When an NFL team opens a new stadium, they do so by making it into a massive event. The first game is full of big names, former players, and local celebrities. It's a big moment for the team and often plays a role in future bids to host the Super Bowl. However, the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers are mixing up the formula this summer.
When the new home of these LA-based franchises, SoFi Stadium, officially opens in 2020, it will not be an occasion marked by either Jared Goff or Philip Rivers taking the field. Instead, there will be a far bigger star present. According to Arash Markazi of the LA Times, this stadium in Inglewood will open on July 25-26 with two back-to-back concerts by superstar Taylor Swift.
This will be a historic unveiling of the NFL stadium considering that it is the most expensive ever built. Additionally, Swift is the first female artist to open an NFL stadium.
According to the LA Times, this event was actually teased by Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff. As he explained in July, the goal is to make this $5 billion stadium into more than just a home of NFL football.
“This is not only going to be a sports venue but a great entertainment venue,” Demoff said. “We’re thinking about a summer concert series, international soccer matches, and other events. Our hope is that fans of entertainment and sports will get to come and sample this building before we play a game.”
On paper, this decision completely makes sense. Both teams want to draw some attention in the City of Angels after fairly quiet relocations. The Rams have a fanbase due to playing in LA from 1946 until 1994, and it has grown over the past three seasons. However, they want to gain even more attention from the local residents that may not be heavily invested in the NFL, and bringing someone such as T-Swift to the stadium will aid in this pursuit.
The Chargers, on the other hand, have been in southern California since the team's inception in 1959 and even spent one season in LA prior to departing for San Diego. Since moving north once again in 2017, the Bolts have been struggling to gain ground with the fans. This team has been playing home games at ROKiT Field at Dignity Health Sports Park, which holds fewer than 30,000.
Moving into SoFi Stadium with the Rams will put the Chargers in front of far more eyeballs, but they will still need to continue producing. The fans of this franchise have a reputation for barely caring about their favorite team, which has led to jokes about the Chargers being unable to generate a home-field advantage.
Having Swift open the stadium with a performance to nearly 100,000 fans may not guarantee that the Chargers or the Rams will automatically gain a bigger following, but it certainly won't hurt their case.