Scenes from Super Bowl week preparations at the Inglewood venue the Chargers and NFC champion Rams call home
The NFL will finally return to Los Angeles County for a Super Bowl on Sunday at SoFi Stadium, the Inglewood home of the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers. Boardroom took a tour of the state-of-the-art facility this week as preparations for the big game took shape.
The stadium, whose overall project came with a reported $5 billion price tag, is being outfitted to match the theme of this year’s game — fans will find palm tree graphics with vibrant colors both inside and outside of the building. NFL Senior Director of Live Event Operations Katie Keenan said this was by design.
“You feel like you’re in Los Angeles when you’re inside and it has a Hollywood vibe, ” she told Boardroom. “The silver, and then you add the beautiful decor that our team has been able to add on here with the LA sunset, it’s going to be a great night.”
To those who have only seen the stadium through pictures, videos, or broadcasts the facility appears from the exterior like a traditional dome. In reality, the playing field actually sits 100 feet below ground level; if the entire building sat above-ground, it could risk interfering with planes flying into Los Angeles International Airport from the east.
That means fans who enter the stadium must take stairs or elevators down to their seats.
“This is one of our greatest accomplishments from an architecture standpoint,” said Keenan. “There are so many different ways we can activate in the space, and it feels like a stadium but almost doesn’t in some parts because depending on where you’re sitting it can feel like you’re outside. They will have no issue filling this building in years to come.”
And although the stadium is underground, wind also blows through the stadium from one side to the other due to the fact that the dome is not closed off on its sides. SoFi regularly hosts 70,000 seats, but is expandable to 100,000 for major events like the Super Bowl and concerts.
This was also by design. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters on Wednesday that “we needed to have a state of the art stadium that gave us the ‘wow’ factor. That gave us the ability to put on these big events and attract other events other than the Super Bowl.”
Arguably the most notable feature within the stadium is the dual-sided video board attached to the roof. Only an elite group of executives knows what the huge technology structure costs. Jerry Jones’ video board at the Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium cost $40 million in 2009 — but the dollar figures aren’t the only staggering numbers. The video board itself:
- Weighs 1,100 tons (2.2 million pounds)
- Stretches 120 yards in length
- Houses 268 speakers
- Contains 70,000 square feet of LED lighting
All of these features enable the board to be the largest in global professional sports. To put that in perspective, a Rams executive told CNBC three years ago the board is three times the size of the Cowboys’.
The Super Bowl LVI is just the beginning of plans in and around SoFi Stadium and the broader Inglewood community. Ongoing and upcoming projects include a 300-room hotel, apartment buildings, a retail center, and a 6,000 seat performing arts venue. The stadium complex will also welcome another new facility in 2024, the Intuit Dome, the future home of the Los Angeles Clippers that reportedly cost $1.8 billion.
But for now, all eyes are set on Sunday when the Bengals face off against the Rams in the second consecutive Super Bowl in which the NFC champion is playing in its home stadium. Tickets for the game cost a fortune, but over 100 million viewers around the world will tune in to watch the game, the commercials, the halftime show, and the trophy presentations and develop a proper appreciation to the sheer scope and ambition of the work that goes into putting on sports’ biggest spectacle of the year.