Major StubHub Center upgrades will help Galaxy compete with new MLS team across town.
It will be two years before Los Angeles’ upstart MLS soccer team moves into its new $350 million digs near downtown, but the home of the LA Galaxy isn’t waiting around to lose fans to a crosstown rival.
The StubHub Center in Carsonrecently invested $15 million in the intimate, 27,000-seat Major League Soccer stadium that since 2003 has housed the Galaxy.
A 5,100-square-foot LED screen, VIP lounge and a slew of hip, cool restaurants was just the beginning. Towering new palms adorn colorful signs at the main entrance. And cascading Clematis buttercups, flowering jasmine vines and other lush foliage are packed into every nook of the venue’s concourse.
Anschutz Entertainment Group, the sports and entertainment empire that owns StubHub and the Galaxy, even built a chicken coop so players can have fresh eggs with breakfast. It also introduced healthier concession meals like Hawaiian tuna poke and vegan banh mi sandwiches and local craft beers that can be enjoyed in private, picnic-style seating areas.
The upgrades, among others, haven’t gone unnoticed.
Season ticket sales climbed from an average of 6,000 to 7,000 a year to 10,000, and seven of the first 10 Galaxy matches this season sold out, stadium officials said.
It’s all part of a bid by owner AEG to modernize. Boost ticket sales after a period of lagging attendance. The former Chivas USA, which suffered dismal attendance in Carson, shared the stadium with the Galaxy until the 2014 season ended and the team was disbanded. It will resurface as the Los Angeles Football Club when the region’s second MLS facility opens at the former Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena site in Exposition Park in 2018.
The new Banc of California Stadium is being billed as a flashier, more central place to catch a professional soccer game than the suburban StubHub Center, which is on the campus of Cal State Dominguez Hills. But officials at the Carson stadium complex said they will continue to compete by enhancing the fan experience and providing a more comfortable atmosphere.
“We think that, by the time Los Angeles Football Club gets here. People in our community are going to be well aware of the StubHub Center and what a great venue it is,” said Bruce Arena, Galaxy’s head coach and general manager. “We’ll be well-positioned for the competition.”
The sprawling, 125-acre grassy complex — formerly known as the Home Depot Center — also houses a 2,450-seat indoor velodrome for track cycling that could host Olympics competition if Los Angeles wins its bid for the 2024 Games. The 2017 UCI Track Cycling World Cup will be held at the Velodrome.