LOS ANGELES – The opening of the $2.6 billion football stadium under construction in Inglewood, California, has been pushed back one year to 2020 because of construction delays caused by Los Angeles' uncommonly wet winter.
Los Angeles Rams spokesman Artis Twyman confirmed the delay Thursday for the 70,000-seat stadium, which will be shared by the NFL's Rams and Los Angeles Chargers. The massive project also includes a 300-acre entertainment district.
The stadium was scheduled to open shortly before the 2019 NFL season but is now slated to open in the summer of 2020, the developers said in a statement.
Super Bowl LV already has been awarded to the stadium for Feb. 7, 2021, although the NFL now would have to waive a rule that prohibits a Super Bowl being played at a stadium before it has hosted two full regular seasons. The NFL hasn't yet decided how it will react to the just-announced delay.
The delay shouldn't disrupt the Los Angeles teams' current playing arrangements: The Rams plan to stay downtown in the Coliseum for the 2019 season, while the Chargers confirmed they will stay at the 30,000-seat StubHub Center in suburban Carson. The Rams moved to the Coliseum in 2016, while the Chargers are moving north from San Diego for the upcoming season.
According to the Rams, who are financing the new stadium, developers blame the delays on record rains in the Los Angeles area over the past several months. After ground was broken in November, the rainfall hindered the extensive excavation necessary to complete the project, forcing the crews to halt work for most of January and February.
"If getting it right means pushing back the completion date, then I think the extra year is well worth it," said A.G. Spanos, the Chargers' president of business operations. "Construction is our family business, so we understand the challenges that come with a project of this magnitude."
Six million cubic yards of dirt have been removed from the site, and the bowl is currently 90 feet deep, according to the developers. The foundation of the stadium is already under construction.
The delay isn't a major surprise to either team, since developers have long said they were attempting to complete the project on a slightly accelerated schedule to be ready for the 2019 season. The delay will allow construction to proceed at a more conventional pace, according to a statement issued by the Chargers.
The stadium complex will be opened with a series of entertainment and sporting events before its first NFL games in 2020. The complex also includes plans for a hotel, retail space, office space and a 6,000-seat entertainment venue.
The ambitious stadium project backed by billionaire Rams owner Stan Kroenke was a prime factor in the league's decision to allow the Rams to come home from St. Louis last year, returning the NFL to Los Angeles after a 21-year absence from the nation's second-largest market. The Chargers exercised their opportunity to join the Rams in Los Angeles four months ago.