Uncommon, heavy rainfall in Los Angeles has delayed the highly anticipated, $2.6 billion stadium in Inglewood, California, by a year.
The new facility, to be shared by the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers, will now open in 2020 instead of 2019, both teams announced Thursday. In the meantime, the Rams will play at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for an additional year and the Chargers will have one more season at StubHub Center in Carson, California.
The new stadium, funded by Rams owner Stan Kroenke, was previously approved to host Super Bowl LV in February 2021, but it remains to be seen whether that will continue to be the case. NFL rules stipulate that a team cannot host a Super Bowl at the end of a stadium’s inaugural season, but the league confirmed that a waiver can be obtained in order to bypass that.
Commissioner Roger Goodell previously waived the NFL’s rule on minimum temperatures at the Super Bowl so that MetLife Stadium in New Jersey could host Super Bowl XLVIII.
The Rams and Chargers stated that record-setting rain over the winter coincided with the mass excavation period of construction, causing significant delays in which developers “lost the better part of two months from early January into the beginning of March,” the Rams wrote.
The Rams added that the new target opening, for the summer of 2020, “gives us flexibility to accommodate any additional delays that may arise.”
Two NFL executives estimated to ESPN that the Rams will lose at least $80 million in future revenue by moving into their new stadium in 2020 instead of 2019, including more than $40 million less in both sponsorship and ticket sales.
Rams COO Kevin Demoff is expected to address the media in L.A. later on Thursday afternoon. In a statement, Chargers president of football operations A.G. Spanos said: “Our future home will be the best stadium in the NFL and deliver a transformational experience for Chargers fans. If getting it right means pushing back the completion date, then I think the extra year is well worth it. Construction is our family business, so we understand the challenges that come with a project of this magnitude.”
The Rams were planning to roll out a redesign of their new uniforms for 2019, in line with the opening of their new stadium. They may now push it back to 2020, but remain in talks with Nike and are still open about keeping it for 2019.
The new stadium, currently called LA Stadium and Entertainment District at Hollywood Park, will seat 70,000 fans and include an adjacent, 6,000-seat performance venue, all of which will be the centerpiece of a site that will take up nearly 300 acres where the Hollywood Park racetrack used to be.
The venue is expected to include a hotel, office space, retail and housing, and was also in the running to host the 2024 Summer Olympics.
Developers began working on the site in November. Climate research conducted before construction began allotted for 30 days of wiggle room for rain, but a six-month stretch from October through April produced 120 percent the amount of rain for a typical year. In January, the region was on pace for the fifth-wettest winter in 80 years. At the site, the water was filling up the bottom of a 70-foot hole, shutting down construction. Rams officials said the water depth sometimes reached 12 to 15 feet.
The teams said the stadium hole is currently 90 feet deep and fully excavated, with six million cubic yards of dirt removed across the site.
ESPN’s Darren Rovell contributed to this report.
Rain delays Chargers-Rams stadium to 2020 – ESPN