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Report: LAFC focuses on Sports Arena for stadium site

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Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA Today Sports

By RYAN TOLMICH

It appears Los Angeles FC’s ownership group has decided where it wants to build a soccer stadium.

The LA Times reported Thursday that the start-up club is solely focusing on the site of the Sports Arena in Exposition Park. Anonymous sources told the LA Times that they would be “surprised” if LAFC pursued any other site, while owner Tom Penn acknowledged that there have been negotiations but said nothing is finalized yet.

“We do not have a deal with them or anyone else,” Penn told the LA Times. “There’s never any way to be close to a deal. You either have a deal or you don’t.

“From the beginning,” Penn added, “the Sports Arena site has been a site of high, high interest.”

The Sports Arena would have to be torn down to make room for a proposed state-of-the-art stadium. An environmental impact study for the site has reportedly been completed already and USC — which was granted ownership of the site 18 months ago — has stated it intends to tear down the arena in favor of a new MLS stadium.

LAFC is planning to build a 25,000-seat, $150-million stadium, and the ownership group has already chosen Southern California-based architect Gensler to construct the club’s home after five firms submitted stadium bids.

LAFC is expected to begin play in MLS in 2017.

What do you think of the proposed stadium site? Like the location? Should the club look elsewhere?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. 25,000-seat, $150-million stadium ? Are you kidding me!

    MLS picks the Worst owners? How cheap are these stadiums. Put a damn world Class 40,000 stadium.. You have 10 million people in your area!

    WTH is wrong with MLS. These decisions keep the league second rate

    Why is their an LA2 team anyway? Go to Anaheim or San Diego

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  2. LA has 2 of everything: soccer, baseball, hockey, basketball, major college programs

    Love the location on the light rail. Good to get another academy in the area, too

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  3. As far as public transportation goes, this area is perfect. One of the few areas in Los Angeles that you can access by train from many different locations. In Los Angeles we have a limited rail-system, but one nice thing thats different from some other cities is that many of our rail stops have big/free parking lots. So you can drive your car to your nearest rail stop, park it there for free, and hop on the train. You can get to the Sports Arena by train from the Southbay/LAX area, Santa Monica/West L.A./Culver City area, Downtown, Hollywood, and any community that runs along the 105 and 110 freeways.

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    • Yup. It really is perfect that way (although it should be noted that the lines at the station after games can get VERY long…. when I’ve been to USC football games there I usually just walk to downtown rather than deal with it).

      For those who insist on driving, it is also convenient to pretty much every freeway in LA. Parking blows, though.

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  4. The new extended service, the Expo Transit Line, will provide trains from Santa Monica to USC. Many people, including me would use this to attend games.

    Isn’t Ronaldo now rumored to come to MLS around 2017-2018? Sounds like a good fit to me.

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    • You have to consider that quite a bit of the infrastructure which eats up a large portion of a stadium budget is already in place so the 150 is going entirely on the stadium itself.

      25-30k seems to a pretty good number/the goldilocks zone for day in day out soccer games. Modern sport, the money is in and all about TV. In stadium fans mostly serve to set a mood/atmosphere for the TV audience. A raucous, full house of 25k in an intimate stadium is loud, paints a good picture- makes great TV. The perception of scarcity in getting a ticket adds value to the overall product.

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      • Good point. Also, 25k butts in seats in a 25k stadium is far more cost-effective than 26k butts in seats in a 35k stadium. Stadiums cost money to run and maintain and the larger they are, the higher those costs.

      • Very well said dalomismo.

        As for the cost, I do expect the $150mm is probably a bit optimistic. I’d guess the final cost to construct ends up at around $200mm… still very manageable.

        The potential partnership with USC will make this particularly interesting. USC has never had a serious college soccer program (compared to UCLA, who are a perennial powerhouse). Perhaps Pat Haden et all would like to step their game up here, while also finding other uses for outdoor university events that could provide ancillary revenues. Will be interested to see who the ultimate “owner” of the stadium is (will LAFC end up leasing from USC? Could be one of many options)

        I don’t think the stadium gets done in time for opening day 2017. These things take 18-24 months, and they aren’t really close to breaking ground. Could be that part of the arrangement involves a temporary share with the Coliseum (aka the dump next-door).

        One thing fans should remember…. parking (which is already terrible in that area) is likely to get worse. All the more reason to take the train….

  5. It’s right next to the railway station in an up and coming area. This will be a much more convenient and fun area than the the galaxy’s stadium (stub hub). As a Los angelino I will give them a fair chance to win me over as a fan of the club. Tho the Galaxy have shown that they care about winning, if this club proves to do same it will draw plenty of fans! Do this!!

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    • Honestly, it’s a rather pointless question Slow. They’re not putting an expansion team there, they are keeping one there. It’s a franchise sold as an LA team, that had great interest from several very strong ownership groups as an LA team, and purchased by a very strong ownership group as an LA team. In spite of having a later start, this team in this city will likely have a stadium in place long before NY or Miami. Heck, Chivas with it’s buffoon for an owner and one of the most misguided marketing/branding exercises in the history of sports, still managed to have some measure of success until they essentially, abandoned the team entirely. Believe me- Southern California is an enormous market with a huge appetite for soccer, a rivalry, another team and plenty of top players in the world who’d love to play there. With the money and quality of people backing LAFC… they’ll be more than OK.
      As for this stadium deal… smells like one that will happen. Makes too much sense for all involved, involving parties/USC and ownership with heaps of clout in LA, with deep pockets/no outside money needed in an area the city is working hard to promote/develop. The absence of pointless,overhyped press conferences is often a very good sign.

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      • Lol
        I’m sure of it. But…. it’s not you…… or me they need to convince. It’s high dollar owners. TV executives. Corporate sponsors and then down the line, marketable players they need to convince. Scuze me if I’m wrong but…. East Coast based soccer fans are waaaay down the line in the decision tree on this one.

        How about we approach it this way as this IS 100% a business decision. With a franchise fee to enter the game of 100m…. what do you think the return on investment/value of say Minnesota FC will be compared to LAFC in 10 years?

      • There will be more options for all the European stars who only want to play in LA or NY. MLS won’t have to make up allocation rules/lotteries as frequently.

      • “no, no, dude, you just take the 110 S, then the 105 W, and then S on the 405 and you’re there”

        announcer: “The Kalifornians”

      • You have to take the 405 south to the 105 and exit Ventura Boulevard… But don’t turn on Los Lobos because then you have to go across the Las Colinas freeway…

        Excuse me Mr. Stewart

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