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Los Angeles FC celebrates opening of Gensler-designed Banc of California Stadium

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The new home of Hollywood Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise Los Angeles FC has officially opened in the city’s Exposition Park.

Designed by architect Gensler, the 22,000 capacity Banc of California Stadium is the first new open-air stadium in LA since 1962 and has also been LEED silver certified for its sustainable design features.

Ground was broken on the US$350m (€289m, £251.5m) project in August 2016 on a site once home to the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. Five million pounds of steel were used in the construction.

The completed stadium features the first safe standing rail seats in North America – utilising a new rail seating system designed by US firm SC Railing – and, at 34 degrees, the steepest Supporters’ Section in MLS.

The closest seats are only 12ft (3.6m) from the touchline, while every seat is within 135ft (41m) of the pitch.

Spectators will be protected from the weather by a 190,000sq ft (17,600sq m) roof made from semi-transparent ETFE film.

In and around the ground, there are 125,000sq ft of walkways and plazas open to the public, with restaurants, retail, and conference space.

Concerts, festivals, and other community events will all be hosted at the new stadium, while the first sporting fixture will take place on Sunday (29 April) when LA FC takes on Seattle Sounders.

To go alongside its new home, the club is also developing a US$30m (£23.5m, €26.8m) training facility on the campus of the nearby California State University.

LA FC has a star-studded ownership team, with Hollywood actor Will Ferrell, former basketball star Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson, self-help guru Tony Robbins and film producer Peter Guber all holding equity.

In 2021, the Banc of California Stadium will be joined in Exposition Park by the George Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, which broke ground last month. The 300,000sq ft (27,800sq m) attraction, designed by MAD Architects, will celebrate the art of visual storytelling with collection galleries, exhibition spaces and two theatres displaying original works of art, digital technologies and daily film screenings.

In 10 years time, the park and its new sporting and cultural facilities are expected to be heavily used during the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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The new home of Hollywood Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise Los Angeles FC has officially opened in the city’s Exposition Park.
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