The opening of the $2.6 billion stadium that will house the Rams and Chargers in Inglewood has been delayed by one year, due largely to unusually heavy winter rainfall that hampered construction, officials announced today.
The stadium is now scheduled to be open for the 2020 NFL season.
“Despite bringing drought relief to the region, the rain fell during
the mass excavation period of construction when no other work could proceed in
wet conditions,” according to a statement issued by the Rams. “As a result,
we experienced significant delays and lost the better part of two months from
early January into the beginning of March.”
A groundbreaking ceremony for the project was held in November, and
crews have already excavated an estimated 6 million cubic yards of dirt.
According to the Rams and Chargers, moving back the opening date to 2020
will provide “flexibility” to accommodate any additional delays.
As a result of the delay, the Rams will continue playing at Los Angeles
Memorial Coliseum and the Chargers will remain at StubHub Center in Carson
through the 2019 NFL season.
“Our focus is always on the fan experience,” said A.G. Spanos,
president of business operations for the Chargers. “Our future home will be
the best stadium in the NFL and deliver a transformational experience for our
Chargers fans. If getting it right means pushing back the completion date, then
I think the extra year is well worth it.”
Spanos noted that construction “is our family business,” and such
challenges can occur with “a project of this magnitude.”
The stadium, with an estimated capacity of about 70,000, is expected to
include 275 luxury suites, more than 16,000 premium seats and have nearly 3
million square feet of usable space. The overall project has a price tag
estimated at about $2.6 billion.
According to contractors, the stadium construction will provide more
than 3,500 on-site construction jobs in Inglewood and more than 10,000 jobs by
the time it is completed.
The stadium is expected to be the centerpiece of an entertainment and
commercial center spanning roughly 300 acres. The district is envisioned to
include a roughly 6,000-seat arena, more than 1.5 million square feet of retail
and office space, 2,500 residential units and possibly a 300-room hotel, along
with 25 acres of parks and open space.
The stadium has already been named the host of the 2021 Super Bowl,
however, the selection may have to be reviewed by league owners in light of the
construction delay. Brian McCarthy, vice president of communications for the
NFL, said the league has a rule requiring a stadium to be open for at least two
regular seasons before it can host a Super Bowl.
“It’s something the ownership would need to consider,” McCarthy told
City News Service. “That’s the current rule. (It) would need a waiver.”
McCarthy noted there is a precedent for owners waiving rules for hosting
a Super Bowl. League owners issued a waiver allowing the 2014 Super Bowl to
be played in MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey — an open-air
venue in a cold-weather city. Super Bowls are usually restricted to warm-
weather cities, or enclosed stadiums in cold-weather cities.
The Inglewood stadium is also a lynchpin in Los Angeles’ bid to host the
2024 Summer Olympics. The stadium is expected to co-host the opening and
closing ceremonies if the Southland is awarded the Games.