Los Angeles will welcome the return of NFL football with the construction of a new 80,000-seat stadium complex and "NFL Disney World," expected to become the world's most expensive sports arena.
The 300-acre development in Inglewood, a few miles from downtown Los Angeles, will provide a new home for the NFL's Rams franchise, whose return to their former home city was approved by league officials last Tuesday
. The development has an estimated cost of $2.6 billion -- more than $1 billion more than New Jersey's MetLife Stadium, currently the league's most costly venue.
The capacity of the new stadium could exceed 100,000 for special events, say developers. Inglewood Mayor James Butts has already announced ambitions to host the Super Bowl at the arena, which developers say will be the "cornerstone" of a year-round sports, music, and entertainment events district.
An unnamed "owner" is reported in the Los Angeles Times comparing their ambitions for the development to Florida's Disney World theme park. The development's footprint is about twice the size of the original Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, and will also host a 6,000-seat performance venue, more than 1.5 million square feet of retail and office space, 2,500 homes, a 300-room hotel, and 25 acres of parks.
The Rams, who played in the Los Angeles area for almost 50 years, will give the city its first NFL team since 1995 -- the year the Rams left for St. Louis, and the Raiders departed for Oakland.
Rams owner and property developer Stan Kroenke, who has an estimated personal net worth of $7.4 billion, is credited with spearheading the return of NFL football to the country's second largest city.
The new stadium is expected to be complete in time for the 2019 NFL season, with the team playing at their former home at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, until then. The team's owners have begun courting the San Deigo Chargers and Oakland Raiders to join them at the new venue, on the site of the former Hollywood Park horse racing track.
The 3.1 million-square-foot multipurpose venue will be the league's largest (in square feet.)
International architecture giant HKS have been contracted to design the venue and have announced that it will center on a 19-acre transparent canopy, which will cover the entire stadium and parts of the surrounding development.
The canopy will be made from the same transparent ETFE plastic that coats Bayern Munich's stadium, the Allianz Arena, and the Beijing National Aquatics Center.
Inside the planned arena Credit: HKS Architects
Munich's stadium changes color, from red to white to blue, according to which team
-- Bayern, second division side TSV 1860 München, or the German national side -- is playing at the stadium that day. The architects have not yet said if similar color indication would occur if two or more teams host matches at the new stadium in Inglewood.
The Rams are urging the Chargers, currently based 200 km south of L.A. in San Diego, to join them at the stadium, and fund a portion of the massive costs, with the Oakland Raiders considered a fallback option.
Kroenke has publicly estimated the cost at $1.86 billion, but the Los Angeles Times quotes unnamed "(NFL) officials and owners" who say the true cost could reach $2.66 billion
. The New York Times and others have put the value at nearly $3 billion
The NFL already claims the world's most expensive stadium. That title belongs to the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, home to New York teams the Giants and Jets, which opened in 2010 at a cost of $1.6 billion. The Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers are also among a minute group of teams worldwide to play in stadiums costing more than $1 billion.
Outside the U.S., stadiums with budgets exceeding $1 billion dollars are rare. London's home of soccer, Wembley Stadium, crossed the mark in 2007. Tokyo abandoned plans for a $2 billion Zaha Hadid-designed stadium last July
amid rising costs, with a cheaper design now underway.