Stadiums in California are abandoned — for now, at least. Restrictions from COVID-19 have left them unattended for much of 2020 and the foreseeable future of 2021. Because of it, Californians have been robbed from exhilarating sports action and world-class entertainment.
Before the deadly virus struck, California was starting to earn a cutting-edge reputation in the stadium space. Just look at the past five years, the “Golden State” has opened one state-of-the-art stadium after another. Let’s review the strides California has made as of late in the stadium world:
SoFi Stadium (located in Inglewood)
The newest stadium, christened at the height of the pandemic, has yet to see a crowd. But eventually, it’ll pack up to 100,000 for the 2022 Super Bowl (side note: the Super Bowl wagering odds then could include a California team since one has qualified from the state two straight seasons), 2023 NCAA football championship, 2026 FIFA World Cup, WWE Wrestlemania, and 2028 Summer Olympics — a who’s-who for world-renown sporting events.
Stan Kroenke is almost entirely to thank for the luxurious stadium. He poured $5 billion of his own money over six years to build it and house his LA Rams football team (that he moved over from St. Louis), along with renting out a spot for the LA Chargers to play in. Kroenke used no taxpayer money to build SoFi Stadium — which is a rarity in arena space.
After all that, SoFi is on the cusp of being THE model stadium for others to follow suit across the country. You name it, SoFi Stadium has it — the largest video board ever created, a translucent roof, and for the Hollywood starlets, 260 luxury suites and over 13,000 premium seats.
Speaking of Hollywood, the surrounding area will be dubbed Hollywood Park. While SoFi Stadium will be the neighborhood’s centerpiece, it’ll be accompanied by a host of businesses and league offices for NFL Media.
In its full glory, the Inglewood stadium is the NFL’s largest stadium in pure size at 3.1 million square feet (28.8 hectares). It’s a fitting stat for the second-largest city in the nation and one that prides itself on producing blockbuster hits.
Banc of California Stadium (Los Angeles)
The City of Angels has always been a soccer-crazed town, but even then, many didn’t know if the city could support another pro sports team — LAFC — in a crowded market that already includes the Lakers, Dodgers, USC, UCLA, and MLS’ own Galaxy.
Boy, were those opinions dead wrong. Since LAFC played its first game inside Banc of Stadium, every game has been sold out (barring those played during the pandemic, of course). The newly-minted franchise, and its brand-new home, have become the gold standard for MLS.
The stadium is a short distance away from USC campus. At 22,000 seats, it provides an intimate viewing experience for “Angelinos.” It’s that intimacy — that makes for racious crowds — that’s made the game-day experience one-of-a-kind for soccer stateside.
Chase Center (San Francisco)
LA is not the only city that benefited from the state of California’s appetite for bigger and better stadiums. Getting in on the fun has also been Santa Clara (home to the 49ers’ Levi Stadium), Sacramento (Golden 1 Center for the Kings), and San Francisco (Chase Center, host to the Warriors).
Let’s focus on the latter of which because it’s a sight that needs to be seen (and tasted). Silicon Valley in San Francisco, with its various tech companies, influences the world in extraordinary ways. In the same respect, the Chase Center will impact arenas in the coming years.
The Warriors’ home stretches its potential far behind just basketball and concerts. Instead, the Chase Center is a true art and culinary extravaganza — that can be enjoyed whether there’s a live event or not.
Twenty restaurants flank the 5.5-acre park. Inside and out of the space, eye-catching art from world-leading creatives dons the area. The arts-y feel of Chase Center and the surrounding area perfectly captures the entire energy of the Bay Area.
Now the question is: how will California top what it’s already been done with the likes of Chase Center and SoFi Stadium? The bar has certainly been placed sky high.
Photo Credits: “So-Fi Stadium” is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 / “Golden 1 Center” is licensed under CC BY 2.0