It’s rained a whole lot in Southern California of late, which is mostly good news for a state that had experienced a calamitous drought for around six years. I say “mostly” because all that rain is no good if you’re digging a big hole in which to build a new football stadium.
Sam Farmer and Nathan Fenno of the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday afternoon that the opening of the $2.6 billion stadium being built for the Rams and Chargers has been pushed back one year to 2020 because the record rainfall interfered with the “mass excavation phase” of the stadium’s construction, which began in November.
“The continuing rains really knocked us for a loop,” Bob Aylesworth, principal in charge for the Turner/AECOM Hunt joint venture that is building the stadium, told the Times reporters. “It was a very unforgiving two months for the project. And speaking from a building perspective, it really couldn’t have come at a worse time.”
According to Farmer and Fenno, 15.4 inches of rain fell at Los Angeles International Airport from November to February, more than double the average. All that rain slowed construction of the stadium for nearly two months earlier this year at a time when 5 million cubic yards of dirt was being removed from the Inglewood stadium site, which is only part of a massive entertainment complex being constructed by Rams owner Stan Kroenke. The water, which at times filled the hole to a depth of 12 to 15 feet, had to be drained after every storm.
The stadium plans predicted 30 days lost to rain over the entire three-year construction period. It doubled that in less than one year of construction, so the Rams will continue to play at the LA Coliseum in 2019 while the Chargers will put in an extra year at StubHub Center in Carson, a bit south of Los Angeles.
The Rams’ chief operating officer told the Times reporters that the team would rather make sure the stadium is built correctly than try to rush things.
“There’s chance you could make up the time, but we felt it was better to make the decision now rather than approaching it in late 2018 or 2019, when we are well into the process of building the stadium,” Kevin Demoff said. “This is a stadium that Angelenos, visitors and world-class athletes will celebrate for years to come, and we are committed to making sure this amazing venue is exceptional from the day it opens.”
It could be an expensive delay for the Rams, however, at least according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell.
Getting into new stadium in 2020 instead of 2019 will cost Rams at least $80 million
($40M+ in both sponsorships and ticket sales)
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) May 18, 2017
The NFL already had awarded the 2020-21 Super Bowl to the new stadium, and league rules state that the game cannot be played at a stadium during its first year of operation without a waiver from the NFL. ESPN’s Adam Schefter says the Rams will indeed go that route.
Rams will apply to NFL for a waiver on the rule that says a stadium cannot host a Super Bowl in its inaugural season; at NFL's discretion.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 18, 2017