By Alyssa Haduck
LOS ANGELES — Southern California continues to celebrate the Los Angeles Rams’ Super Bowl LVI win that took place at the team’s home venue, SoFi Stadium. But the big game was just a warmup for what’s to come on the city’s sports scene.
Starting July 2028, Los Angeles will welcome thousands of athletes, coaches and fans as host of the 2028 Summer Olympics. Super Bowl LVI sits about halfway between when the International Olympic Committee formally awarded Los Angeles the Games in September 2017 and the start of the Games themselves.
The 2028 Olympics will be Los Angeles’ third Summer Games, following events in 1932 and 1984. The city’s bid for 2028 relied in large part on its existing event infrastructure, which now includes SoFi Stadium.
SoFi opened on Sept. 8, 2020, and at 3.1 million square feet, it is the largest stadium in the NFL. Following Super Bowl LVI, the 70,000-seat venue will host a variety of other events before it serves as the stage for the 2028 Games’ opening and closing ceremonies, as well as Olympic archery.
“I think one of the important pieces to keep in mind is the Super Bowl and other sorts of large events would not be coming to Southern California but for SoFi Stadium,” said Jason Gannon, managing director for SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park, the venue’s surrounding development. “Whether it’s the Super Bowl, or the College Football Playoff next year, the National Championship Game next year, events like WrestleMania, the pursuit of the World Cup — all (are) a great lead-up to help us host the Olympics in 2028.”
Currently complete under the venue’s sloping silver roof is the stadium, the 6,000-seat YouTube Theater and 2.5-acre American Airlines Plaza.
Work is now underway on residential and retail offerings that will bring the total area developed to 5 million square feet, one-third of the 15 million square feet available, according to Gannon. He said the goal is to make “substantial progress” in developing the rest of the complex — which is set to include a hotel and several public parks — ahead of the Olympics.
While 2028 will be SoFi Stadium’s first Olympic experience, it will be the third for the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The iconic venue will join SoFi in hosting the opening and closing ceremonies, in addition to its own Olympic track and field events.
Joe Furin, general manager of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, said the Los Angeles 2028 Organizing Committee, LA28, will manage the track installation, while the coliseum team will help oversee several smaller projects ahead of the Games. These updates will build on the $315 million renovation the stadium underwent in 2019 that added a stadiumwide Wi-Fi system and handrails, among other enhancements.
“The big renovation did a number of important improvements, but it did not address the entire stadium, so we will continue to make improvements,” Furin said. “You won’t see something on the scale of the 2019 project, but we will continue to improve public access areas — gates, restrooms, paths-of-travel — and infrastructure items, like restrooms, concessions and locker room accommodations, over the next six years.”
As SoFi Stadium, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and the 2028 Games’ other Olympic venues continue to ready their respective facilities, LA28 has begun making business preparations for the upcoming event.
LA28 chairperson Casey Wasserman said the committee has already organized its team, its sponsorship and licensing program, and the LA28 brand that highlights the character of the city — an aspect of the Los Angeles Games Wasserman is most excited to share with the world.
“At Super Bowl LVI, we witnessed how much people love to see the creativity, diversity and energy of LA come to life across sports and entertainment,” said Wasserman, who was also chairman of the Los Angeles Super Bowl Host Committee. “There’s no question we will look to celebrate the best of Los Angeles once again in 2028.”
Alyssa Haduck is a sports media graduate student at Medill. You can follow her on Twitter at @Alyssa_Haduck.