MLS expansion team Los Angeles FC reveals plans for stadium near USC
Major League Soccer's expansion Los Angeles Football Club is planning a $250 million stadium that would be built on the site of the Sports Arena next to Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
The 15-acre complex in Exposition Park would include a conference center, restaurants and a soccer museum. At its center would be a 22,000-seat venue, home to the new MLS team when it makes its debut in 2018, a year later than originally planned.
The Los Angeles Times first reported the decision by the new club's leadership to go forward with the project was made last week, and the club announced plans on Monday.
With the historic Coliseum serving as a backdrop, Henry Nguyen, who serves as the head of LAFC's ownership, said, "Today is a great milestone for us to have at least publicly stated where we want to be."
He added, "We're so excited to be a part of this historic sports area and this historic Exposition Park museum campus."
The club says the stadium will create 1,200 construction jobs and 1,800 permanent positions, a factor that minority owner Magic Johnson said was important to the community.
"Building a new stadium in south Los Angeles will create a lot of good jobs for people who live here, also construction jobs as well," Johnson told ESPN's SportsCenter. "So I'm happy about the economic side of it too, what will happen for this area right here that we're building this state-of-the-art stadium."
When MLS approved the LAFC franchise, it was announced as beginning play in 2017, but demolition of the Sports Arena and an environmental impact report would delay LAFC's debut by a year, according to the Times.
The timing could also affect when Minnesota United begin play in MLS, with commissioner Don Garber telling reporters on Monday, "It could be as early as 2017... We have a number of moving pieces. That's part of the dynamic with a young sports league. The target is no later than '18 and it could be as early as 2017.
"Los Angeles is coming into our league and they are either '17 or '18 and Minnesota will be either '17 or '18."
The stadium site is 12 miles north of the LA Galaxy's stadium in Carson.
"In 2003, the original cathedral of soccer was built, now the StubHub Center down in Carson," Garber said. "To think that we would be here in downtown Los Angeles, looking at this environment, thinking about what could be our 17th or 18th soccer-specific stadium, is absolutely unthinkable."
The stadium would be the most expensive privately financed soccer stadium in the country, and the first open-air stadium erected in Los Angeles since Dodger Stadium in 1962.
The project, which would be eligible for tax incentives, still needs approval from the Coliseum Commission and the City Council, which have both expressed support for the project.
"The proposed sports complex will not only promote the same excitement in our diverse city, but also bring an infusion of private investment to South LA," said City Council president Herb Wesson.
Also on board are the mayor's office and the University of Southern California, which controls the Sports Arena.
"We've already got all the permits," Johnson said. "The public and private sectors got to come together when you're building a stadium of this size. This is going to cost about $250 million, but everybody came together and made it happen.
"USC, we're right on their campus, they got involved, they wanted to see the stadium here. So everybody came together and worked hard to make sure the stadium was going to come to fruition, and that's what's going to happen."
Information from ESPN FC's Jeff Carlisle and The Associated Press was used in this report.