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LAFC hoping to build “one of the cathedrals of soccer” with $250M stadium plan

Los Angeles FC



Los Angeles FC doesn’t want just any stadium; the club wants something special.

The club announced Monday that it plans to build a $250 million 22,000-seat stadium at the site of the Sports Arena in Exposition Park. With a development that is set to include over 100,000 square feet of restaurants, offices, a conference center and a soccer museum, head of ownership Henry Nguyen is looking for his team’s stadium to be an epicenter of soccer culture.

“We want it to be one of the cathedrals of soccer in this country and around the world,” Henry Nguyen said at a press conference Monday. “The great opportunity here is that L.A. is the world’s city and this is the monument to the world’s game here.”

Nguyen was joined by fellow owners Ervin “Magic” Johnson, Nomar Garciaparra and Tom Penn, as well as MLS commissioner Don Garber, who gave credit to the LA Galaxy’s StubHub Center for helping to pave the way for stadium’s in the U.S.

“We really have to take a step back,” Garber said, “and remember that the cathedral for soccer was built in 2003 with what is now the StubHub Center and it really showed how we can transform our league with world-class buildings.

“Here we are, 12-years-later announcing a new stadium for our newest team in LA and it just harkens back to what great buildings can mean for building a fan culture and providing an opportunity for our teams to embed in the community.

The venue would be the first open-air stadium built within the city limits since 1962, creating massive economic opportunity for the area. The project is expected to generate $275 million in one-time economic activity in terms of construction, while yearly operations could generate an additional $129 million annually.

“I’m excited to welcome the Los Angeles Football Club to the City of Angels,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti in a press release.  “Los Angeles loves soccer and now the greatest sports town in America gets even better.  I know this ownership group is committed to representing the best our city has to offer.  And I’m especially pleased that this proposed state-of-the-art stadium will be located in South Los Angeles to help revive that neighborhood and bring more jobs and opportunity for our residents.

“I look forward to celebrating the inaugural season and soon the MLS Cup in the City of Los Angeles.”


  1. With just a 22K target capacity, WTF do they plan on buying for $250M? San Jose’s Avaya Stadium only holds 18K, but it’s very nice, with steeply-raked seats the way they should be, ground level luxury boxes and club seats, and only cost around $100M.

  2. I think the problem with LA2 is that they are trying to be just like the Galaxy, aka Team Hollywood. I was hoping that they would go to the east side or to the valley and become a regionally identified. Sort of like the teams in London are. Once they leave the downtown area they could have municipality shopped and probably have a much easier go at getting a stadium built.

    • The only thing the Galaxy have done to be “Team Hollywood” was sign David Beckham (well, I guess you could count Andrew Shue, as well). As locations go, they have done nothing of the sort. Carson is anything but Hollywood. Nowhere near in a geographic sense, even further apart in a demographic sense.

      Fact is, the teams located near the City Center (which is pretty much everyone now– Dodgers, Lakers, Clippers, Kings) are all doing great with attendance and fan revenue. It’s a great strateg, and one that the Galaxy missed out on (in fairness, downtown LA was not what it is now back in 2003 when StubHub opened).

      The Galaxy’s biggest problem is, and has always been, a lack of a clear identity. They have left an opportunity on the table for somebody– even the bozos at Chivas knew this. Whoever chooses to compete with the Galaxy need not pursue a “regional” or “niche” type of strategy– not when the Galaxy have left the front door open.

  3. Nguyen and Garber and Mayor G are all saying the right things but this stadium is not a done deal. Many other shockingly rich guys have tried and failed to build a stadium in downtown LA – or anywhere in LA – and failed. Even AEG, who own the Galaxy and built the Staples Center, a monument to urban renewal, threw up their hands in disgust and despair over building an outdoor venue in LA. That’s why they’re in godforsaken Carson. So good luck to you, Henry Nguyen, I hope you succeed, I really do, I’m an SC alum and more importantly there’s public transportation to that area! But you’ve got a lot of famously intransigent if-not-corrupt commissions to get past before shovel hits dirt. I’ll believe it when I see it.

    And you better build parking.

    • Well, as an SC alum you will know that having USC (who have successfully developed the heck out of that part of Figueroa lately, including the Galen Center) and the AD Pat Haden on board (not to mention some of the heavy hitters in the LAFC ownership group) will be a BIG help here.

      I agree with you that permitting (anywhere) is a b*tch, and doing so in a heavily urbanized area even moreso. But the good news is that permitting a stadium on an existing stadium site is far, far easier, particularly when the closest neighbors are basically your landlord. I’d say getting site control was 80% of the battle in this one.

      As for parking, there is no good news here. It’ll stink, much as it does for USC games. Probably worse, actually, since it sounds like they plan on eating up more of the available footprint than the Sports Arena does. Any LAFC games I attend will involve the train.

    • Why didn’t they go to the Farmers Field site in downtown next to the convention center. My understanding is that the site has all the permitting, environmental studies, and ready to go for a 90,000 NFL stadium. Why not take the 22 K stadium there.

      • Correct, and arguably for good reasons. However, during the 33 years I lived in So Cal, the difficulty and cost of managing high rainfall and drainage did not apply. As the State is dealing with a drought, I am guessing water-logged pitches are still rare.

      • “Arguably for good reasons”…?

        Soccer is not played on turf. Neither is golf. And you wouldn’t play tennis on concrete, either.

        There is absolutely no reason that grass can’t be grown in a SSS in Portland or Vancouver from March to November. It’s an embarrassment to the MLS. But Garber has decided that grass is no longer a requirement for new teams, so I guess the on-field-product doesn’t really matter to him.

  4. The only cathedral of soccer MLS has is dc uniteds stadium but it’s coming down. If they were to remodel rfk into a modern soccer stadium it would be an amazing soccer venue but the city/government owns that stadium.
    As for fans of the galaxy, how do they plan to stay relevant and fresh with the real Los Angeles soccer team coming.
    Is there a chance of moving to downtown or making a waterfront stadium. Moving downtown wouldn’t make sense.
    Will they get messi or CR7 before LA2 ,Miami or NYC signs them to a precontract.
    What are the odds of making stub hub the best looking soccer stadium in LA. Looks to big for them.
    Will galaxy survive the new era of MLS, with big markets coming with big ambitions, like NYC, LA2, sounders, tfc, Miami, Orlando.

    • My guess is thathe Galaxy will move to San Diego in 5 years time as their relevance in LA County waines as the one two punch of veteran Ronaldo and rookie Brooklyn Beckham prove too much for them on the pitch while the trendy new stadium in LA outdraws their suburban yard.

      • They won’t leave LA but something has to happen. When I was in town, and went to the Home Depot center back then in the Beckham days, I was surprised how boring the atmosphere is. The stadium from outside looks nice but nothing big inside or outside the design.
        It was a typical fresh evening in Carson but the atmosphere was down, too many soccer moms and old school soccer dads and not a lot of Latinos. ( not marketing toward Latinos or Hispanics I guess)
        The stadium looked half empty and it’s to open or wide for a small stadium and I always told myself, galaxy need downtown LA or a new location, they have the money and connections but now a new team is coming, and the trophies won’t make a difference for this new LA2 team.
        That’s a lame argument, “hey we got 5 MLS cups” that is so lame.
        The league still new and fresh, LA2 can come in and win 3 MLS cups in 6 years and galaxy zero, then what, but remember who has the nicer stadium and better location and they might have the better fan atmosphere.
        Galaxy is about to get a reality check just like red bull soda is getting it.
        If I go again to LA, I’m going to LA2 stadium, not stubhub, I don’t care about their new giant screen.
        If galaxy do move, just get a waterfront stadium.

      • Hah. Are you serious with your comment? You have a vivid imagination.

        So let me get this straight, you went to one game MANY years ago and have made conclusions about the Galaxy’s future off of that experience? As “old” as Stub Hub is compared to the newer stadiums, it is still one of the nicest and biggest SSS in MLS. Attendance is near the top of the league and there is a good atmosphere inside of the stadium. The Galaxy have the best history and the most prestige of any team in MLS.

        You have already declared the atmosphere and fan base for a team and stadium that doesn’t even exist yet, better than that of the Galaxy’s. Normally I hate to insult people here on this comment board, but your opinion is quite moronic.

      • UCLAbruinsgreat you are correct on every point but one: the UCLA bruins great” thing. Fight On!

      • I hope you are a real Trojan. Not one of those “buy a Trojan shirt at Walmart because you like college football and that’s your team” Trojans.


      • For all those years that the Galaxy made fun of Chivas – Karma. Because the Galaxy will know what it is like to be Chivas when LAFC gets up and running in their new stadium. LAG will get 5 K maybe and no attention in the LA market until they fold.

    • How will traffic be any worse than it is for a USC football game, which draws 3x what this stadium will.I have been to plenty of USC games and have had no issues with getting in or out. My guess is that they won’t schedule a USC game and LAFC game on the same day.

      • It quotes LA Mayor Garcetti in the aricle. I just found it amusing that there was a mayor of a major city whose name was so similar to Mayor Carcetti from The Wire. The “G” looks so much like a “C” that I actually read it as Carcetti the first time.

        I guess my joke failed to hit the mark. I am aware that Aidan Gillen is Littlefinger on Game of Thrones now.

  5. alright…take it easy there.. it looks great but Cathedral? could be the best MLS stadium.. and StubHub a Cathedral? more like an important first home for MLS/LA.

    Nou Camp, Old Trafford, Azteca, Maracana are Cathedrals!

    • Aztec a cathedral? Have you ever been in one of its restrooms.? The smell of liquid waste is almost overpowering from guys filling up baggies of the yellow stuff to hurl at the field and other fans.

  6. I hope this is privately financed, because building a “cathedral” might be a violation of the separation church and state.

    I would have been happier had he been more PC and said their intention was to build “one of the premier edifices of public, individual, nondenominational veneration…while not offending those who chose not to be evenly subtly coerced or pressured into publicly venerate anything..of soccer in this country and around the world.”

  7. By aspiring to build “one of the cathedrals of soccer,” does he mean to say that it looks like a lot of other stadia out there, most notably RBA?

    • It looks like they stole cosmos stadium idea 🙂
      Go to cosmos website and see it yourself 🙂
      I think the outer design should be better,way fancier and Hollywood fancy style.
      By the way,their name should be LA Hollywood fc, nothing more nothing less.

    • Correct Chris. To qualify as a cathedral, a stadium must not only be desirable for an MLS club, but be attractive enough to host international matches including US men’s and women’s games and one of the cash grab games the Mexican national team hosts against a non-US opponent. With the Rose Bowl, Coliseum, and StubHub Center in place, this stadium would need to be special to host international soccer matches over these options.

    • You know guys, “cathedral” isn’t necessarily about size, so the reference isn’t being used incorrectly. When referencing something as a “cathedral” it has more to do with importance, prestige, and authority. So snickering about the 22k capacity doesn’t really go against the claim. In this case “cathedral” was being used as a synonym to “crown jewel”.

      Now whether or not it will end up being the crown jewel/cathedral of MLS is another story.


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