By Jack Murray
INGLEWOOD, Calif. — The NFL has received the benefit of several major stadium upgrades within the past decade, including AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta and Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. SoFi Stadium, in Inglewood, California, stands out among the rest.
SoFi Stadium is a 70,000- to 100,000-person capacity stadium that has a distinctive architectural style. The stadium possesses the looks and design of an alien spaceship, complete with a roof that rounds out on the edges and leads the eye toward the interior of the stadium. The structure is not a full dome, yet it does possess a roof, and even notably fell victim to a weather delay earlier this year
Lance Evans, the lead architect for SoFi Stadium through the architecture firm HKS Inc., praised Rams owner Stan Kroenke for his support on the project that led to building of the stadium and its unique features.
“I think one of the great things for HKS partnering with Mr. Kroenke was his vision,” Evans said in a Zoom conference on Feb 4. “From Day 1, he described a destination environment, flexible environment and really a legacy project for not only Mr. Kroenke, but for Inglewood, and the NFL and all fans of sports entertainment.”
Evans, who also designed U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, said maintaining the balance of honoring a community and creating a unique experience for fans was something that was taken into consideration during the development of SoFi Stadium.
“It feels like Southern California when you walk into SoFi, but it can also be quite unique at the same time,” Evans said. “We want something that really provides a sense of discovery for fans as they come into the game. And so we hope that through that exploration in our research-based design that we can find that balance of authenticity between a sense of place and this sense of discovery and advancement of the fan experience.
Jason Gannon, the director of SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park, said the stadium is meant to be the centerpiece of the 300-acre development, but not the only attraction.
“Currently, the project is the largest urban mixed-use development under construction in the western United States,” Gannon said in a Zoom conference on Feb. 4. “The vision is to turn the development into a true sports entertainment destination within the heart of a city known as the entertainment capital of the world. We are well on our way to achieve that goal with the Super Bowl and some of the other milestones we had this year, such as the welcoming of our millionth guest in just six short months after the first event with fans.”
The development currently consists of SoFi Stadium, YouTube Theater, NFL Network Studios and Hollywood Park Casino. Gannon said further projects within the development include 800,000 square feet of retail space, 2,500 residential units and 25 acres of public parks and open space. Within the retail space, Gannon said efforts will be made to include Inglewood businesses.
“(Hollywood Park) represents Inglewood with several local businesses,” Gannon said. “We’re proud to highlight Sky’s Gourmet Tacos, Three Weavers (Brewing Company) and residential art galleries.”
Val Hunk, a Los Angeles resident, said residents are excited about the future of the stadium and how it can help boost the Inglewood community.
“Hollywood Park is definitely going to be something worthwhile,” Hunk said. “I know it’s going to build Inglewood up tremendously, which is needed.”
Regarding the future of the development, Gannon said the goals are sky-high.
“We want the project to be a true gathering space for sports entertainment but also for the public community’s use,” Gannon said. “As you can see, Hollywood Park is designed to be a city within a city activated 365 days a year, with SoFi Stadium as its centerpiece.”
Jack Murray is a sports media graduate student at Medill. You can follow him on Twitter at @Murray_Jack_.