Soccer stadium construction officially underway in Exposition Park, Los Angeles

EXPOSITION PARK, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- It was a big day for soccer fans in Los Angeles! Crews broke ground on the new $350 million soccer stadium in Exposition Park.

The ground-breaking ceremony took place Tuesday at the site of the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, which is slated to be torn down to make way for the new stadium, which will be called the Banc of California Stadium.

The 22,000-seat venue, expected to open in 2018, will house Major League Soccer's expansion team, the Los Angeles Football Club.

Several members of the LAFC ownership group turned out at the ground-breaking event, including Lakers great Magic Johnson, actor Will Ferrell and motivational speaker Tony Robbins.

The team doesn't have a coach or any players, but that didn't stop Ferrell from making a bold prediction.

"But I do know this: we will go undefeated in our inaugural season. I don't know how hard that is to do, but we, I have a pretty good chance we will do that," Ferrell said.

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti also took the podium, emphasizing the rich history behind the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena.

"A place where the Clippers played, a place where Bruce Springsteen couldn't stop playing, a place where John F. Kennedy accepted the nomination to become president of the United States of America in that stadium," Garcetti said. "But today we write our own chapter, the chapter of the Los Angeles Football Club."

Local officials say the new stadium will create 3,000 jobs with the commitment of 40 percent of those jobs being local hires.

LAFC officials say the project is the first open-air stadium built in Los Angeles since 1962.

The team's ownership group also includes former Dodger Nomar Garciaparra and his wife, soccer star Mia Hamm-Garciaparra.

The new MLS team is expected to begin play in 2018 at the new stadium.

City News Service contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2022 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved.