Tourist Spot

Will the “horrible” traffic situation at SoFi Stadium ruin the LA Super Bowl?

The National Football League Super Bowl will be played on February 13, 2022 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. The stadium is new, the weather is expected to be great, and the stadium’s open design may alleviate some COVID fears.

While many football and music fans already travel great distances to SoFi, the big game could kick off LA’s comeback as a major travel destination. Despite concerns about COVID spreading to NFL teams as well as fans, the Super Bowl could bring 150,000 outside residents and $ 477 million to Los Angeles. Preserving the health of residents and visitors during COVID is clearly an issue, as is the preparedness of local hotels and other tourist infrastructure, battered by the pandemic. Then there are the notorious parking and traffic problems at the SoFi stadium.

Super Bowl Sunday is a holiday for the big guys, attracting flocks of private jets and their owners. The 2020 battle between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers in Miami, just before the COVID-19 hit, drew 1,946 private jet flights.

This year’s Super Bowl at SoFi can capture an equally high-end crowd. This week’s cheapest Super Bowl tickets on SeatGeek were Upper Level Endzone seats at $ 6,957 each, including $ 1,672 in fees. That’s before food, drink, transportation, or accompanying events like the Maxim Super Bowl night, with tickets at $ 2,382 each.

Los Angeles restaurants, shops and luxury hotels, like the Fairmont Century Plaza, are hoping for a bargain, if Omicron allows it. SoFi has a capacity of 70,000 which can increase to 100,240 for special events like the Super Bowl or the 2028 Olympics.

Since the local COVID regulator allowed SoFi to open at full capacity in the summer of 2021, it has been a commercial success, hosting four sold-out nights from K-pop boy group BTS, The Rolling Stones and NFL games. of the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers.

Yet for participants and residents alike, the enormous stadium created a multitude of traffic and parking problems. As Adán Gonzalez, 22, from Inglewood, said: “The traffic situation as a whole cannot be stressed enough, it is horrible.”

The size of the crowd, the efforts to protect the surrounding neighborhood with parking permits (which do not prevent cars from obstructing the streets), and the “limited traditional parking on-site at SoFi make improving the logistics of local people. imperative transport.

The SoFi stadium was completed in 2020, paid for privately by Rams owners Stan Kroenke. Originally valued at $ 2 billion, it cost $ 5 billion, making it the most expensive stadium ever built in the United States.

According to “SoFi Stadium By the Numbers,” SoFi measures 3.1 million square feet, on 298 acres of land (three times the size of Disneyland) and is located 100 feet below ground to accommodate the trajectory of flight from Los Angeles International nearby. Airport.

A figure not mentioned: the number of parking spaces. A short answer seems to be “not enough”. Although many websites say there are 17 car parks many at SoFi, the actual number of on-site parking lots tasks appears to be classified, despite repeated requests to SoFi for a number. The price for on-site parking starts at $ 60 and increases depending on the location and size of your vehicle, say if you want a tailgate.

Parking issues were originally reported in August, when the first events occurred after COVID capacity and social distancing rules were lifted. Massive match-day traffic jams and blockages in residential neighborhoods seemed like an Achilles heel of the magnificent new stadium.

Nonetheless, I wanted to take my family to events at SoFi this fall. Despite COVID (proof of vaccination or negative test required), we saw three: the Rams-Buccaneers game in September, a Rolling Stones concert in October, and a pivotal Chargers-Chiefs game in December.

Unfortunately, from our experiences, it appears that the traffic situation has actually worsened. We tried three different approaches to get to the stadium. Each was extremely annoying and the last one completely ruined the NFL father-son experience.

For the Rams game, I drove from the San Fernando Valley to meet my oldest son in Venice, California. We took an Uber from Venice to Inglewood, a $ 71 ride over 10 miles. Due to traffic jam the driver let us out onto a crowded residential street. We did the last mile to the stadium. After the game we tried to get an Uber but couldn’t as the drivers were avoiding the area. Instead, we took two buses, which took an hour and a half to get out of the stadium traffic jam and bring us back to Venice.

Six of us went to see the Rolling Stones. We had a spot on site at $ 60 in the Brown lot and another about a mile and a half away. It was extremely stressful going through the heavy and poorly managed traffic on site, but we successfully parked within walking distance of the stadium. However, after the show ended, we waited over an hour to get out of the parking lot. My son and his girlfriend walked to their $ 60 seat a mile away and waited even longer.

Things haven’t improved three months later. In fact, our December experience was by far the worst. My youngest son and I parked in a parking lot near LAX and took the SoFi shuttle, trying to avoid the above issues. It took over half an hour to get from the “nearby” parking lot to the stadium in the rain, so we missed the first quarter.

The 5:20 p.m. game dragged into overtime and the Chargers suffered a traumatic loss. Upon exiting, none of the SoFi employees could tell us where the buses were.

We ended up waiting in a confused group of hundreds of angry and unmasked people in the rain, with no social distancing. The transport manager said something about not being able to get buses due to overtime. Still, the game ended before 8:50 p.m. and we didn’t get on a bus to the remote field until after 10:30 p.m. My son has yet to receive his $ 52 parking refund promise.

Certainly, other stadiums have been built with limited parking. In New York City, fans take the subway to Yankee Stadium or Madison Square Garden. LA Laker and Clipper fans can take the subway a few blocks from Staples Center (now But there is no direct rail link with SoFi at Inglewood.

Another new site, the 65,000-seat Las Vegas Raiders Allegiant Stadium, has only 2,200 on-site parking spaces. Allegiant had significant traffic, accessibility and parking issues when it opened at full capacity in August, made worse by the over 100-degree heat in Nevada. Still, Allegiant, slated to host the Super Bowl in 2024, is only about a mile walk from the Strip, is accessible by the popular Deuce bus, has plenty of rideshare and taxi outlets, and has 35,000 seats. parking within a mile radius.

As for SoFi, if it doesn’t fix its traffic issues by the Super Bowl, hopefully the issues will be resolved by the 2028 Olympics.