Banc of California Stadium to open next year

Banc of California Stadium will be the new soccer-specific home venue of the Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC). In addition to the 22,000-seat stadium, the project will include restaurants, retail and conference space.

Set to take to the pitch for its 2018 inaugural season, LAFC and its 22,000-seat Banc of California Stadium will be the centerpiece of a $350 million complex that will also include a large community plaza, restaurants and retail on the southwest corner of Exposition Park.

Concerts, festivals and other community events will also be hosted at the new venue.

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LAFC is the newest MLS soccer club serving the greater Los Angeles area. Its ownership group is comprised of local leaders and innovators of industry with intellectual capital, financial prowess, operations expertise and success in the fields of entertainment, sports, technology and media.

Otto Benedict, SVP/GM, LAFC Facilities, told SportsTurf magazine, “BrightView is installing both our Stadium pitch and the Performance Center pitch; Brightview project manager is Dave Kratt.

“Our fields were both designed by Dan Almond of Millennium Sports, who had planned to use Latitude 36 in the design. The field is being grown by Jimmy Fox of Evergreen Turf/American Sod.

“We posted our turf manager position the 2nd week of October,” Benedict says, “and we look to have this person on the ground by mid-November.

“We are currently working through the evaluation process on a few different types of turf protection. We need to understand the types of shows we have coming and their unique load-in and load-out needs prior to securing a product. We have the luxury of a built-in stage deck so we can avoid direct impact to the pitch,” Benedict says.

Partnering with Grand Prix Network LLC (GPN) and GPN’s exclusively sanctioned partner and Olympic member USA RugbyLAFC’s Banc of California Stadium will be the permanent home of the Grand Prix Rugby “$1M Champion Sevens,” the world’s richest Rugby Sevens championship in history.

GPN is a new breed of sports and entertainment company, which produces, distributes and organizes professional leagues and events for certain Olympic-style team sports, in partnership with USOC members USA Rugby and USA Volleyball. GPN’s mission is to acquire, produce and distribute wholly owned, world-class, U.S.-based sports and entertainment content across global media platforms.

Banc of California Stadium will be the first stadium on the west coast to incorporate safe standing, with LAFC to provide an opportunity for supporters to stand shoulder-to-shoulder, creating an electric and unified stadium atmosphere on match-days.

Since its inception in October 2014, the Club and stadium architect Gensler Sports have been in constant dialogue with its supporters by hosting multiple workshop design sessions regarding architectural elements of the supporters’ north end of the stadium. LAFC ownership has incorporated global best practices to create the most supporter-forward environment in MLS.

The first-of-its-kind rail seating system is designed by U.S.-based SC Railing. The railing was specifically designed for comfort and safety and to accommodate sight lines by eliminating obstructions. Gensler Sports played an integral role in conceiving and implementing the safe-standing concept with the overall design process taking nearly two-years of intense research.

LAFC have also unveiled a proposal to locate its soccer operations headquarters and training facility on the eastside of Los Angeles, at the campus of Cal State LA. Plans for the new facilities were approved by the California State University Board of Trustees back in May.

The plans call for LAFC to invest $30 million to renovate Cal State LA’s stadium field and construct a state of the art training facility that will serve as home to the Club’s MLS players, staff, coaches and youth development team, LAFC Academy. The Club will also support Cal State LA students through internships and collaborations with University educational programs.

The new training site and practice facility, designed by Gensler Sports, will feature a natural grass practice field exactly mirroring that of Banc of California Stadium, locker rooms, sports medicine facilities, office space for team coaches and staff and will be completely financed by LAFC. The two-story training facility will incorporate the campus’ industrial and modernist design style. Hunt Construction Group will serve as the construction management company on the project.

Along with building its practice facility at Cal State LA, LAFC has pledged an additional $1.5 million to the University, which comes on the heels of a $100,000 contribution it made to the Cal State LA athletic department last autumn/fall.