The Home Depot Center: Dynamic Partnership With CSU Dominguez Hills
Brings Learning and Career Opportunities to Campus
Since its opening in 2003, The Home Depot Center has been a part of the California State University, Dominguez Hills campus, bringing an energy to the university that only a world-class sports venue can, providing not only financial returns, but with educational and career opportunities for current students and alumni.
According to Boice Bowman, Cal State Dominguez Hills interim president, the complex project began when the university offered to rent the campus’ soccer fields to the Los Angeles Galaxy for practice. It turned out that the team had been considering building a soccer-specific venue, and negotiations began in 1999 between AEG, the Galaxy organization and the university to determine how much acreage was available on the Carson campus. The resulting 55-year lease includes a joint use agreement between AEG and Dominguez Hills that provides the university with revenues from rent, parking and the box office.
The Home Depot Center opened the 27,000-seat soccer stadium in 2003 and is home to two Major League Soccer (MLS) teams, the L.A. Galaxy and Chivas USA, which is a stateside franchise of the most popular team in Mexico. Over the years, a 8,000-seat tennis stadium, a track and field facility, the ADT Event Center for cycling, and numerous soccer training fields and tennis courts for practice and tournaments have been added to the facility. A second phase of the partnership has been approved by the California State University Board of Trustees. Phase II, which is still in the design stages, will include a conference center with a 200-room hotel, athletic training center and field house, and 240-bed residential facility for athletes.
Bowman describes the advantages of a multiuse venue on campus and the far-reaching benefits to the university.
“Getting together with a strong partner like AEG not only brings the university a financial package that guarantees you money with their success, but also brings people that they know to the table, many of whom could be great donors for the university,” says Bowman. “AEG themselves have been generous in many respects and they have supported a lot of our activities on campus, such as hosting our graduations at The Home Depot Center, supporting our golf tournament for Toro Athletics scholarships and a number of other programs around campus.”
Along with shared revenues, Dominguez Hills benefits from access to state-of-the-art facilities and internship and job opportunities for students. A number of alumni have landed key positions at The Home Depot Center and with their partners.
Zeke Chaidez (Class of ’93, B.A., communications, public relations) was hired last year as the vice president of business for Chivas USA and Joe Herrera (Class of ’99, B.A., Labor Studies) is employee relations manager for AEG.
Educational opportunities have also presented themselves in various ways, including a marketing internship through the College of Business Administration and Public Policy, where students were able to create marketing campaigns that highlight the partnership between Dominguez Hills and The Home Depot Center.
Most recently, many on campus hope that the arrival of world-renowned soccer star David Beckham will turn all eyes to The Home Depot Center – and by association, Cal State Dominguez Hills.
“The media and AEG have gotten a lot better at letting people know that The Home Depot Center is on the campus of Cal State Dominguez Hills,” states Bowman. “The more they do that and the more Beckham is in the news, the more we will share in that visibility. The more we share in that visibility, the more opportunities we will have to market the campus to students as a university that promotes excellence in all of our programs, both athletic and academic.”
- Joanie Harmon