Best of 2017, #9: Banc of California Stadium

Banc of America Stadium

We end 2017 with a countdown of the 10 biggest stories of the year on Soccer Stadium Digest, as chosen by editors and partially based on page views. Today, #9: The continuing development of Banc of California Stadium, the future home of MLS’s Los Angeles FC.

Los Angeles is a town that thrives on buzz.

Generating buzz this year in L.A. has been the impending arrival of a new MLS franchise, and a new soccer-specific stadium under construction in the heart of the city.

A new MLS franchise, LAFC, is set to begin plan next season in the brand new $275 million Banc of California Stadium.

The stadium, a 22,000-seater designed by Gensler, strives for intimacy. It will include seating raked at 34 degrees, among the steepest in MLS. The closest seats will be 12 feet from the pitch and every seat will be within 135 feet of the action.

Banc of California Stadium rendering

The stadium will be high tech. It will feature advanced technological capability, courtesy of tech partner IBM, and 15,000 feet of digital LED signage, the most in MLS, courtesy of Panasonic. It will also have a number of other features catering to the modern soccer fan.

One unique aspect of the new stadium will be a soccer-pub built into the design. In a bid to draw the European soccer fan community who watches soccer in a pub, the architects decided to make one of their own inside the stadium. The pub will be open on game days and non-game days, and will have a good view of the pitch.

“It’s going to feel like you’re in the middle of the action,” said principal architect Jonathan Emmett in a story in March. “Not only does [the supporter bar] have a great view of the pitch, but it also has a great view back out into Exposition Park and the downtown skyline.”

Banc of California Stadium sunset club rendering

Another touch, one perfectly Californian, is the existence of press-box level suites that feature swimming pools. The pools can be seen in renderings, and given the weather and vibe of California, are an inspired nod to local culture.

In another nod to the California weather, the stadium seating will be covered by an exoskeleton with a thin ETFE film applied to shade spectators, but light-permeable enough to eliminate shadow. The overhanging design will also channel sound toward the pitch and back into the stands, creating a noisy home-field advantage.

In addition to MLS soccer, the plan is to use the venue for men’s and women’s soccer when Los Angeles hosts the 2028 Olympics.

The stadium will be in Exposition Park downtown, on the site of the former Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, next to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and just south of the University of Southern California. The area is growing rapidly, including George Lucas’s massive Museum of Narrative Art, which is set to break ground next year. The park is expected to be the eventual hub of the 2028 games.

Though the area already has an MLS franchise in the Galaxy, whose stadium is just about 12 miles away in Carson, the arrival of LAFC, largely because of the new stadium in a downtown location, is definitely generating enthusiasm. It’s perhaps no wonder – Banc of California Stadium will be the first open-air stadium built in the City of Los Angeles since Dodger Stadium in 1962.

True to its hometown, Banc of California Stadium, a beauty in the heart of La La Land, is definitely buzz-worthy.

 Previously in our Top Ten Stories of 2017 List:

#10: Phoenix Rising FC Explodes on Pro Soccer Scene

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August Publications