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  • Writer's pictureAaron S. Terry

SoFi Stadium – Los Angeles Chargers

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.43

SoFi Stadium 1001 Stadium Dr Inglewood, CA 90301

Year Opened: 2020 Capacity: 70,240


The NFL’s newest Jewel

SoFi Stadium, home of both the NFL’s Los Angeles Chargers and the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams, reportedly cost $5.5 billion to build, almost three times what the previous NFL record holder, Allegiant Stadium, cost.  The stadium has a unique design in being sort of an open-air stadium with a roof, and even has a water feature, but given how much it cost to build, unfortunately disappoints in some areas, namely in terms of its access and pricing.


Food & Beverage   4

SoFi Stadium has a host of concessions options, ranging from pizza and Italian sandwiches to burgers, hot dogs, chicken strips and sandwiches, burritos, nachos, and tacos, as well as snacks and desserts such as cheesecake, churro bites, Italian custard, cookies, and brownies. There are also several full bar areas and plenty of beer, wine, soda, and bottled water, but nothing in the way of a wow factor, such as a unique item you can’t find at any other stadium. The concession stands also look overly uniform – all share the same color scheme, font, and design – making it difficult to find what you are looking for without walking around and reaching each stands’ menu.  The different levels all appear to have the same options.

Concessions prices are on the high side, as you might expect from a pro stadium (think $9 for a hot dog with no sides or $6 for a bottle of water). The food is actually quite tasty, however – I recommend the cheeseburger, and the souvenir soda is a good deal at $8, coming in a cool reflective cup you can take home (but no free refills).

Note that there are also plenty of street vendors on the grounds around the facility, selling hot dogs, beer, and soda as you walk up to the entrance – I saw plenty of fans partaking of these even after the game was over.


Atmosphere   4

The stadium looks really cool from the outside, but despite how it looks, is actually open a little to the elements, meaning during night games it gets a little cool inside, and I was told it can get hot inside during day games. I also heard that if you sit up in the 400 or 500 level, be careful where you sit, as the sun can get in your eyes if you sit on the wrong side – not something I expected from what looks like an indoor stadium.

Unlike the atmosphere during Rams games, the Chargers offer their fans a slightly more silly atmosphere, as illustrated by such amenities as smiley face logos with lightning bolt eyes, and having a drumline instead of cheerleaders, providing a more fun, bring-the-kids kind of vibe than you’ll find during the other team’s games. The drumline plays outside from the parking lots before the game, and when you go inside you’ll experience the typical fans contests and giveaways. The Chargers also have sound effects in the form of a Thunder Siren (think hurricane warning or air raid) that goes off before the game and before the second half begins, as well as a cannon which fires before the game and after Chargers scores – but perhaps only after touchdowns, as I don’t recall hearing it after Bolts field goals.

The team takes the field amid a haze of smoke and with flags flying, and the huge circular videoboard around the ceiling gives every fan the ability to easily see replays, stats, and the action on the field – the videoboard is close to eye level for those in the 300s, but may prove a distraction for those in the 400s and 500s.


Neighborhood   3

SoFi Stadium is a few miles east of LAX airport, and thus in close proximity to myriad hotels at all different price levels, if you are planning to stay the weekend. However, being mostly surrounded by parking areas, there are not a lot of attractions or restaurants in the area, although there are a few mostly fast-food places a few blocks south of the venue; In-N-Out Burger and Pollo Loco (chicken) are popular chains in California.

Downtown Los Angeles and Hollywood are about 10 miles north-northeast of the stadium, where you can find most of the amenities the area is best-known for.


Fans   2

The Chargers don’t have as strong a fanbase as do the Los Angeles Rams, perhaps understandable given the latter had a team here decades before, while the Bolts are kind of the new kid in town. That said, you will see a lot of empty seats, and perhaps too many opposing fans during Chargers games. You will see some Bolts jerseys and other team gear being worn, but not as much as at other NFL stadiums for their teams.


Access   4

Getting around the inside of SoFi Stadium is problematic, but getting TO the venue is not that bad; the staff and local police do a great job directing traffic and blocking off roads to make getting in quick and easy, but more importantly, to sweep fans away from the stadium quickly after the contest is over. There is a little traffic in the area, but the location is far enough away from LA city center that there isn’t too much.

There are plenty of parking lots nearby; I recommend the Green A lot – it is pricey, but as close to the stadium as you can probably get, and is small enough you can get out after the game really fast. There are cheaper lots a little further away.

Getting around the stadium once inside is more of a challenge – SoFi Stadium has 9 different levels, but there aren’t enough ways to move between them. Most fans use the escalators, but there aren’t enough of these and they aren’t together – for example, to get from the “main” 300 level where you enter the stadium to the 100 level, you have to walk partway around the stadium, take one escalator down to the 200 level, and then walk partway around the stadium AGAIN to find another escalator to take you down to the 100 level. You can’t take the stairs, either, as they only have exits on the 300 level – if you walk down them to the 100 or 200 level the door will be locked. There are also not enough elevators, so the wait for them is very long.

The seats themselves are all chairbacks, but on some levels are too narrow for the average person – the ones on the 300 level seem a little larger than the ones on the 100 level.


Return on Investment   3

Attending a Chargers game can be pricey – even though many seats will be empty the game will still be sold out, so you’ll likely have to buy tickets on the secondary market anyway. Tickets will get cheaper the closer to the game it gets, as well parking passes, so you might score a deal if you are willing to risk waiting.

As mentioned the concessions are on the high side ($25 to $30 per person for a main dish, side, and drink), while parking starts at $60 in the lots furthest from the stadium.


Extras   4

The Chargers do offer some amenities for fans, for example some DJs out in the concourse, tons of logos for fans to take selfies with, the aforementioned drumline and sound effects, and plenty of team gear stands if you want to pick up some Bolts swag – there are so many places selling team gear stands on every level you shouldn’t have to wait in line.


Final Thoughts

The NFL’s newest stadium represents a pricey proposition, but certainly comes with a lot of bells and whistles for fans to enjoy. If you plan ahead in terms of seating, parking, and perhaps eat before the game, you can save yourself a little hassle, and perhaps a little green as well.

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