Historically heavy rainfall in Los Angeles has delayed the highly anticipated, $2.6 billion stadium in Inglewood, California, by a year.
The new facility, to be shared by the Rams and Chargers, will now open in 2020 instead of 2019, the teams said Thursday. In the meantime, the Rams will play at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for an additional year and the Chargers will have one more season at StubHub Center in Carson, California.
In a conference call with reporters, Rams COO Kevin Demoff expressed disappointment in the delay but stressed: "This is important to get right."
"Stan's vision is unique," Demoff said, referring to Rams owner Stan Kroenke, who visualized and funded the project. "I think it's an unbelievable responsibility for all of us who work on this project to make sure we deliver that for him, for the fans, for Angelenos, for the NFL and for the world when you talk about an event like the 2024 Olympics. It's much more important to get it right than to make sure you hit a certain date."
Dale Koger, senior vice president and managing director for Legends Project Development, said the initial timeline for the new stadium was "very aggressive" and called the new target date "more conventional," leaving more wiggle room for potential delays.
Opening in the summer also allows for non-football events to take place before the start of the season, said Koger, who acts as the construction project manager for the site.
The new stadium was previously approved to host Super Bowl LV in February 2021, but it remains to be seen whether that will continue to be the case. NFL rules stipulate that a team cannot host a Super Bowl at the end of a stadium's inaugural season, but the league confirmed that a waiver can be obtained in order to bypass that.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said, "It's something the ownership would need to consider." Commissioner Roger Goodell previously waived the NFL's rule on minimum temperatures at the Super Bowl so that MetLife Stadium in New Jersey could host Super Bowl XLVIII.
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