After an unusually wet 2017 winter held up development on the NFL stadium scheduled to open in Inglewood in 2020, work is now well underway. Before too long, two football teams that until recently played in St. Louis and San Diego will play their home games in the same park.
The nature of “franchise-over-fans” is an unsavory quirk to sport in this country, and one that is hard to understand elsewhere. What do fans in St. Louis do when their team is torn away from them? Sports Illustrated spoke to a handful, and didn’t get glowing responses.
The San Diego Union Tribune tried something similar with fans of the Chargers.
It makes sense that people will feel so strongly; sports teams represent their fans’ city. To have that taken away is heartbreaking, and it points to putting profit over the public.
A similar thing happened in England once, when Wimbledon Football (soccer) Club was relocated to Milton Keynes (just north of London) because of a perceived better chance of bigger crowds, and renamed MK Dons. Fans back in Wimbledon responded by starting a new club, AFC Wimbledon, and achieving a series of promotions. Now, MK Dons and AFC Wimbledon play in the same division.
That’s not really possible in the States — the same promotion/relegation system isn’t in place. But it points to the fact that those soccer fans just wouldn’t accept their team being moved miles away from their community.
All of which is a long way to say that the two teams that will share the Inglewood stadium have come a long way, and hurt a lot of people. We benefit, because there will be an NFL game at this new arena every week of the season.
According to Curbed, the arena will have 70,000 seats. Six million cubic yards of dirt has been excavated so far, and 45,000 cubic yards of concrete poured. The structural retaining wall is 65 percent complete. 850 workers are on site on any day, and that number will quadruple by next year.
There will be a surrounding entertainment district and urban village, which is projected to cost $2.6 billion. All in all, it will be the costliest NFL stadium ever built.
We can only hope that the two teams bring in the fans to justify that investment.