Here Comes Super Bowl Sunday! 

As football fans get set to watch the Los Angeles Rams take on the Cincinnati Bengals at SoFi Stadium, here are seven surprising things about the site of Super Bowl LVI.

By Leah Ray

As the National Football League’s newest and largest venue, much has been said and written about HKS-designed SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA. The picturesque home of the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers is an entertainment and destination spot that will ultimately attract millions. But there are several captivating aspects of the amazing stadium that many fans — including those who attend Super Bowl LVI this weekend — might never know about. Here are just a few:

Super Bowl LVI

1. The stadium’s roof doesn’t touch its walls.

It’s completely free-standing, hovering above, around and over the massive venue. It’s held up by 37 massive earthquake-resistant columns. The roof is open on three sides, which allows for a fantastic ocean breeze to flow through the seating bowl.

Super Bowl LVI

2. The videoboard’s weight holds the roof down in high winds.

Fans love the NFL’s only 4k, 70,000-square-foot, double-sided videoboard, called The Infinity Screen by Samsung. Suspended 120’ above the playing field, it weighs 2.2 million pounds. It’s heavy, and that’s important because SoFi Stadium’s enormous roof can act as a wind sail in a major storm. That’s when the videoboard’s weight comes into play, anchoring the roof.

Super Bowl LVI

3. A giant, “seismic moat” up to 12’ wide and 100’ deep encircles the stadium to keep it safe during earthquakes.

If there’s a temblor, the roof and stadium move completely independently from one another, separated by the massive moat. If you’re in the canyons and notice a giant paneled door on the north or south side? You’re likely looking at the details around that joint.

4. Who sees the games that are projected onto the top of the stadium’s roof?

The 80 million annual passengers who travel through LAX, which is 3.8 miles away. SoFi Stadium is directly in the LAX flight path.

Which is why…

5. The field is 100’ below ground.

To keep the structure’s overall height below FAA flight-restricted areas, crews had to dig deep to accommodate the massive, vertical seating bowl for the 70,240 fans who attend events at SoFi Stadium.

Super Bowl LVI
(All photos courtesy of HKS)

6. Standing on the field, the quarterback can look to his side, through the seating bowl, and see palm trees.

How’s that possible if he’s standing 100’ below ground? There are two landscaped canyons carved down into the east and west sides of the stadium, which bring natural light (and native plants) down to the lowest public levels of the stadium.

7. It’s not just a stadium.

In fact, the 6,000-seat YouTube Theater and 2.5-acre American Airlines Plaza are also under that one massive, swooping roof, which also protects the NFL’s largest stadium.

SoFi Stadium
(Photo: HKS)

Project Notes

  • Name: SoFi Stadium
  • Location: Inglewood, CA
  • Opened: 2020
  • Home Teams: Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Chargers
  • Cost: $5.5B, according to Construction Disputes
  • Accolades: SoFi Stadium won the 2021 Prix Versailles World Prize for Architecture and Design in the Sports category. The Prix Versailles, in conjunction with UNESCO, honors outstanding architecture around the world that promotes the intersection of culture, economy and social recognition through beautiful and sustainable design.

Leah Ray HKS

Leah Ray is Director of Content at HKS. She leads a team of writers, photographers, digital designers and strategists who create the firm’s website and social media channels. Together, they collaborate with firm-wide leaders to create stories that explain how designing with purpose creates a better world.