Despite President Trump believing the NFL season will be able to start on time, uncertainty continuously surrounds the league. In Los Angeles, the biggest uncertainty facing the Rams and Chargers is the construction of their new home.
SoFi Stadium, which will house both relocated teams, was slated to open in July before launching into the 2020 NFL season. But as the coronavirus pandemic leaves its toll nationwide, the stadium’s opening could be delayed like so many other events and throw a curveball for the teams.
“This is not the time you want to be finishing a stadium, in this environment as you prepare,” Rams COO Kevin Demoff said in a statement obtained by the Los Angeles Times. “Because it’s when you need to be all hands on deck, walking through the building every day, meeting with your staff, working out the kinks and planning for it. So when you’ve been building something for a few years, you would love an optimal environment to finish it.”
On-site construction at the stadium has been ongoing with the authorization of officials while the state remains under a stay-at-home order by Gov. Gavin Newsom. However, many non-essential employees have been told to stay at home and those on-site will be working under heightened health and safety guidelines after a worker tested positive for COVID-19. Allegiant Stadium, the Raiders’ new home in Las Vegas, also had a confirmed case on the construction site as both venues hustle to open before the NFL season.
“Our stadium, and I believe the Raiders’ stadium as well, will both be amazing when they are finished and when they will begin play, which will certainly happen in the near future, whether that’s in July, August, September, in 2021,” Demoff said. “I don’t think you can look at either of these stadiums as short-term projects to finish but rather long-term beacons for the franchises and for the NFL.”
The LA teams have contingency plans in place should the stadium’s opening face unexpected delays. For the past few seasons, the Rams have called the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum their temporary home while the Chargers have inhabited Dignity Health Sports Park Stadium. They could presumably stay at those venues while construction finishes up.
Things are less certain when it comes to the stadium’s concert schedule. Taylor Swift has not yet revealed if her Lover Fest shows in the U.S. will go on this summer. Swift is scheduled to open SoFi Stadium with a July 25 show, while fellow superstar Garth Brooks is lined up to headline Allegiant Stadium in August.