In our ongoing Industry Report Series, we take a look at the next big thing in entertainment with a venue that everyone around the world is talking about. Located right here in Southern California, Inglewood’s SoFi Stadium is poised to rule all the venues.
The stadium is the NFL’s new shining star, but it also is spread out over several acres and a component of Hollywood Park. It has developing residential units and it has transformed the Inglewood area.
Right now SoFi is best known as the home of the NFL’s Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles Rams. The stadium will also be seen all over the globe when it hosts this weekend’s Super Bowl LVI and next year’s NCAA Football Championship game.
SoFi has already put on some kick-ass concerts. We have seen larger-than-life bands like The Rolling Stones play there. For the younger crowd, the phenoms from South Korea – BTS – have also played SoFi. Next door at the YouTube Theater, we have seen legendary bands like DEVO and living legend Eddie Vedder is playing soon.
What’s the skinny behind this monolithic stadium that is all the buzz? Recently we had a chance to tour the facility and quite frankly, it lived up to the hype.
SoFi was designed with a variety of considerations; some structural, some legal, some cultural, and mostly fan-experience based. The price tag to build this structure? It came in at a whopping $5 billion.
The first thing that stood out wasn’t what we saw, it was what we didn’t see. There were no gaudy, over-the-top things you see at other stadiums. There were no pools or other weird and obnoxious-looking features. Everything we saw was straight forward of what you expect and – most importantly – it was just top notch with not a bad seat in the house.
SoFi was designed by several architects, but led by Lance Evans. He is a head honcho at HKS, a major architectural firm who has been involved in multiple NFL projects.
The stadium was developed to be the NFL’s first indoor AND outdoor venue. It took many inspirations from the Southern California landscapes and culture centers you see throughout the southland. You can look around and see inspirations from other local venues like Dodger Stadium or the Rose Bowl.
During our tour, we were told something very important; SoFi sits near the LAX flight path. Because of its proximity to LAX, SoFi had certain issues that most stadiums don’t have to consider. The main one of those concerns is a height restriction. To do what they wanted to do, the architecture team’s design called for three decks, the main being the field which is situated below grade. You heard that right. Just like Dodger Stadium, the SoFi turf is below the horizon line, 100 feet below to be exact. The field itself, the locker rooms, and parking for teams, staff and other vendors is all dug into the earth, just like Dodger Stadium.
When you enter SoFi, you are in the midsection of the whale. You only have to go one story down and one story up. The ease to get to your seat is a big plus. If you’re stylin’ with friends or a work event, the luxury suites are simply unreal; although the cost to secure a suite is also unreal.
The upper decks are also uber cool. The views from the top give you the sights and sounds of the metropolis that is Inglewood, Lake Park, and the Palos Verdes Peninsula. As you sit in your seat, you look up and the canopy above is the coolest thing ever; it opens to allow for air flow and looks like a pillow.
The most prominent feature of SoFi stares right back at you, and it may just be the eighth wonder of the world. The gigantic ovular video board stretches from end zone to end zone and beyond. In non-metric terms, it’s 120 yards long and weighs 2.2 million pounds. If you can imagine this, it contains 70,000 square feet of digital LED. It houses 268 speakers and has a catwalk inside the video board that fits a small army. Oh, it also features 70 million pixels. I’m not a techy person, but I’m pretty sure that’s a lot! Those who are techy will love the fact that their computer rooms are insanely cool. They have more than one!
What makes this feature beyond compare is the dual-sided videoboard that makes it appropriate for the area that is becoming the entertainment capital of the world.
Other features that stood out were the landscaping around SoFi; credit for that goes to Studio-MLA. Throughout the grounds, you see plants and landscaping that you would expect to see throughout the Golden State.
The locker rooms were also impressive. Again, state of the art where no expense was waived. Elevators below grade take vendors and box owners directly to their destination. If that isn’t enough, the YouTube Theater is under the canopy ground and adjacent to the stadium. You know the grounds are enormous when a 6,000-person music hall is the small structure.
at SoFi Stadium
April 2nd, 2023
I would like to say everything at SoFi is candy canes and rainbows, but that’s not a reality of life at any stadium. Traffic can be frustrating. With other venues like The Forum, The NFL building next door, and the Clippers new Dome Arena coming soon, Inglewood is becoming an entertainment hub, but the traffic is what you would expect for such a place.
On the flipside, something that has nothing and everything to do with this report, be aware there is a proposal to build an elevated tram. The ETA on that is 2027, while the Clippers’ Dome is due in 2024. All should be ready to go in time for the 2027 Olympic Games.
Football aside, what else do we have to look forward to at SoFi? Well, Kenny Chesney is set to play on July 23rd; Red Hot Chili Peppers and Beck will be there July 31st; Motley Crue’s Stadium Tour with Def Leppard, Poison, and Joan Jett hits on August 27th. Plus, hold on to your shoes because WrestleMania is set to happen on April 2nd, 2023.
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
July 31, 2022
Bottom line, SoFi lived up to everything that is being said about it. Not many places do, but this one is special. Credit that to the architects, landscapers, and the visionaries like Stan Kroenke who made this all possible.
This venue is set to entertain us for years to come, so see you at SoFi!