Los Angeles Rams COO Kevin Demoff is hopeful that the construction of SoFi Stadium, the Inglewood location of his team that’s been scheduled to be their shared home with the Chargers for the 2020 season, won’t be significantly delayed by the coronavirus pandemic that has shutdown most of the world. But he’s also realistic that under these less-than-ideal circumstances, that may soon become impossible.
In an interview with the LA Times this week, Demoff sounded like someone who had already accepted that the likelihood of the stadium being ready for the start of next season may depend more on when “next season” actually is.
“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.”
This may be the first time I’ve heard NFL personnel acknowledge that of course an NFL season may not happen in 2020. And even if the league does work out a way to start the season on time, they have contingency plans in place for the Rams, Chargers, and Las Vegas Raiders, who are also under a deadline to have their new Allegiant Stadium be ready for September.
Jeff Pash, general counsel for the NFL, told the Times that “each team has options” if the stadiums aren’t ready but he added that construction was proceeding in an “on-schedule way” and the the league remained optimistic. This despite the fact that there’s already been one COVID-19 case among the SoFi crew, and the Times mentions a second “presumptive” case.
Demoff also told the Times, “This is not the time you want to be finishing a stadium” and that they “would love an optimal environment to finish it,” perhaps further acknowledging — or preparing fans for — a delay.
The NFL’s 2020 preseason is currently set to begin on August 6, which is 18 weeks from now.