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What Drought? Inglewood Stadium Completion Pushed Back To '20 Due To Record Rainfall

What Drought? Inglewood Stadium Completion Pushed Back To '20 Due To Record Rainfall

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The $2.6B stadium for the Rams and Chargers in Inglewood, originally scheduled to open in '19, will be "delayed almost a year" and is now scheduled to be ready for the start of the '20 NFL season, according to a front-page piece by Farmer & Fenno of the L.A. TIMES. Developers, who "broke ground on the project in November, blamed the postponement on record rainfall during the 'mass excavation phase' of construction." Hunt Construction Group Exec VP Bob Aylesworth, who is principal in charge for the Turner/AECOM Hunt joint venture that is building the stadium, said, "The continuing rains really knocked us for a loop." Farmer & Fenno report the weather "brought work on the project to a standstill for two months earlier this year." The rain fell at a "crucial stage of construction when work centered on digging the enormous hole ... in which the stadium will sit." Plans for the project "anticipated that about 30 days would be lost to rain during the three-year construction period." Instead, it "lost twice that in two months." Rams Exec VP/Football Operations & COO Kevin Demoff: "There’s [a] chance you could make up the time, but we felt it was better to make the decision now rather than approaching it in late 2018 or 2019, when we are well into the process of building the stadium." Farmer & Fenno note the Rams will stay in the L.A. Coliseum, which United Airlines on Thursday bought the naming rights to, for the '19 season. Their "original deal to lease the stadium from USC included an option" to extend their stay for a year The Chargers will play another year at StubHub Center. The delay will "afford extra time to avoid rushing work on the stadium’s interior finishes" (LATIMES.com, 5/18).

WHAT HAPPENS TO SUPER BOWL? The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Matthew Futterman notes aside from delaying the teams’ arrival in Inglewood, the setback "throws a wrench" into the NFL's plans to hold the Super Bowl LV at the stadium. An NFL spokesperson said that current rules "require a stadium to be open for two whole regular seasons before it plays host to a Super Bowl." For the '21 game to remain in Inglewood, NFL owners "will have to grant a waiver." It has "been done before" -- when the league allowed Super Bowl XLVIII to played at MetLife Stadium (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/19).

TAKE YOUR TIME: In L.A., Vincent Bonsignore writes the Rams and Chargers "could have forged ahead" trying to reach the '19 target date, and "maybe even met it." Instead, they "opted for prudence over pride." The delay not only "eliminates any risk resulting in ramping up the pace to meet the original deadline, it also creates built-in accommodations for any potential future delays." By deciding to "apply the brakes now, they’ve set a realistic finish line they should easily cross rather than sprinting to a target they might ultimately fall short of." Bonsignore notes there actually is "some potential upside" to the delay. The Chargers get one more year "acclimating and marketing" themselves in L.A. before "making the move to the much larger stadium in Inglewood." That means one more year to "entice local fans onto your bandwagon and season-ticket customer list for the new stadium" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 5/19).

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