One of the NFL’s newest venues, SoFi Stadium, is preparing to host Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13, while older stadiums are planning major renovations.
In fact, SoFi Stadium — home to both the Los Angeles Chargers and the Los Angeles Rams — also will now host the NFC Championship Game on Jan. 30, when the Rams take on the San Francisco 49ers. The winner moves on to the Super Bowl. That makes the Rams the first NFL team to host a conference title game in the same stadium where the Super Bowl will be played.
“It’s a high-class problem to have, and we’re up to the challenge,” Kathy Schloessman, chief executive of the Los Angeles Super Bowl Host Committee, told msn.com.
“The Super Bowl alone is anticipated to create thousands of more jobs and generate anywhere from $230 million to $475 million in economic impact,”Adam Burke, president and chief executive officer of the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, told FrontOfficeSports.com.
SoFi Stadium made its debut in 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic but didn’t open its gates to fans until 2021. The $5 billion venue anchors Hollywood Park — a 298-acre sports and entertainment destination still under development — and now, back-to-back nationally televised games will give the country a good look at the stadium’s epic70,000-square-foot, dual-sided and center-hung videoboard that weighs 2.2 million pounds and reportedly is the only 4K end-to-end videoboard in all of sports.
But the Super Bowl is only the beginning for SoFi Stadium. It will host the College Football Playoff National Championship in 2023, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies of the Summer Olympics in 2028, and it is in the running to host 2026 FIFA World Cup games.
Meanwhile, transforming older stadiums are a must if cities want to keep NFL teams, according to Mark Lamping, president of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“You judge [a] team based on wins and losses, and it’s the single most important thing,” Lamping recently told the Jacksonville Daily Record. “But don’t think for a moment the path to keeping a team in the city is team performance.”
That’s one big reason why the Chargers now play in Los Angeles instead of in San Diego. In 2016, voters in that city rejecteda ballot measure to create a hotel room tax to pay for a new $1.8 billion stadium and convention center, and the team left San Diego after 56 seasons.
Lamping said that renovating Jacksonville’s TIAA Bank Field (which opened in 1995) is a better option than building a new stadium. “If you can do it through a renovation, you’re probably going to be in a better situation to provide the taxpayers a positive [return on investment],” he told reporters, adding that renovation of TIAA Bank Field likely would save $600 million in new construction costs and ancillary costs.
Jaguars owner Shad Khan noted that any stadium upgrade should include a bigger spotlight on Jacksonville and lead to securing the city as home of the annual University of Florida/University of Georgia football game. “The college playoff is going to be expanding,” he said. “We’ve got to have a stadium that qualifies for that.”
Speaking of upgrades, the Tennessee Titans have unveiled plans for a reported $600 million renovation of Nashville’s Nissan Stadium, the team’s home since 1999. Set to take place over the next three offseasons, the effort includes the creation of an entertainment district along the Cumberland River. According to FootballStadiumDigest.com, the project has been in the works for years. The stadium’s state-owned landlord, Metro Sports Authority, could cover up to half the costs, with the other $300 million coming from the Titans and private investors, SportsProMedia.com reports.
“Our highest priority is to win the Super Bowl, but this is the top priority behind that,” Titans president Burke Nihill told The Tennessean.
Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., home of the New England Patriots, also will undergo significant changes during the next two offseasons. According to team officials, the north end of the stadium, which opened in 2002, will be transformed with the installation of what the Patriots are calling the “largest outdoor high-definition stadium videoboard in the country,” plus new hospitality spaces, enhancements to the stadium lighthouse, a re-envisioned plaza and other improvements.
The $225 million renovation project is expected be completed before the 2023 season kicks off, and it will be privately funded by Patriots owner Robert Kraft and his family.