It’s one of the newest venues on the US sporting scene but the SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles is already being heralded as one of the best. It officially opened in September 2020 and it’s a spectacular venue for teams and supporters.
But who actually plays here and what makes the SoFi Stadium stand out in an era where it has so much competition?
Currently, the SoFi Stadium is exclusively used for American football. Two NFL franchise teams can currently call this their home ground with the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers having made use of the venue from day one.
Although they can boast just one Super Bowl win between them, the Chargers and the Rams are among the most competitive teams in the National Football League. Of course, this year the stadium is hosting the biggest event of the NFL season. The LA Rams are being tipped for success in this year’s Super Bowl odds.
The SoFi also plays host to the LA Bowl which is an annual College Football Game. In December 2021, Utah State and Oregon State contested the first LA Bowl to be played here and the stadium is set to showcase many more.
For now, football is the main focus but, if other sports want to make use of the facilities outside of the NFL season, the SoFi Stadium is fully equipped to accommodate.
The architects behind the venue are HKS, Inc whose previous projects include the AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys. They are, therefore, no strangers to the demands of NFL franchises but the SoFi had to be unique.
HKS and the LA Rams owners, Kroenke Sports and Entertainment, wanted a venue that mirrored the local area. Inglewood, where the stadium is located, is situated in the South Bay region of Los Angeles and comes with some spectacular natural scenery.
The dramatic curves of the SoFi stadium reflect the Pacific Ocean which dominates the horizon of Inglewood. Instead of standard elevators and escalators, HKS have implemented meandering pathways which mirror that local landscape and maintain the theme of the great outdoors.
Throughout the venue, the design also looks to reflect the climate and lifestyle of the area, as well as the geography.
The architects behind the SoFi Stadium describe it as an indoor-outdoor venue. It has a translucent roof which gives spectators the feeling of being out in the open while keeping them sheltered from the elements.
The sides are open but the dome shape of the roof helps to provide that protection from inclement weather conditions.
HKS’ biggest challenge related to height restrictions that were placed by local building regulations. They needed a large capacity stadium but rules meant that couldn’t extend vertically to meet the owner’s requirements.
The issue was resolved by the deployment of a sunken bowl which goes into the ground to a maximum of 27.5 meters. Those viewing the game in the lower tiers will have a level view of the field, so vision isn’t compromised.
These are the features that make the SoFi Stadium unique and have helped to win a clutch of awards for the venue. Perhaps the most significant of these came in 2021 when the American Society of Civil Engineers named the site as its Outstanding Architectural Engineering project.
The sunken bowl has helped the designers and the owners reach their goals in terms of capacity. For regular events, the SoFi Stadium aims to have a maximum of 70,240 spectators.
For bigger matches and tournaments, there is the potential to extend that number to 100,240. Clearly everyone involved is thinking big because those future, larger, events are intended to include Super Bowls and Summer Olympic Games.
Like most modern designs, the SoFi is also multi-purpose with lots of facilities on hand behind the main sporting focus. Cinemas, theaters and music venues are in place along with shopping malls and other recreational areas.
At the start of 2022, American football had enjoyed exclusivity at the SoFi Stadium but that situation won’t last for too long. The location is set to play a big role in the United North American plans to host the 2026 FIFA Soccer World Cup.
Two years later, the SoFi Stadium will host the opening and closing ceremonies when the Olympic Games come to Los Angeles. Several key events will also take place here and hosting duties will subsequently extend to the Paralympic Games.
Before all of that, the showpiece event that is WrestleMania 39 will be hosted by the stadium in April 2023. WWE have long been in negotiations with the owners and wrestling is expected to be fully involved moving forward.
This unique and amazing venue has a big future and it’s just the start of the story for the stunning SoFi Stadium.