New soccer club makes a pitch for Sports Arena site

soccerstadiumThe Los Angeles Football Club won’t field a team until 2018 – but today the fledgling soccer team is announcing plans for a $250 million, 22,000-seat stadium that would replace the L.A. Sports Arena.

lafcThe complex would include a conference center, restaurants and a soccer museum, and it would be the country’s most expensive privately funded soccer stadium.

Construction would be financed by the team’s celebrity-heavy ownership group, which includes Magic Johnson, self-help author Tony Robbins, retired soccer star Mia Hamm and her husband, former Dodger Nomar Garciaparra.sportsarena

The proposal needs approval from the L.A. Coliseum Commission and the L.A. City Council. Both groups have already expressed support for the project, along with L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, according to the L.A. Times. The project could be green-lighted by July.

The Los Angeles Football Club will join the Galaxy as one of two teams in L.A. Chivas USA had called the city home for several unsuccessful years before Major League Soccer shut down the troubled franchise after last season. The new L.A. team originally planned to start play in 2017, but the stadium project would delay that by a year.

The soccer stadium would spell the end for the saucer-shaped Sports Arena, which was officially opened in 1959 by then Vice President Richard Nixon. The next year it hosted the Democratic National Convention.Bruce_Springsteen_Los_Angeles_ticket_small

UCLA, USC and the Lakers, Clippers and Kings all called the arena home at some point. It’s also been a venue for artists from Michael Jackson and Madonna to Bruce Springsteen and the Grateful Dead. In recent years, there have been only occasional events, including some controversial raves, and the arena has slowly and steadily been descending into into disrepair.