Banc of California Stadium aims for new standard in premium
At the core of LAFC’s efforts to compete in the crowded Los Angeles market is Banc of California Stadium, the 22,000-seat venue located in the heart of the city’s downtown.
The Gensler-designed venue, expected to cost $350 million, is aimed at raising the bar not only for MLS venues, but for venues in the city as well.
“We’ve invested quite a bit of time, attention and capital into creating truly premium spaces that are worthy of the Los Angeles market,” said LAFC President Tom Penn. “This will be the most premium building across Los Angeles across all sports, and I think that’s become very clear to the consumer.”
LAFC sold out of its premium seating inventory last May, almost a year before the club was scheduled to play its first MLS regular-season home match on April 29. Penn said construction of the stadium, which is being privately financed, is tracking ahead of schedule.
Legends has been working with LAFC since 2015 as owner’s representative managing the project, helping the club sell the premium seating, and providing other services.
While LAFC took some cues from different MLS soccer-specific stadiums, such as Sporting Kansas City’s Children’s Mercy Park and San Jose’s Avaya Stadium, it also looked to speak specifically to the Los Angeles consumer. LAFC will enter the league not only near the top in terms of premium inventory, but also with unique experiences as part of it.
A unique area of the stadium — and the first to sell out — is a series of bunker suites on the field that will allow fans in those seats to sit less than 15 feet from the action with their feet on the grass, something unheard of in MLS and across top-level soccer in the world.
Many of the premium spaces in the stadium are designed to be usable on non-game days, which Penn said is a big part of the club’s business plan. The Sunset Club, which is a beach-style social space on the top level of the stadium, is being done in partnership with Houston Hospitality, which operates some of the top nightclubs in the city. Penn said that space will be open on non-game days and provide both an indoor and outdoor experience that could be operated year-round.
Penn said there will also be an opportunity to use parts of the stadium’s space as a premium tailgating experience for college and NFL football games this year at United Airlines Memorial Coliseum, which is adjacent to LAFC’s stadium on the Exposition Park grounds.
LAFC is also looking to further appeal to visitors of Exposition Park, which is home to three museums and adjacent to the University of Southern California campus.
As part of the stadium, LAFC is building a food experience that will feature items from many of the best chefs and restaurants in the city and be open year-round. Details about the destination will be released as the stadium comes closer to opening.
“We have this opportunity in Exposition Park right next to all of these museums on this extremely well-known plot of land to really reinvent not only what the stadium experience can be like, but also what it means to have a day in the park in Los Angeles.”
While LAFC has spent time on the high-end experiences around the stadium, it also has heavily focused on the experience it will provide its supporters. The space is highlighted by a supporters-only bar that was built in conjunction with the club’s partnership with Heineken that provides a clear view of downtown Los Angeles.