Photos by Andrei Ojeda, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.00
Dignity Health Sports Park 18400 Avalon Boulevard Carson, CA 90746
Year Opened: 2003
A Galaxy of Fun
It’s been often said that soccer is the world’s most popular sport. Unfortunately, its popularity has not always reached the same fevered pitch in the United States. Major League Soccer (MLS), formed in 1995, began to play in 1996 with 10 teams, growing to 12 teams in 1998. During its early years, MLS would experience some rough times, with two teams folding after the 2001 season.
Also during its early years, MLS would experiment with the rules in order to reach out to an Americanized audience. The league would also market itself around the talents of U.S. players such as Landon Donovan. With the expansion of stadiums designed primarily for soccer, MLS has long rebounded and today currently has 20 teams.
The L.A. Galaxy, one of the original 10 teams who began play in 1996, played initially in the storied Rose Bowl and would remain there until 2003. At the site of the 1994 World Cup, crowds at Galaxy games were often sparse. Only the Columbus Crew played in a soccer-specific stadium as other teams often found themselves using NFL stadiums, where oftentimes the venues were practically empty.
Upon moving to the StubHub Center in 2003, then known as the Home Depot Center, the Galaxy would move into a much more intimate 27,000-seat stadium. Aside from soccer, the facility also houses a velodrome, a track, and field, and a tennis stadium, located right next to the soccer facility. In Jan 2019, the venue name changed from the StubHub Center to Dignity Health Sports Park.
Food & Beverage 4
The StubHub Center offers a vast variety of food and drink options. Your standard stadium fare of hot dogs, sausages, pizza, nachos, and popcorn (ranging from $4.75-$9.50) is all here. The Backstage or Ultimate Burger is also available in the north concourse toward the tennis stadium for $14-$15. For those of you with hearty appetites, My Father's BBQ is also located in the north concourse offering up Angus Beef Brisket or Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwiches, as well as BBQ chicken plates. Each plate is $15 and comes with Texas Toast and two sides. Coca-Cola soda products range from $4.50 for a regular, $5.50 for a large, and $6.50 for a souvenir cup.
A wide range of alcoholic beverages is available throughout the entire concourse as well as over at Rock N Brews, costing anywhere from $9 for your basic draft (Bud Light), $12 for your more premium drafts (Guinness), up to $15 for premium bottled beer (Stone IPA, and Redd’s Apple Ale).
For those of you bringing your sweet tooth to the game, churros are available as well as those delicious cinnamon rolls from Cinnabon, with hot chocolate and Starbucks coffee to perhaps go with your cinnamon roll. These sweet treats are available at “The Kick.” Should that day’s event be a scorcher, Italian Ice, coming in lemon, blue raspberry, cherry, mango, and the flavor of the day are also available for $6. If you can’t decide, you are free to sample each flavor.
Whether you are a die-hard or new to the sport, you will be amazed at the passion displayed by the fans throughout the game. With a capacity of 27,000, there is absolutely no bad seat in the house, offering great sight lines where one is never far from the action. Also, the majority of the seats are covered by huge overhangs which no doubt help in keeping crowd noise amplified throughout the match.
From the first minute, all the way to the ninetieth it is a never-ending party in the stands as the fans continuously show their support, maintaining their energy throughout the game.
Aside from a KFC on Avalon, the surrounding area around the StubHub Center does not really offer much in regards to pre/post-game dining and entertainment. However, the stadium is centrally located between Downtown L.A. and Long Beach, which are great options if you are staying anywhere near L.A.X.
If heading toward Long Beach, The Pike offers up a good variety of bars and restaurants, among them the Beachwood BBQ and Brewing. Should you decide to head toward Downtown LA, there is always L.A. Live across the street from the Staples Center. Depending on the time of year, you may be able to take in a sporting event at both the Staples and StubHub Center.
However, if you are going to a sporting event or just about anywhere in Los Angeles, chances are you will not be staying anywhere close to the venue you plan to visit, thus you will probably be driving, something that requires a lot of patience in Los Angeles.
Lodging around the StubHub Center is all but non-existent, however, about a five-minute drive from the stadium is an Extended Stay America. Being that almost everything in Los Angeles is spread out, you may want to do some extensive planning of your route beforehand.
There are several L.A. Galaxy Supporters Groups throughout the stands. The most popular groups are the Galaxians, Angel City Brigade, and L.A. Riot Squad. Throughout the entire game, they can be seen waving their flags, singing, and chanting. Their involvement in the game is evident and spreads throughout the rest of the stadium as well.
Cozmo, the Galaxy mascot is actively involved throughout the stadium getting the other sections involved. With all the passion displayed in the stands, a Galaxy game is still a great family experience. Though Major League Soccer is a great distance behind the other major sports in regards to popularity, the L.A. Galaxy fans are some of the most vocal in sports, and they really add to the game experience with their high level of enthusiasm that is felt and spread throughout the entire venue.
Parking around the StubHub Center is plentiful, with certain gates opening up to seven hours before kickoff for those wanting to do some pre-game tailgating, with charcoal dispensers available on site. Parking prices range from $15 for general parking to $30 for preferred.
As with any venue in Los Angeles, chances are you will be driving a good distance and with the Stubhub Center located in Carson, you will want to give yourself ample time. Though there are no direct freeway routes and the fact the drive may be a good distance from where you may be staying, the StubHub Center is accessible through various streets and freeways, particularly the 110, 91, and 405 freeways.
The concourses inside the stadium are very wide, particularly those in the east section with plenty of concessions to navigate. The concourse circles the entire stadium, so you can walk throughout during a break in the action, or even during the game for those who want to move around. Also available throughout the concourses are plenty of TV screens so you won’t miss any of the on-field action. Picnic tables are plentiful in both the east and north concourses as well as charging stations.
Return on Investment 3
Compared to the price of admission to view other sporting events in L.A., prices for an L.A. Galaxy game are somewhat reasonable though still a bit steep for an MLS game. The lowest price for a game is $19.50 on the upper sidelines, while General Admission will go for $25.
Everything else will range from $27-$300. If you are looking for a good vantage point, then sit on either sideline, where ticket prices range from $35.50 to $59.50 for a midfield reserved seat. If you are looking to sit with some loud and passionate fans who will be cheering and chanting non-stop throughout the entire contest, you may want to purchase a general admission ticket and sit among the L.A. Galaxy supporter clubs.
There are multiple cool extras here worth mentioning. The easy-access phone charging stations with big-screen TVs to watch the game is an awesome amenity that more stadiums should pick up. The use of TVs in general around the stadium is a great addition as well. The Wall of Legends on the north end of the stadium is a cool place to experience the history of the LA Galaxy franchise and will only get more interesting as time goes on for one of the more storied MLS clubs. Finally, the awesome supporter groups at both ends of the stadium add a European soccer supporter touch to the atmosphere at the StubHub Center.
Though not one of the more popular teams in Los Angeles, a trip to an L.A. Galaxy game should still be on one’s list. The passion and enthusiasm displayed by the fans throughout the game are one of the main highlights of attending a Galaxy game. Like many who are slowly grasping Major League Soccer, you will get a true feel of the soccer subculture that is steadily growing in Southern California.