owners Bennett Rosenthal and Brandon Beck, and LAFC president Tom Penn. After the ceremony, LAFC players, including stars Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi, took to the field for the first time to practice for their first home game, 10 days away.

The stadium was designed by leading architect Gensler Sports. Construction took 20 months, and produced thousands of construction and permanent jobs at the stadium, many of which went to workers from the surrounding community. The project includes a large public plaza, restaurants, an LAFC retail store, and a conference and events center.

The new stadium is the newest landmark in Exposition Park, along with the LA Memorial Coliseum, the California African American Museum, the California Science Center, and the Natural History Museum of LA County. The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art is currently under construction.