LAFC Holds Opening Ceremony For Banc Of California Stadium
LAFC held an "opening ceremony" yesterday for the $350M Banc of California Stadium, and the team had its "first practice" at the venue, according to Kevin Baxter of the L.A. TIMES. The stadium is the "newest of 16 soccer-specific venues in MLS" and took "only 17 months" to construct. It came in "on budget and ahead of schedule, with 10 days to spare" before the team's home opener against the Sounders on April 29. The stadium is the "most expensive in MLS history" and is the "first open-air professional sports venue" built in L.A. since Dodger Stadium in '62. Its 22,000 seats "begin just 12 feet from the touchline and recede at a 34-degree angle, leaving the top row of the seating bowl 135 feet from the field." The stadium also "features 33 suites, 46 loge boxes and five separate club spaces" (L.A. TIMES, 4/19). In California, Jim Alexander notes the stadium "will be immediately noted for the steep pitch of its seating" and its view of downtown L.A., though it "probably will be fans located in the upper bowl in the southwest corner of the park who will most enjoy it." LAFC co-Owner Peter Guber pointed out that MLS Commissioner Don Garber had "insisted that if LAFC were to build a stadium and get a franchise, it had to be within the urban core and not a suburban facility." Guber said of the venue, “It exceeded expectations. When you walk through here and look at it, you’ll say, 'Wow, I want to be here'" (Riverside PRESS-ENTERPRISE, 4/19).