With Los Angeles County and the state of California now under non-essential worker lockdown due to the COVID-19 coronavirus, one of LA’s largest planned moneymakers for the city now has its future in doubt.
NFL season now in jeopardy for new LA stadium
Inglewood’s $5 billion SoFi Stadium, which was expected to open in the fall, will have all construction be stopped as construction worker are not considered ‘essential-services’ employees. This puts large events, such as concerts, NFL games, and the upcoming Super Bowl in jeopardy, as well as possible delays to the 2028 Olympics for stadium readiness. Combined, that will cost Inglewood, Los Angeles, and Los Angeles County combined hundreds of millions at even the most conservative estimate, perhaps even over a billion.
“NFL games alone bring in a lot for each game,” noted Las Vegas-based economist John Lowry. “Even with LA teams possibly having lower than usual attendance, that’s 16 combined games a year. With hotels, parking, concessions, areas businesses, taxes, and other things fans spend money on, that’s millions going to the local economy each game. Concerts, somewhat less, but also pulling in a lot. Other events, like large gatherings, rallies, etc., that’s also money coming in.”
“A delay by even a few months costs millions. You push completion until next year, and LA will be missing out on 9 figures minimum.”
The stadium is currently about 90% done and planned a grand opening on July 25th with a Taylor Swift concert. Both the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers of the NFL were planned to move in afterwards. All that is now on hold. The Rams and Chargers will most likely have to play at other venues in the LA area, most likely at the LA Coliseum and an MLS stadium in Carson where both teams have respectively been playing since coming to Los Angeles.
The loss of a Super Bowl
Perhaps most devastating is the possible loss of Super Bowl LVI in 2022. As league rules specify that a stadium has to be in operation for one year before hosting the game, Los Angeles may miss out on one of the world’s largest events.
“Super Bowls, at minimum, bring in $100 million for a city or region,” explained Lowry. “For a larger market like LA, it can be $400 or $500 million. Even moving it to the Coliseum or the Rose Bowl would have significant costs, and Inglewood, which expected the Super Bowl to bring in a lot of money, would be out high and dry.”
“This was the centerpiece for so much, but now it’s going to cost the city way more than what was planned. It can take years for the kinks in stadiums to work out. Montreal had to pay off a stadium for 30 years due to issues. And if LA misses out or has to move the Super Bowl, it can effect events leading up to the Olympics in 2028. And THAT would be huge.”
“Right now, the best course of action would be to ask the NFL for a change of venue. That way LA still gets something so they don’t lose too much. SoFi Stadium, as of now, looks like it won’t be ready in time for this season or for the Super Bowl. Add up all the events, all the projected revenue and fan spending, advertising deals, losses in post-event tourism, parking, hotels, everything, and it can be over a billion.”
“And this is just one thing the coronavirus hit mind you. Attendance is going to fall because of lingering worries over the virus for example. That’s even more.”
SoFi stadium was scheduled to officially open July 25th. There has been no announcement on a replacement date as of yet.