INGLEWOOD — SoFi Stadium is still on schedule to open in August with construction crews announcing last week the stadium is 97% complete.
The National Football League is currently gearing up for the 70,000-seat stadium’s first event, a pre-season games between the Rams and the New Orleans Saints Aug. 14, but the NFL’s preseason schedule is still up in the air as the nation continues to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
The Chargers’ first home preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys is scheduled for Aug 16.
Five concerts planned at the new stadium have already been postponed.
Taylor Swift was supposed to open SoFi Stadium with kickoff concerts on July 25 and 26. Kenny Chesney also had two concerts scheduled for Aug. 1 and 2 postponed as did Guns N’ Roses, which was scheduled to play Aug. 20.
SoFi Stadium workers have been directly impacted by coronavirus. According to the L.A. County Department of Public Health, more than 40 construction workers have tested positive for COVID-19.
The stadium has also seen delays because of tragedies. According to the stadium’s contractor, Turner AECOM Hunt, two workers have died at SoFi Stadium construction site in about a month’s span, including one iron worker who fell from the roof of the stadium.
Los Angeles Rams owner E. Stanley Kroenke broke ground in 2016 on the $5 billion dollar stadium, which is located on the site of the former Hollywood Park racetrack.
“Stan Kroenke’s vision is to build a global sports and entertainment destination,” said Jason Gannon, managing director of SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park.
The visual centerpiece inside the stadium will be an Oculus videoboard, which practically covers the entire football field. The board is suspended from the roof and weighs more than 2.2 million pounds.
“The resolution of this board is higher,” said Skarpi Hedinsson, chief technology officer of SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park. “It’s … roughly 70,000 square feet, just north of 80 million pixels. It’s also fed by a native 4K video production system.
Hedinsson called the videoboard, “the largest graphics control system in the history of sports to give the fans in this stadium the ultimate experience.”
“It’s an incredible feat from a technology and engineering perspective. You put all that together and the game-day experience is going to be pretty unrivaled here at SoFi Stadium” Hedinsson said.
The NFL is convinced it will play its-regular 16-game scheduled this year, although there is some talk that one or two preseason games could be canceled.
Whether there will be any fans in the seats remains to be seen. That decision will be made by local public health officials on up to Gov. Gavin Newsom.
The stadium is the centerpiece of a 298-acre mixed-use development featuring retail, commercial office space, a hotel, residential units and outdoor park spaces designed to rejuvenate the economy of the city of Inglewood.
SoFi Stadium is scheduled to host Super Bowl LVI in 2022, the College Football National Championship Game in 2023, and the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2028 Olympics.
Community activists have pointed to SoFi Stadium and the surrounding Hollywood Park development as the precipice to gentrification in Inglewood.
Activists said long-term residents were pushed out during several years of rent increases, before the Inglewood City Council ultimately decided to pass a rent control measure in 2019.