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SoFi Stadium may only be four years old, but it is already developing a reputation as one of the most iconic stadiums in the US. With the news that it will host eight matches at the 2026 World Cup, including the United States’ first game, here’s everything you need to know about the most expensive stadium in the world.
Who plays at SoFi Stadium?
SoFi Stadium is one of only two stadiums to be shared by two different NFL teams. While principally a project of the Los Angeles Rams (and Arsenal) owner Stan Kroenke, the stadium is also home to the Los Angeles Chargers.
Both teams have recently moved to Los Angeles having been located elsewhere. The Rams were based in St Louis, Missouri until 2016, whereas the Chargers relocated from San Diego in 2017.
The Rams have had moderate success in their history, winning the Super Bowl in 2000 and 2022. The Chargers, however, have only appeared in one Super Bowl, and they were beaten by the San Francisco 49ers in 1994.
What is SoFi Stadium like?
With construction costs coming in at $5.5 billion, SoFi Stadium is by far the most expensive stadium ever built. For context, the second most expensive, Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, cost $1.9 billion. Wembley Stadium, the most expensive stadium designed principally for (association) football cost $1.5 billion.
SoFi Stadium makes up part of Hollywood Park, an vast, 8.5 million square foot entertainment complex named after the horse racing track that used to be on the site. The site is also home to housing, office spaces, a 12-screen cinema, shops, a gym, a hotel, a brewery, restaurants, a music venue, a casino and even an artificial lake and waterfall.
As for the stadium itself, SoFi Stadium has a capacity of 70,240, but can be expanded to 100,000 for bigger events. It was announced in 2015 and completed in 2020 but its grand opening, a Taylor Swift concert on 25 July 2020, had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On 13 September 2020, the LA Rams played the first NFL game there, and on 12 September 2021, they played the first game in front of supporters.
A unique design includes a million-square-foot plastic canopy covering the playing surface. Embedded in the plastic are 27,000 LEDs which can display images for planes landing at LA International Airport.
A “Samsung Infinity Screen”, a double-sided 4K video board, is suspended from the roof. The first of its kind in the world, it holds 260 speakers and weighs a massive 1,000 tonnes.
Due to the fact that it is shared by two NFL teams, the decision was taken when it was built that a grass pitch would not be able to put up with double the playing time. Therefore, SoFi Stadium, like half of the country’s NFL stadiums, uses an artificial turf.
What soccer games have been held at SoFi Stadium?
Despite only opening less than four years ago, SoFi Stadium has already held a number of sold-out soccer matches. The first game played in the stadium was on 3 August 2022, a friendly in which LA Galaxy beat Guadalajara 2-0 in front of more than 70,000 people.
A year later, the 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup final took place at the stadium on 16 July 2023. Feyenoord striker Santiago Giménez scored the only goal of the game against Panama in the 88th to propel Mexico to a record ninth Gold Cup title.
Ten days later, the stadium hosted a pre-season friendly between Arsenal and Barcelona. Arsenal ran out 5-3 winners thanks to goals from Bukayo Saka, Kai Havertz, Leandro Trossard and Fábio Vieira. It is the most recent soccer game to be held at SoFi Stadium.
The stadium is set to hold two games at this year’s Copa América – Mexico vs Venezuela and Brazil vs Costa Rica or Honduras – as well as various soccer matches at the 2028 Olympics.
Of course, by far the most important games that SoFi Stadium will host are those in the upcoming 2026 World Cup. The stadium will provide the backdrop for five group stage games, two in the round of 32, and a quarter-final.
However, it has not been plain sailing for those with hopes that the stadium would host any of the World Cup matches. Its inclusion in the bid has been criticised by FIFA officials because of the pitch’s narrow width, not conducive with a full-size football pitch. Therefore, for the World Cup, rows of pitch-level seats will be removed, and a grass pitch will be installed.
This concession meant that FIFA have allowed it to remain part of the bid, and now the eyes of the world will be on SoFi Stadium when the World Cup rolls around in 2026.