During their first seasons in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Chargers will be playing in some close confines. The Chargers will take snaps this fall at the StubHub Center—a soccer-specific stadium that will offer the smallest seating capacity, and perhaps one of the most unique experiences, in the NFL.
The decision by the Chargers in January to leave San Diego put them in a peculiar position. While a new stadium in Inglewood—to be shared with the Rams—was in the offing, its completion was still several years away. As a result, the Chargers needed a temporary place to play, with Carson’s StubHub Center becoming the team’s choice,
The StubHub Center is not at all an unknown commodity in the sports world. Opening in 2003, the stadium has been LA Galaxy’s home throughout its history, and was a key player in the wave of soccer-specific stadiums completed for MLS clubs in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.
What makes this arrangement of MLS and NFL clubs sharing the same facility unique is the stadium. Whereas teams from the two leagues have typically shared stadiums built for the NFL, the Chargers and Galaxy will share a soccer-specific facility. The result: A seating capacity of 30,000 for Chargers’ games that will be by far the lowest in the NFL. It is also less the half than more than 70,000 seats that the new Inglewood stadium is projected to offer for NFL games.
The seating capacity is what has caught the attention of many leading up to the Chargers’ arrival, but it is not the only difference between MLS and NFL facilities that will be underscored this year. Recently, it was revealed that the AEG-owned StubHub Center is instituting new security practices in anticipation of the Chargers’ arrival.
Not every new security measure has been disclosed, but one noticeable difference is the stadium’s bag policy. In compliance with NFL standards, event attendees at the StubHub Center will now need to bring clear plastic bags—effectively meaning that backpacks and other non-transparent bags are now banned from the stadium.
To introduce the policy to soccer fans, LA Galaxy gave away clear team-branded tote bags on June 17. StubHub Center officials are looking to ensure that the policy is consistent across all events. “This was something we’d been talking about for awhile — re-evaluating our security measures,” AEG general manager Katie Pandolfo told The Daily Breeze in an article published last week. “As we looked at NFL policies, we thought it would be good to keep things consistent. It also helps expedite getting guests inside.”
Just as it has always been expected to be, the StubHub Center is slated to be a temporary venue for the Chargers until construction of the new Inglewood Stadium is complete. What has changed, however, is the duration of their stay. Heavy rains during the early phases construction delayed the projected completion for the facility. As a result, the Chargers are now expected to spend three—rather than the initially intended two—seasons as the StubHub Center.
The new stadium is expected to embody modern NFL facilities, if not create new standards, by anchoring a mixed-use development and coming with the capacity standards and amenities found in today’s football stadiums. For the Chargers, that experience will have to wait a few years. In the meantime, the team’s move to the StubHub represents uncharted territory for NFL franchise, and could mean unique experiences for players and fans alike over the next three seasons.
Image courtesy Los Angeles Chargers.
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