If at first you don’t succeed ... pray it was at a time before Twitter existed.
Saturday’s contest between the LA Chargers and LA Rams was not only the first ever preseason game at SoFi Stadium and the only time fans have been able to attend, but also served as the grand opening of dozens of restaurants that had never really served food prior to last weekend. Were everyone in attendance food critics, or at least business entrepreneurs, perhaps there would be room for forgiveness should SoFi Stadium’s fare prove inadequate to the customers.
If that was even the case on Saturday night.
But not everyone is a business owner with a sense of understanding that this is beta phase. Instead, Twitter became a haven for piling onto failed expectations on Monday after reports that the food at SoFi is overpriced and underwhelming. Arash Markazi, briefly a sports columnist at The LA Times, tweeted out pictures of four food items that could be purchased at SoFi Stadium on Saturday night, prompting a firestorm of Fyre Festival comparisons because of the unappetizing nature of the photos.
There was a lot made of the $15 pepperoni pizza at SoFi Stadium but it was a bigger issue than that. The prices and appearance of many of the food options at the stadium left many fans upset. Here's a look at the Hot Dog, Marinara Pizza, Cheeseburger Sub and Veggie Burger Sub. pic.twitter.com/xUNiN085AJ— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) August 16, 2021
Strangely, the pictures appear to be taken in an empty stadium and at what could be considered to be well before or well after any fans had attended a game on Saturday night. It is not clear if Markazi took these photos himself, if it was pregame, or if it was during SoFi Stadium’s food tour back in June. Though Markazi tweeted that there was a $15 pepperoni pizza, he did not include the prices for any of the four food items that he tweeted out (none of which being a pepperoni pizza) only to say that “the prices and appearance of many of the food options left many fans upset.”
Markazi began working as a sports columnist at The LA Times in 2019, before resigning in 2020 following reports of plagiarism and using social media “to work as a de facto PR representative” for companies and restaurants such as the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas. It would at least appear in this case that Markazi is not serving any sort of PR role with SoFi Stadium, or with Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, the James Beard award-winning chefs who created the LA neighborhood inspired food program at SoFi.
Of course, it would be unreasonable to expect a hamburger or a hot dog — or a hamburger shaped like a hot dog — at a sporting event, something expected to be served to thousands of people who want it fast so they can get back to their seats, to be of the same quality as a hot dog, hamburger, or hamburger-hot dog at a restaurant. That’s not what anybody should believe they are getting when they go to a concession stand at any stadium in the world. Including a $5 billion stadium.
If LA locals like Burgers Never Say Die or Cassell’s ended up getting a contract to serve food at SoFi Stadium, so too would their $10 burger price tag seem “unfair” in a vacuum.
And yet, whether or not SoFi Stadium provides an average, above-average, or below-average standard of concession food and prices remains to be seen and certainly won’t be answered with a single tweet that doesn’t appear to even contain pictures of food that was purchased during the game — or prices of what those food items cost. The tweet essentially says, “Tesla makes an expensive car, here are four photos of used Hondas.”
If you want to find out how the food at SoFi Stadium actually is, it is probably best to try it out in person. Five years after the Rams moved from St. Louis to Los Angeles, every other report about the debut game at SoFi Stadium tells me that the new digs have been well worth the wait.
But hey, wouldn’t it be nice to get retweeted?