Kevin Demoff, Rams chief operating officer, said Thursday he’s optimistic SoFi Stadium will be finished on schedule for this NFL season, but left open the possibility that the COVID-19 pandemic could impede construction.
“This is not the time you want to be finishing a stadium, in this environment as you prepare,” Demoff said. “Because it’s when you need to be all hands on deck, walking through the building every day, meeting with your staff, working out the kinks and planning for it. So when you’ve been building something for a few years, you would love an optimal environment to finish it. “
The $5-billion stadium in Inglewood is scheduled to open July 25 with a Taylor Swift concert, followed by the Rams and Chargers moving into their new home venue. Concurrently, the Raiders are finishing their new stadium in Las Vegas.
But Demoff was not ready to absolutely commit to a date when SoFi Stadium will be ready.
“Our stadium, and I believe the Raiders’ stadium as well, will both be amazing when they are finished and when they will begin play, which will certainly happen in the near future, whether that’s in July, August, September, in 2021,” Demoff said. “I don’t think you can look at either of these stadiums as short-term projects to finish but rather long-term beacons for the franchises and for the NFL.”
One worker on the Inglewood project has tested positive for coronavirus, and a second was a presumptive positive.
Some workers have expressed concerns to The Times about the project continuing in the midst of the health crisis. A spokesman for the Turner-AECOM Hunt joint venture, which is overseeing construction, said they have taken a variety of steps to keep workers safe, including requiring social distancing, non-essential personnel working from home, and increasing the number of toilets and hand-washing stations.
Jeff Pash, general counsel for the NFL, echoed Demoff in saying the league is optimistic about the construction schedules but left wiggle room on both the Inglewood and Las Vegas venues.
“Each team has options in the event their stadium isn’t ready,” Pash said. “Right now, construction is proceeding in both locations in a satisfactory and on-schedule way. We’re optimistic these stadiums will be completed on time.”