SoFi Stadium

SoFi Stadium is a stadium and entertainment complex in Inglewood, California, United States. It is located at the former site of the Hollywood Park Racetrack 3 miles (4.8 km) from LAX, immediately southeast of The Forum.

SoFi Stadium
SoFi Stadium Logo.svg
Sofistadium July 2020 (horizontal crop).jpg
SoFi Stadium nearing completion, July 2020
SoFi Stadium is located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area
SoFi Stadium
SoFi Stadium
Location in Los Angeles
SoFi Stadium is located in California
SoFi Stadium
SoFi Stadium
Location in California
SoFi Stadium is located in the United States
SoFi Stadium
SoFi Stadium
Location in the United States
Former namesCity of Champions Stadium (planning phase)[1]
Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park (planning/construction phase)
LocationInglewood, California
Coordinates33°57′12″N 118°20′21″W / 33.95345°N 118.3392°W / 33.95345; -118.3392Coordinates: 33°57′12″N 118°20′21″W / 33.95345°N 118.3392°W / 33.95345; -118.3392
Public transitLAMetroLogo.svg Crenshaw/LAX Line  Downtown Inglewood station (opening 2021)
OwnerStadCo LA, LLC.[2]
Hollywood Park Land Company, LLC. (A joint venture of The Flesher Group and Stockbridge Capital Group)
OperatorStadCo LA, LLC.[2]
Executive suites260[3]
Capacity70,240[4] (expandable up to 100,240[5][6] for Super Bowl, WrestleMania, FIFA World Cup, Summer Olympics, and other major events)[7]
Acreage298 acres (121 ha)
SurfaceMatrix Turf[8]
Construction
Broke groundNovember 17, 2016; 4 years ago (2016-11-17)
OpenedSeptember 8, 2020; 2 months ago (2020-09-08)[14]
Construction cost$5–6 billion (estimated, including development)[9]
ArchitectHKS, Inc.
Project managerLegends Global Planning[10]
Structural engineerWalter P Moore Engineers and Consultants[11]
Services engineerHenderson Engineers, Inc.[12]
General contractorTurner/AECOM HuntJV[13]
Tenants
Los Angeles Rams (NFL) (2020–present)
Los Angeles Chargers (NFL) (2020–present)
LA Bowl (NCAA) (2020–present)

Opened in September 2020, the stadium serves as the home for the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers of the National Football League (NFL). It also serves as the home of the LA Bowl. It is scheduled to host Super Bowl LVI in February 2022 and the College Football Playoff National Championship in January 2023. During the 2028 Summer Olympics, the stadium will host the opening and closing ceremonies, soccer, and archery.

SoFi Stadium is the fourth stadium, and second to be in current use, since the 1970 AFL–NFL merger to be shared by two NFL teams (MetLife Stadium, in East Rutherford, New Jersey, is home to the New York Giants and New York Jets, its predecessor, Giants Stadium as well as Shea Stadium in 1975). It is the fourth facility in the Los Angeles area to host multiple teams from the same league as Staples Center is home to both of the city's National Basketball Association (NBA) teams, the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers from 1999 to present, Dignity Health Sports Park for a time hosted both the LA Galaxy and now-defunct Chivas USA of Major League Soccer from 2005 to 2014 and Dodger Stadium hosted the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels from 1962 to 1965.

The facility is a component of Hollywood Park, a master planned neighborhood in development on the site of the former racetrack. Hollywood Park Casino re-opened in a new building on the property in October 2016, becoming the development's first establishment to open.[15]

DesignEdit

SoFi Stadium was designed by HKS and consists of the stadium itself, a pedestrian plaza, and a performance venue. Covering the stadium is a fixed, translucent ETFE roof which covers the stadium proper, the adjacent pedestrian plaza, and the attached performance venue. The roof can also project images that can be seen from airplanes flying into LAX and is supported independently apart from the stadium by a series of columns. The stadium bowl has open sides and seats 70,240 spectators for most events, with the ability to expand by 30,000 additional seats for larger events.[16] The attached music and theatre venue has a capacity of 6,000 seats. The stadium and performance center are considered to be separate facilities under one roof.

Another component of the stadium's design is "the Oculus"—an ovular, double-sided 4K HDR video board, the first of its kind, that is suspended from the roof over the field. The structure weighs 2.2 million pounds (1,000 t), and displays 80 million pixels.[17][18] The Oculus also houses the stadium's 260-speaker audio system as well as 56 5G wireless antennas.[19]

HistoryEdit

Location discussions and beating the competitionEdit

The stadium site was previously home to Hollywood Park, later sold and referred to as Betfair Hollywood Park, which was a thoroughbred race course from 1938 until it was shut down for racing and training in December 2013. Most of the complex was demolished in 2014 to make way for new construction with the rest demolished in late 2016 after the Hollywood Park Casino which remained open after the track itself closed moved to a new building. The current stadium was not the first stadium proposed for the site. The site was almost home to an NFL stadium two decades earlier. In May 1995 after the departure of the Rams for St. Louis, the National Football League team owners approved, by a 27–1 vote with two abstentions, a resolution supporting a plan to build a $200 million, privately funded stadium on property owned by Hollywood Park for the Los Angeles Raiders. Al Davis, who was then the Raiders owner, balked and refused the deal over a stipulation that he would have had to accept a second team at the stadium.[20]

On January 31, 2014, the Los Angeles Times reported that Stan Kroenke, owner of the St. Louis Rams, purchased a 60-acre (24 ha) parcel of land just north of the Hollywood Park site in the area that had been studied by the National Football League in the past for the 1995 Raiders proposal and that the league at one point attempted to purchase.[21] This set off immediate speculation as to what Kroenke's intentions were for the site: After the site's former Hollywood Park owners gave up on getting a NFL stadium for the site in the mid 2000s it was sold and planned to be a Walmart Supercenter; however, in 2014, most of the speculation centered on the site as a possible stadium site or training facility for the Rams.[22] NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell represented that Kroenke informed the league of the purchase. As an NFL owner, any purchase of land in which a potential stadium could be built must be disclosed to the league. Speculation about the Rams' returning to their home of nearly fifty years had already been discussed when Kroenke was one of the finalists in bidding for ownership in the Los Angeles Dodgers, but speculation increased when the news broke that the Rams owner had a possible stadium site in hand.[23][24]

 
2015 aerial view of former racetrack and complex site, with the Downtown Los Angeles skyline in background

Nearly a year went by without a word from Kroenke about his intentions for the land, as he failed to ever address the St. Louis media, or the Hollywood Park Land Company, about what the site may be used for. There was, however, speculation about the future of the Rams franchise until it was reported that the National Football League would not be allowing any franchise relocation for the 2015 season.[25]

On January 5, 2015, Stockbridge Capital Group, the owners of the Hollywood Park Land Company, announced that it had partnered with Kroenke Sports & Entertainment to add the northern 60-acre (24 ha) parcel to the rest of the development project and build a multi-purpose 70,240-seat stadium designed for the NFL.[26][21][27] The project would include the stadium and a performance arts venue attached to the stadium with up to 6,000 seats, while the previously approved Hollywood Park development that included plans for up to 900,000 square feet (84,000 m2) of retail, 800,000 square feet (74,000 m2) of office space, 2,500 new residential and condo units, a luxury hotel with over 300 rooms and 25 acres (10 ha) of public parks, playgrounds, open space, a lake and pedestrian, bicycle and mass-transit access for future services was reconfigured to fit the stadium.[21][28] On February 24, 2015, the Inglewood City Council approved plans with a 5–0 unanimous vote to combine the 60-acre (24 ha) plot of land with the larger Hollywood Park development and rezone the area to include sports and entertainment capabilities. This essentially cleared the way for developers to begin construction on the venue as planned in December 2015.[29][30][31]

It was also reported, in early February 2015, that "earth was being moved" and the site was being graded to be prepared for the construction that would begin later in the year.[32]

The project was competing directly with a rival proposal. On February 19, 2015, the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers announced plans for a privately financed $1.85 billion stadium that the two teams would have built in Carson if they were to move to the Los Angeles market.[33] The project was, like the Inglewood project, also approved to move forward and cleared for development.[34] The two projects spent the remainder of 2015 jockeying for the right to get approved by the NFL.[35]

ConstructionEdit

 
2016 aerial view of the stadium construction site, adjacent to The Forum. The new Hollywood Park Casino is in the foreground.

The NFL approved the Inglewood proposal and the Rams' relocation back to Los Angeles, 30–2, on January 12, 2016 over the rival proposal.[36] On July 14, 2016, it was announced that Turner Construction and AECOM Hunt would oversee construction of the stadium and that the HKS, Inc. architect firm would design the stadium.[37]

On October 19, 2016, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) determined that a 110-foot (34 m) tall LB 44 rotary drill rig would not pose a hazard to air navigation, so it approved the first of several pieces of heavy equipment to be used during construction. The stadium design had been under review by the FAA for more than a year because of concerns about how the structure would interact with radar at nearby Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).[38] On December 16, 2016, it was reported in Sports Business Journal that the FAA had declined to issue permits for cranes needed to build the structure. "We’re not going to evaluate any crane applications until our concerns with the overall project are resolved," said FAA spokesman Ian Gregor.[39] The FAA had previously recommended building the stadium at another site due to the risks posed to LAX—echoing concerns raised by former United States Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge.[40]

The Rams held the groundbreaking construction ceremony at the stadium site on November 17, 2016. The ceremony featured NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Rams' owner Stan Kroenke.[41][42] On December 23, 2016, the FAA approved the large construction cranes to build the stadium.[43]

On May 18, 2017, developers announced that record rainfall in the area had postponed the stadium's completion and opening from 2019 until the 2020 NFL season.[44][45] On August 8, 2017, the LA Stadium Premiere Center opened in Playa Vista, featuring interactive multimedia displays and models showcasing the design and features of the new stadium (with a particular focus on prospective buyers of premium suites and seats at the facility).[46][47]

 
SoFi Stadium under construction in November 2018

In March 2018, the NFL announced that it would relocate its NFL Media unit (which manages the NFL's in-house media units, including NFL Network, digital properties, and NFL Films among other units) from Culver City to a new 200,000 square feet (19,000 m2) facility neighboring the stadium in the Hollywood Park development, which will include a studio capable of hosting audiences, as well as an outdoor studio. The new facility is expected to be completed in 2021.[48][49]

On June 26, 2018, the new stadium was ceremonially topped out.[50]

As of August 2019, one year before the planned opening, Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff stated that the stadium was 75% complete.[51] In January 2020, Demoff stated that construction was now 85% complete, with roof construction, seat installation, and construction of the Oculus in progress.[52]

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders issued by the California state government in March 2020, construction (exempted as a critical infrastructure project) continued with social distancing and heightened health and safety standards. Demoff acknowledged that there was a possibility that its completion could be delayed, explaining that it was "not the time you want to be finishing a stadium, in this environment as you prepare", but that "our stadium, and I believe the Raiders' stadium as well, will both be amazing when they are finished and when they will begin play, which will certainly happen in the near future, whether that's in July, August, September, in 2021".[53][54] Five construction workers were reported to have tested positive, including an ironworker who had worked in an assembly area away from the structure, and a backfill operator who had worked in an "isolated area outside the building" and had not entered it.[55][56]

On June 5, 2020, construction on the facility was temporarily halted after an ironworker fell to his death through a hole in the roof created by the removal of a panel for maintenance.[57][58] On June 9, 2020, construction on the facility resumed everywhere but the roof.[59]

Cancelled opening events, first NFL gamesEdit

All of the originally-announced summer concerts at the venue were cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic, including a two-night stop on Taylor Swift's Lover Fest tour on July 25 and 26, 2020 (originally announced as the stadium's grand opening), and tours by Guns N' Roses (2020 Tour), Kenny Chesney (Chillaxification Tour), Tim McGraw (Here on Earth Tour), Mötley Crüe, and Def Leppard (The Stadium Tour).[60][61][62] The entirety of the NFL preseason was also cancelled; the Rams held their first practice at the stadium on August 22, 2020.[63]

On August 25, 2020, the Chargers and Rams announced that all games at the stadium would be held behind closed doors "until further notice".[64] An official ribbon-cutting ceremony was hosted on September 8, 2020, ahead of its first NFL event on September 13 — featuring the Rams hosting the Dallas Cowboys in the first Sunday-night game of the season.[65][66]

NamingEdit

On September 15, 2019, it was announced that personal finance company SoFi had acquired the naming rights to the new stadium under a 20-year deal valued at over $30 million per-year, under which the stadium will be known as SoFi Stadium.[67] The company became an official partner of both the Rams and the Chargers, as well as a partner of the performance venue and surrounding entertainment district.[68]

The covered open space formerly known as Champions Plaza between the playing field and the performance venue within the stadium was officially named American Airlines Plaza. The airline was named the first founding partner on August 6, 2019.[69]

FundingEdit

The stadium was built privately,[70] but the developer is seeking significant tax breaks from Inglewood.[71]

The cost of the stadium project was originally estimated to be approximately $2.66 billion upon the commencement of construction. However, internal league documents produced by the NFL in March 2018 indicated a need to raise the debt ceiling for the stadium and facility to a total of $4.963 billion, making it the most expensive sports venue ever built. Team owners voted and approved this new debt ceiling at a meeting that same month.[72] In May 2020, another $500 million in loans was approved by the NFL and the owners.[9]

TeamsEdit

The St. Louis Rams were first to commit to moving to the stadium, as NFL approval for their relocation to Los Angeles was obtained on January 12, 2016. The approval, as part of a concession made by Kroenke to get the stadium project and Rams relocation approved, also gave the San Diego Chargers the first option to relocate to Los Angeles and share the stadium with the Rams, conditioned on a negotiated lease agreement between the two teams. The option would have expired on January 15, 2017, at which time the Oakland Raiders would have acquired the same option.[73]

On January 29, 2016, the Rams and Chargers came to an agreement in principle to share the stadium. Both teams would contribute a $200 million stadium loan from the NFL and personal seat license fees to the construction costs and would pay $1 per year in rent to the facility's controlling entity, StadCo LA, LLC.[74][75][2] The same day, Chargers chairman and CEO Dean Spanos announced the team would remain in San Diego for the 2016 NFL season, while continuing to work with local government on a new stadium.[76] Measure C (the Chargers stadium proposal) did not receive the requisite number of votes required for passage.

On January 12, 2017, the Chargers exercised their option and announced plans to relocate to Los Angeles for the 2017 season, making the Chargers the second tenant at the stadium and returning them to the market where they played their inaugural season in 1960.[77][78]

The Rams and Chargers' move into the stadium marked the return of major professional sports to Inglewood for the first time since the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Kings left The Forum for Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles in May 1999.

Major eventsEdit

NFLEdit

Super Bowl LVIEdit

SoFi Stadium will host Super Bowl LVI in February 2022, marking the first Super Bowl to be played in the Los Angeles area since Super Bowl XXVII in 1993. The stadium was originally awarded Super Bowl LV (2021) at an NFL owners' meeting in May 2016;[79][80] in May 2017, due to the opening of the stadium being delayed to 2020, the NFL chose to re-award Super Bowl LV to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa (which was the remaining city in a pool of four used to determine the hosts of Super Bowl LIII through LV), and award LVI to Los Angeles instead. Due to the possibilities of issues that need to be addressed in an inaugural season, the NFL does not allow stadiums to host the Super Bowl during their first season of operation.[81]

College footballEdit

College Football Playoff National ChampionshipEdit

On November 1, 2017, it was announced that the stadium will host the 2023 College Football Playoff National Championship.[82] The winners of the Peach and Fiesta Bowls in 2023 will play on January 9, 2023.

LA BowlEdit

The Mountain West and Pac-12 conferences will play a new bowl game at SoFi Stadium in the 2020 season, known as the LA Bowl. The Mountain West is moving its top bowl selection to the game from the Las Vegas Bowl.[83]

SoccerEdit

2026 FIFA World CupEdit

A local bid for Los Angeles in the 2026 FIFA World Cup was organized by private businesses led by AEG with assistance from the Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment District Commission (SoFi Stadium), LAFC, the LA Galaxy, and Rose Bowl Stadium. The Los Angeles City Council approved the bid after private businesses showed support and offered to pay hosting costs.[84] The SoFi Stadium was not selected as a bidding venue in the winning Canada–Mexico–United States bid because the organizing committee left unbuilt venues out of its final evaluations.[85] The United Bid committee stated they would re-evaluate the stadium selection process and re-visit SoFi Stadium as their main option stadium in the Los Angeles Metro area in June 2020.[86] The American bid to host the World Cup was awarded by FIFA on June 13, 2018.[84]

2028 Summer OlympicsEdit

SoFi Stadium (which, per prior precedent, will be renamed for the duration of the Games due to sponsorship rules) will host all of the opening and closing ceremonies during the 2028 Summer Olympics and Paralympics (with organizers having proposed a split format for the Olympics that would also incorporate the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum).[87] The stadium will also host archery and football (soccer) matches.[88]

WrestleManiaEdit

Professional wrestling promotion WWE originally announced that SoFi Stadium would host WrestleMania 37 on March 28, 2021. It would've marked the fourth time that WrestleMania—WWE's flagship pay-per-view event—has been held in the Los Angeles area, having last hosted it in 2005 at Staples Center. The Los Angeles Times had previously reported in April 2019 that SoFi Stadium was a "front-runner" to host a future edition of the event.[89][90] However, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and California state laws on public gatherings, WWE announced that WrestleMania 37 would be moved to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.[91] WWE has plans bringing WrestleMania 38 in Sofi Stadium in 2022.[92]

Hollywood ParkEdit

The stadium is located in Hollywood Park, a entertainment complex and master-planned neighborhood named after the former horse racing track that sat on the site. Hollywood Park consists of over 8.5 million square feet (790,000 m2) that will be used for office space and condominiums, a 12-screen Cinepolis movie theater, ballrooms, outdoor spaces for community programming, retail, a fitness center, a luxury hotel, a brewery, high-scale restaurants and an open-air shopping and entertainment complex.[93] Immediately ajacent to the stadium is a lake with a waterfall and fountain. The first establishment to open in Hollywood Park was the new Hollywood Park Casino, which opened on October 21, 2016.[15]

NFL Media CampusEdit

Hollywood Park will become the new home of NFL Media, which is currently based in Culver City. Next to the stadium there is a 200,000-square-foot (19,000 m2) building that will house office operations for hundreds of employees that work for NFL RedZone, NFL.com and the NFL app. The building will also be home of NFL Network. In addition to office and studio space, the facility will feature NFL Media's first outdoor studio and space to host studio audiences. The new NFL Media studio campus is expected to open by summer 2021.[94]

TransportationEdit

Public transitEdit

The stadium will be accessible through Metro Rail via the Crenshaw/LAX Line at Downtown Inglewood station which is set to open in mid-2021.[95] It is also accessible through Metro Rail's C Line (formerly the Green Line), via local bus transfers from the nearby Crenshaw and Hawthorne/Lennox stations.

In 2018, the city of Inglewood and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority began talks to build an 1.6 mile (2.6 km) automated people mover line that will connect the Downtown Inglewood Crenshaw/LAX station with SoFi Stadium, as well as the Forum and the planned Los Angeles Clippers basketball arena, just south of the Hollywood Park site. The Inglewood Transit Connector will be operated by the city, in conjunction with Metro, and is planned to open in 2026.

In popular cultureEdit

  • On September 9, 2020, the stadium's construction was the subject of a two-hour special called NFL Super Stadiums on Science Channel.[96]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit

Preceded by
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Home of the
Los Angeles Rams

2020 – present
Succeeded by
none
Preceded by
Dignity Health Sports Park
Home of the
Los Angeles Chargers

2020 – present
Succeeded by
none
Preceded by
WWE Performance Center
Host of WrestleMania
37 2021
Succeeded by
TBD
Preceded by
Raymond James Stadium
Host of the Super Bowl
LVI 2022
Succeeded by
State Farm Stadium
Preceded by
Stade de France
Paris
Summer Olympics
Opening Ceremony main venue

2028
Succeeded by
TBD