Super Bowl LVI: Bringing the Big Game Back to L.A.

by Chris Haney

In just a few days, the Los Angeles Rams will take on the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI. It’s a historic moment for the city of L.A. as it not only hosts the Big Game, but the Rams get to play on their home turf inside of SoFi Stadium. For the first time in almost 30 years, L.A. will welcome the NFC and AFC champions to battle it out for the Lombardi Trophy. The nation’s second largest city was a dead zone for NFL football for more than two decades after the Raiders moved to Oakland and the Rams left for St. Louis in 1995. However, Super Bowl LVI will be the culmination of years of hard work to put L.A. back on the global sports stage.

On Sunday, SoFi Stadium and its surrounding Hollywood Park will host L.A.’s first Super Bowl since 1993 when the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Buffalo Bills. Hollywood Park is a 298-acre, mixed-use development with SoFi Stadium as its centerpiece. The area is much more than just a home for a football stadium though.

Retail shops, residential buildings, various event spaces, and 25 acres of public parks and open spaces adorn the development, which opened on Sept. 8, 2020. Fans weren’t allowed inside the stadium during its first season due to restrictions stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic. But SoFi now has a full season under its belt with the Rams and L.A. Chargers playing all of their home games there this season. The stadium has also hosted numerous concerts, and is only days away from hosting the largest sporting event in America. According to SoFi management, this is only the beginning.

The Super Bowl and Other Global Events Are At the Forefront of SoFi Stadium’s Plans

(Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

In the lead up to the internationally televised event, SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park held a press conference for media members on Friday, Feb. 4. Architects who worked on the development project along with members of SoFi’s operations and management teams shared details about the build up to the Super Bowl. They also opened the floor for questions during the virtual presser.

The unique and innovative development of Hollywood Park is essentially a city within a city, according to Jason Gannon. Gannon is the Managing Director of SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park. Events like Super Bowl LVI were envisioned by everyone who helped create the stadium and its surrounding area.

“In terms of the Super Bowl itself, we look at SoFi Stadium as a venue really that was built for these types of large events. This is the first time in about 30 years that the Super Bowl has been in Los Angeles,” Gannon explained. “To be able to have this type of a venue to bring these types of events is really important.”

When Rams owner Stan Kroenke first breached the subject of a new stadium, he emphasized two things. He wanted to create a space that would fit seamlessly into the community and be available for anyone to use. Additionally, he wanted to create a stadium that could impact not only L.A., but would reach a global audience. Kroenke brought in HKS Architects for the massive project. Mark A. Williams, Global Director of Venues at HKS, worked closely with Kroenke Sports & Entertainment to deliver that vision.

“We wanted to create a place that was very visible for the world,” Williams said to reporters. “And one that could host mega events like what we’re going to see [next Sunday] with the Super Bowl.”

Sunday’s Big Game Is Just the Beginning For SoFi Stadium

During the press conference, each of the speakers touched on the broader picture for their facilities. SoFi Stadium already has other huge events planned, including hosting next season’s College Football Playoff National Championship on Jan. 9, 2023. Further, the venue will host next year’s WrestleMania 39 in April 2023.

Sofi is still in pursuit of hosting games when the 2026 World Cup comes to the United States. All of these huge events are a great lead up to helping them host the Summer Olympics in 2028. That’s been their intent since day one, according to the stadium’s managing director.

Gannon also spoke about the difficulties of organizing an event as large as the Super Bowl. He thinks the SoFi Stadium front office has done a tremendous job, especially getting things in order for fans in basically a six-month window of trials.

“In terms of the ability to kind of work through our operations plan and procedures, and seeing how people actually experience the building and make those tweaks, we’re pretty fortunate” Gannon says of this past season. With both the Rams and Chargers playing in SoFi, plus live concerts, it’s given everyone at Hollywood Park plenty of time to work out any kinks previous to a global event like the Super Bowl.

“We feel really good about the amount of events that we’ve had to date in preparation for the Super Bowl,” Gannon added.

In 2014, Kroenke purchased 60 acres of land in Inglewood. After years of planning and construction, SoFi Stadium is now one of the most impressive venues across the globe. As the Super Bowl kicks off on Sunday, a dream that started out as a blueprint will finally put L.A. back on the global sports stage.