The opening of the new joint Rams and Chargers stadium in Inglewood, Calif., has been delayed until 2020.
Both clubs confirmed the one-year push back on Thursday, releasing statements that cited an unexpected amount of rainfall for a delay in construction. The new Los Angeles Stadium was set to open in time for the 2019 season, but will now open in the summer 2020, per both teams.
Developers broke ground on the site in November of 2016, per The Los Angeles Times.
“Unfortunately, Southern California experienced record-setting rain this winter,” a statement from the Rams read. “Despite bringing drought relief to the region, the rain fell during the mass excavation period of construction when no other work could proceed in wet conditions. As a result, we experienced significant delays and lost the better part of two months from early January into the beginning of March.”
Per the L.A. Times, water at times stood up to 12 to 15 feet deep from all the rain this past winter, causing the site to resemble a “lake” during the excavation period. The newspaper also noted that the nearby Los Angeles International Airport received 15.4 inches of rain from November to February, which is more than double the average amount of rainfall for the area.
The Chargers confirmed that they will now play at the 30,000-seat StubHub Center in Carson, California through 2019. According to the L.A. Times, the Rams plan on playing at the Coliseum in Los Angeles for two more years — a move that is allowed under the terms of their current lease from the University of Southern California.
In a statement, Chargers president of business operations A.G. Spanos cited the need to have a flawless opening.
“Our focus is always on the fan experience,” Spanos said. “Our future home will be the best stadium in the NFL and deliver a transformational experience for Chargers fans. If getting it right means pushing back the completion date, then I think the extra year is well worth it.
“Construction is our family business, so we understand the challenges that come with a project of this magnitude. At StubHub Center we are creating an unparalleled environment for watching NFL football, and considering that no other venue in the league brings you closer to the action, we think Chargers fans will enjoy our three years in Carson.”
Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn, who is already touting the snug StubHub Center as an advantage, said he is looking forward to playing in Carson.
In terms of the current state of the stadium’s construction site, the Rams noted that “the stadium bowl is 90 feet deep and fully excavated.” Construction crews have already “removed six million cubic yards of dirt,” per the Rams.
The L.A. Stadium is set to host Super Bowl LV in February 2021. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport noted that stadiums are required to be open for two seasons before they can host a Super Bowl, so the L.A. site would need a waiver from owners to host in 2021.
According to the L.A. Stadium’s official website, the 70,000 seat stadium will sit in a “district” with a 6,000-seat performing arts space, mammoth office spaces, 300 hotel rooms, “modern residences” and 25 acres of “public parks, open space, pedestrian walkways and bicycle paths.”
The ambitious, $2.6 billion project will be the second NFL stadium to host multiple NFL teams at the same time, after MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.