The NFL’s newest arena officially began construction as the Los Angeles Rams broke ground on their $2.6-billion stadium project.
L.A. Rams owner Stan Kroenke and others shoveled dirt to signify the beginning of a privately financed stadium that is expected to cost more than any other, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The billionaire Rams owner and real estate developer will turn the 298-acres site into one of the premier sports and entertainment districts in the world.
It will feature a performance venue, hotel, offices, retail stores, and a lake with waterfalls. The land is three-and-a-half times the size of Disneyland, according to the Los Angeles Times.
At the center of the project, the NFL stadium will accommodate more than 70,000 people, with room for 25,000 extra people in standing-room areas behind the endzone. There will also be more than 16,000 premium seats and 275 luxury suites.
Kroenke said the goal was to build the most unique and fan-friendly stadium in the world, according to CBS Los Angeles.
Inglewood’s new NFL stadium will be covered by a transparent roof, but it will remain open on the sides. One architect called it the first indoor/outdoor venue in the world, per the L.A. Times.
The City of Inglewood approved grading and excavation permits for the project in recent weeks. According to the L.A. Times, the stadium will be set 80 to 90 feet into the ground and 175 feet above the ground.
Infrastructure work for the stadium has been underway for more than a year and a half. The excavation process is expected to take six to eight months.
Still, one of the biggest challenges facing the stadium includes the proximity to the airport.
Kevin Demoff, the Rams chief operating officer, said the team has worked with the Federal Aviation Administration on solutions that don’t impact the design of the building.
The FAA declined to comment with the Times on the status of negotiations with the Rams.
Nonetheless, the renderings of the stadium have not changed much.
The stadium could begin hosting some of the world’s largest events. It is scheduled to open for the 2019 NFL season and it will host the Super Bowl in 2021.
Demoff said it was important that the stadium becomes everything that Kroenke sold to NFL owners.
“For all of us who have been around the NFL in Los Angeles and understand what it means to the city, to the NFL, this is a monumental day,” Demoff said. “This is not just another groundbreaking. This is kicking off the next era of the NFL.”
Rams officials have already been in talks with the NCAA about hosting future Final Fours and College Football Playoff Championship games in the new NFL stadium. This stadium could also play a role in the L.A. 2024 Olympic bid, according to the L.A. Times.
The 100 invited guests in attendance for Thursday’s ceremony included NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, media, politicians, and Pro Football Hall of Famers. Defensive tackle Aaron Donald and punter Johnny Hekker were the current Rams in attendance.
Furthermore, more than 2 million cubic yards of earth have already been moved for the project. Upon completion, officials say 8 million cubic yards of dirt will have been moved, per the Daily Breeze.
According to CBS Los Angeles, the project will provide more than 3,500 on-site construction jobs and more than 10,000 jobs by completion.
The new stadium will be built on the former site of Inglewood’s Hollywood Park racetrack, which Kroenke bought in 2013. Kroenke initially scoped the site on an infamous sunrise drive through L.A. At the event, Kroenke said he could not believe the open land existed in the Los Angeles market.
Earlier this year, owners elected to end a 20-year hiatus of NFL football in Los Angeles. The Chargers or Raiders both have options to join the Rams in the completed Inglewood stadium.
Currently, the Rams are in the middle of their first season back in L.A. The Rams will continue playing in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum until the Inglewood stadium is completed.
This Sunday, the Miami Dolphins will come to L.A. for a game that kicks off at 1:05 p.m. PST. L.A. is expected to start quarterback Jared Goff, the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, for the first time. This is a historic week for Rams fans.
[Featured Image by Richard Vogel/AP Images]