As the Rams prepared to land at LAX after beating the Tennessee Titans in Nashville on Christmas Eve, Kevin Demoff looked out the right side of the plane above Inglewood.
It has become habit for the team’s chief operating officer — go out on the road, win a big game, fly home and take out his phone to snap a picture of the 298-acre site that will be home for the Rams and Chargers in 2020.
Only this time no one was there, with workers off for the holiday.
“The site was dark for the first time so you couldn’t actually take a picture from the plane,” Demoff said, recalling the day’s only “disappointment.”
The $2.6-billion Inglewood stadium project was fully back in operation and on display Wednesday, and the media were given a chance to witness the progress.
Ground broke on construction 14 months ago, and the skeleton of the facility is starting to come together.
You can make out where the end zones will be, where some of the seats will installed and where team buses will enter and exit the stadium, which is carved 100 feet into the earth. A row of portable toilets serve as a good landmark for where midfield will be.
No longer a pile of dirt or a giant hole, it’s beginning to look like a stadium.
“It’s for real,” Chargers owner Dean Spanos said. “Just to look at it, you see the size and enormity of this project. You can’t describe it unless you’re here to see it for it yourself. … Knowing that in 2020 we’re going to be playing here, it’s pretty exciting.”
The opening of the stadium had to be pushed back a year because of heavy rain at the worst possible time for the project — the excavation. Without drainage in place, each rain essentially would create a small lake in the massive hole.
However, according to project spokesmen, the new timeline won’t be affected by rain, thanks to a drainage system that has been installed.
Crews removed more than 6 million cubic yards of dirt to build the stadium. To date, more than 2 million hours of labor have been completed by construction workers.
“I’m always amazed when we come on sight — just the scope of what we’re doing,” Demoff said. “And, that’s always been the vision of this project from beginning. … It had to be something that took people’s breath away when they come on site.”
Once completed, the stadium is scheduled to host the Super Bowl in 2022, the college football championship game in 2023 and the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2028 Olympics.
Those events might seem distant, but Demoff said they are closer than people realize. Time can move fast — just ask the Rams.
“The last time we had the media here it was for the groundbreaking, and it was the week before Jared Goff was starting his first game,” Demoff said. “Here we sit, 14 months later, media’s back, this unbelievable structure is coming out of the ground and we’re preparing to host our first playoff game. … It seems like a long ways away, but 14 months ago at the groundbreaking, this seemed like a long time ago and here we sit today.”