After 4 years, including a 1 years pandemic induced hiatus, I’m finally completing my goal of attending a game at every NFL venue. And I can’t imagine a better place to complete this goal than the magnificent new 5-billion-dollar SoFi stadium.
SoFi Stadium is in Inglewood, a Los Angeles suburb about 4 miles from LAX Airport (which accounts for the often ear-splitting sounds of jet engines flying overhead during the game).
The portion of Inglewood surrounding the stadium consists of budget hotels, fast food restaurants, and aging apartment buildings. The only attractions of note near the SoFi project are the Hollywood Park Casino and the LA Forum, the former home of the LA Lakers and the LA Kings.
SoFi is close to two major LA interstates. From I-405 (San Diego Freeway and I-105 (or as CA natives like to say – “The 405 and The 105”). Whichever route you take on game day is guaranteed to be [packed with crawling traffic (even more so than is typical). As a ‘reward’ for enduring the terrible traffic, you get to park your car in the stadium lot for $80.
An option is Uber but trying to get one after the game is chaotic and can take hours, unless you leave no later than the start of the 4th quarter.
There are plans however to build out a mass transit system from downtown LA to SoFi sometime before the start of the 2028 Olympic games.
After a 24-year absence, plus one season played at the Los Angeles Coliseum and another with no fans in the stands, NFL football has retuned to Los Angeles. The stadium is shared with the Los Angeles Chargers, making SoFi the second stadium in the NFL to host two teams. MetLife Stadium in New Jersey hosts both the Jets and the Giants.
The football stadium portion can hold 70,240 fans but can be expanded to hold 100,000 seats for major events. The fan plaza (American Airlines Plaza) serves as a pregame gathering spot for fans.
The beautiful SoCal aesthetics include palm trees, a massive lake and open air atriums allowing the outside breeze to flow through the stadium despite it having a fixed roof. The EFTE fiber roof that covers the field allows the games to go despite stormy weather as well as hot and humid conditions. The air conditioning of the stadium is purely natural, as SoFi Stadium has openings beneath its roof that allow breezes through the stadium to keep the fans cool throughout the game.
The gigantic video screen (known as the Oculus) that covers the entire field. It runs all one hundred yards down both sidelines and across both the end zones. Its projection is visible both on the inside and outside of the video screen, so nobody in the stadium will miss a minute of the action.
There are there are a dizzying array of suites in the new Inglewood venue. There are Terrace Suites, Patio Suites, Perch Suites, Executive Suites, Bungalows and Field Cabanas. There’s also an Executive Club that wraps around the entire inner bowl. But the suites are for the most part tucked under or lodged within the various terraces. This avoids bifurcating the building while still allowing the well-heeled to spend freely. Access to many areas of the stadium is cut off based on ticket you’re holding.
Food options are abundant but really pricy. A can of Modelo and a small bucket of popcorn cost me $28. Their signature Michelada (a LA staple) was $22.
Oddly, there seemed to be almost as many Dolphin fans in attendance as there were Charger fans. Despite this, Chargers QB Justin Herbert’s solid performance of 300+ passing yards coupled with a strong Chargers defensive performance led to a Charger victory bringing them closer to a wild card playoff birth.
I read the other day that there are currently plans to build a new (open air!) stadium in Buffalo that will be ready for the 2026 season, which will be my next stop.
Fans – B – Much more subdued than you’d find at Pittsburgh or Buffalo or some other blue collar city. Oddly, as many Dolphin fans there as there were Charger fans despite the Chargers having a good season. SoFi really seems to be more of a Rams venue than a Chargers one.
Features –A – Remarkable architectural features, amazing 360 degree scoreboard, enclosed but allowed sunlight and breeze in, palm tress.
Location – D – SO Difficult to get to and get out of. Nothing else in the area. This is supposed to change over the next few years
Food – B – Great selection. High Prices.
Game – B – Close contest. Nothing thrilling.
Overall Experience –B+