At the emblematic Originals’ Foundation Event, LAFC embraced an eager fan base who awaited their chance to be a part of the Banc of California Stadium foundation set to debut in Spring 2018. Nearly 2000 of the club’s fans joined Mia Hamm, Alexi Lalas, Rob Stone, Van Jones, LAFC president and owner Tom Penn, executive VP of soccer operations John Thorrington and other Southern California celebrities on a sunny California afternoon for a day of activities geared towards family and community. Most signed their names on concrete slabs that will be laid under the pitch of the newest L.A. club to join MLS while the beating drums and chants of supporters clubs played in the background.
The 22,000-seat stadium is now under construction. The area surrounding it will include commercial and restaurant options for the community, all part of an urban park with number of new attractions, including the recently-proposed Lucas Museum of Narrative Art (LMNA) building.
As the landscape of the Los Angeles’ sports world transforms with the addition of the Rams and more recently the Chargers, it’s natural for bystanders to wonder if the city will have enough sports fans to fill the seats. But at this event, LAFC optimistically announced they have 14,000 Originals, or people who have made season ticket deposits. The estimated capacity of Banc of California Stadium is 22,000. If they can convert all into season-ticket holders, nearly two-thirds of the stadium will be filled. Inviting Originals to special events like this is a good way to start setting up a consistent relationship between the fan and club, and will help boost eventual ticket sales. This is a truly energetic time for fans of soccer in the diverse Los Angeles urban core. The location also provides crossover fans the option to easily commute between LAFC matches and Rams, Clippers, Lakers, Kings games. Carson, California, the home of LA Galaxy, a little over ten miles away from downtown LA, is a long haul for many soccer fans who live near downtown, and will also be the temporary home of the Chargers, creating a justifiable natural division between the clubs. It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out in the long run as fans’ loyalties are built. The Banc of California Stadium will be located along the Expo Line Light Rail which extends from Santa Monica to downtown, providing fans a convenient transportation option. For a supporter base that has long been thirsting for soccer accessibility, the 2018 season, fueled by signing rumors like Chicharito and Fabregas, can’t come soon enough.