Could poor air quality threaten Rams’ opener against Cowboys at SoFi Stadium?

The Rams are scheduled to host the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night in the first event to be held at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Heavy rains in 2016 delayed construction of SoFi Stadium, forcing the completion date to be moved to 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of summer concerts scheduled to serve as the first events at the open-air venue that is covered with a roof.

Could poor air quality from Southern California wildfires threaten the Rams’ opener Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys?

According to the NFL game operation manual, the league monitors the local air quality index, or AQI, which is measured on a scale of 0 to 500. Categories range from “good” (0-50) to “hazardous” (301 and above). Readings that consistently measure above 200 (“very unhealthy”) in the immediate vicinity of a stadium hosting a game could cause the game to be delayed or relocated under the NFL guidelines.


On Saturday morning, the AQI reading in Inglewood was 148.

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The NFL will “work closely with the home club and local authorities and will be prepared to relocate a game if there is definitive evidence that the AQI will remain consistently above 200 for a significant period of time, including the day of the game being played in the affected stadium,” the game operations manual says.

On Friday, Kevin Demoff, the Rams’ chief operating officer, said the team was in touch with the NFL and local officials.

“We’re monitoring the air quality,” he said, “But we expect as of now that the game will be played as scheduled.”

The San Francisco 49ers’ game against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara also could be affected by air-quality issues caused by wildfires.

Times staff writer Sam Farmer contributed to this report.