NFL’s Two Newest Stadiums In LV and LA Are An Odd Couple

By Alan Snel of

SoFi Stadium

You could not conceive two more architecturally diverse football stadiums than the two new NFL venues coming on line in Las Vegas and Los Angeles for the 2020 season — assuming there is a NFL season this year in the age of a novel cornonavirus pandemic that has claimed the lives of nearly 142,000 Americans.

The Las Vegas Raiders’ Allegiant Stadium and the Los Angeles Rams’ and Chargers’ SoFi Stadium are the results of two diverse designs. Manica Architecture was the lead design architect and HNTB Architects was the architect of record of the Raiders’ stadium. In Los Angeles,  HKS Architects designed the Rams/Chargers stadium.

In Las Vegas, the builder was Mortenson/McCarthy. In Los Angeles, the construction team of Turner/AECOM built the 70,000-seat SoFi Stadium.

The only commonality is that the first NFL game in both palatial football stadiums will likely have no fans when the NFL games begin.

Raiders owner Mark Davis has said it’s likely no fans will be inside the domed 65,000-seat stadium on the west side of Interstate 15, across from Mandalay Bay hotel-casino.

And Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said he might have to issue a second stay-at-home order in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Let’s take a look. First, Raiders stadium.

Davis wanted a sleek, sports-car look to the stadium with a black exterior that’s consistent with the Raiders’ look. Check the stadium in a flyover.

People have described it as a Darth Vader-looking stadium, or looking like a gigantic hockey puck from above. People have mentioned the stadium also resembling a Roomba robot vacuum.

Look at the Raiders stadium site — it’s only 62.5 acres with limited parking. It didn’t matter. Clark County commissioners OKed the parking. These photos were taken by Las Vegas photographer Tom Donoghue.

Now let’s take a look at the stadium in LA. The 70,000-seat venue can expand to 100,000. It will host Super Bowl LV in 2021. The Raiders stadium will also likely host a Super Bowl — as early as 2025.

A story in the The Journal of the American Institute of Architects said of the Rams/Chargers stadium exterior,  “A perforated, permeable metal ‘skin’ wraps the venue to create an open-air canopy. This curving roof covers much more than the stadium itself, including outdoor ‘rooms’ and plaza spaces that blur the distinction between indoor and outdoor environments.” These aerial photos were taken by Lindsey Thiry of ESPN and posted on Twitter.

While the Raiders stadium site is 62.5 acres, the Rams/Chargers stadium site is 298 acres at the former Hollywood Park horse track in Inglewood east of Los Angeles International Airport. Rams owner Stan Kroenke is the stadium owner.

Let’s take a look at the interiors.

Raiders stadium.

The Rams/Chargers stadium here.

SoFi, a finance company, cut a 20-year deal valued at more than $30 million a year under the stadium’s naming rights deal.

Allegiant Air, based in Summerlin 12 miles west of the Raiders stadium, did not pay even $20 million a year for the 30-year deal announced in August 2019.

Another giant difference is the Raiders stadium project budget was $1.976 billion, including $1.4 billion for the construction of the domed building. The South Nevada public is contributing $750 million to the Raiders stadium construction. Check out the Raiders’ 31-month building program.

SoFi Stadium’s estimated cost is $5 billion more than two and a half times the cost of the Raiders stadium project.

Here’s some initial reaction from fans on Twitter:

When will fans attend games in these two new NFL stadiums?

Nobody knows right now.

The Sports Business Journal today reported this about the Rams: “The Rams told season-ticket holders in an email today, ‘We anticipate that the NFL will cancel preseason games.’  In the email, the Rams became the fifth team to completely cancel season-tickets this year, instead telling stadium seat license holders they will get first dibs if any ticket sales are allowed. Because of the preseason cancellations, the Rams’ first game at the new SoFi Stadium is now the week one Sunday Night Football matchup with the Cowboys. ‘In hopes of having fans at the opener, we ask that you please join us in wearing a mask to help stop the spread of COVID-19,’ ” the Rams said.

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