Behind The Badge: How Orange County SC’s stadium battle vs LA Galaxy galvanised support

It can often be difficult for smaller sports teams to share a city/state with a neighbouring team that is much larger and financially better off. 

But when those large teams try to impose their authority over its neighbour, the neighbour usually fights back and does not go down without swinging. 

This was apparent when USL Championship side Orange County SC was nearly kicked out of its home stadium after MLS’ LA Galaxy came after the Irvine, California stadium to become the new home of its reserve team, LA Galaxy II

Not only did Orange County SC win the court battle through fervent fan support and work from its front office, but the USL Championship side beat the LA Galaxy II 2-1 several months after the court decision in a landmark victory for the club. 

Revealing how the club came through this period with more fan support, Dan Rutstein, President of Business Operations at Orange County SC, joined as a guest on the latest Behind The Badge podcast episode. 

Fan support of the Irvine-based club has transcended into a unique fan ownership model, in which Rutstein revealed he wanted to bring to the club earlier and has part-owners all across the world with different perspectives and ambitions on how to grow the club. 

Rutstein also delved into the scouting network it has established in being able to grow and sell players across North America and Latin America to the likes of Rangers FC and Feyenoord, and a recent kit deal with Hummel, which have contributed to growing the club commercially.

There was even time towards the end to discuss the 2026 FIFA World Cup, hosted in the US, Canada and Mexico, discussing what the tournament will mean for the sports growth in the US, with Rutstein describing every game as a Super Bowl fixture.

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To listen to the full episode of the latest Behind the Badge podcast on Spotify, listen here.

To watch the full episode of the latest Behind the Badge podcast on YouTube, click here or watch below.

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