It’s official. After much speculation and debate, the NFL announced the nearly unanimous vote approving the St. Louis Rams to make the move back to Los Angeles. Of course with a new team must come a brand new facility, and owner Steve Kroenke already has his eyes set on the crown jewel of this deal – a $1.8 billion stadium set to open in Inglewood, CA as soon as 2019. For now, the stadium has largely been an afterthought to the headlines that there will again be football in Los Angeles. But the opening of this stadium will create a state-of-the-art venue not just for football purposes, but for marketing and hospitality use in the Los Angeles area well beyond the NFL team it will house.
From a hospitality standpoint, global marketers should be chomping at the bit to have a glimpse at this facility in 2019. Yes, it will be a nice new home for the L.A. Rams, but this facility also opens the floodgates on endless opportunities for Los Angeles to host marquee sporting events. For starters, Los Angeles would now be eligible to host a Super Bowl as soon as 2021 – something they haven’t done since 1993.
As the 2nd largest media market in the U.S., Los Angeles will be better equipped than anyone to entertain for an event like that – especially in February. There’s no doubt Kroenke will be looking to utilize the stadium for elite-level sporting events to get global brands and marketers interested in one of the best facilities in the United States come 2019.
The venue is being constructed by HKS, the same company who designed AT&T Stadium, a good place to look to project what the first few years might look like for L.A.’s stadium.. Even in the short six years that AT&T Stadium has been open, their 80,000 seat venue has not only played host to the Dallas Cowboys, but to an NBA All-Star Game, numerous college football playoff and bowl games, the CONCACAF Gold Cup, a sold-out Paul McCartney concert, professional bull riding, a Michael Bay movie premier just last week, and the list goes on. We can only expect to see the same and more from the 70,000+ Los Angeles stadium, if not more. After all, there isn’t much else to do in Arlington.
HKS has already unveiled exciting renderings of the upcoming facilities, and Associate Principal & Senior VP Andy Henning spoke about plans for nearly a dozen different unique club spaces in the nine-level building offering a “Lux California Cabana” feel, many focusing heavily on digital technology – similar to that in luxury vehicles – to enhance the environment and hospitality experience for guests. Also hoping to add to the “WOW” factor of the experience will be main videoboard or “Occulus” as it has been named. The videoboard, twice the length of the videoboard in AT&T stadium – if you can believe it – will have fans feeling “like you’re sitting in the videoboard itself,” as Henning put it.
Aside from the cutting edge technology and excitement surrounding the opening of brand new stadium, it will be interesting to see how fans take to the new teams in town. Given all of the exciting options for entertainment (aside from football) and a lack of a die-hard fan base already installed, it isn’t two hard to imagine moneyed fans from throughout the country trekking out to sunny California in 2016 (or 2017, or 2018) for what might amount to an ad-hoc “neutral site” game.
Hopefully by 2019, the Rams will have attracted a few fans of their own to fill their new stadium with. The world will be waiting to fill it with their’s.