SoFi Stadium, the new home of the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers, has staged a virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony as it prepares to host its first NFL game on Sunday.

The facility, which at a reported cost of $5bn (£3.87bn/€4.25bn) is said to be the most expensive sports venue in history, hosted the event yesterday (Tuesday) ahead of the Rams’ clash against the Dallas Cowboys.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony not only kicks off SoFi Stadium’s first year, but also intended to celebrate the work of the thousands of people that have been part of the development from the time it first broke ground in November 2016.

“We are in the team business, and you can’t get to a moment like today without a great team,” said Rams owner/chairman Stan Kroenke, the driving force behind the project. “I would like to thank the 17,000 people who have worked on this project over the past four years.

“During a period of unrest and change in many parts of the country, it’s been our deepest privilege to work on a project this special with such a diverse workforce. Thank you for making our vision a reality.”

SoFi Stadium is the first football stadium to be built within Los Angeles in nearly 100 years, with the Rams and Chargers having called Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and Dignity Health Sports Park their respective temporary homes since returning to the city in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

The new venue includes many firsts across industries, including in architecture, construction, engineering and technology. It is the largest stadium in the NFL at 3.1 million square feet, and the first open-air, indoor-outdoor venue to be built.

“When you see our SoFi Stadium home and the ongoing development surrounding it, you have to marvel at Stan Kroenke’s vision,” said Los Angeles Chargers owner and chairman Dean Spanos.

“This is an iconic project, anchored by an iconic stadium, that will not only redefine the City of Inglewood, it will redefine the landscape of greater Los Angeles for the next century and beyond. This has been a long time coming, and we cannot wait to usher in a new era of Chargers football on what will undoubtedly be the grandest stage in all of sports.”

SoFi Stadium can host approximately 70,000 fans, expandable up to 100,000 for special events. It has more than 260 suites, seven suite concepts, 12 club spaces, and more than 13,000 premium seats. An all-digital venue, SoFi Stadium has 90,000 square feet of digital LED in the seating bowl alone, 70,000 of which makes up the largest videoboard in sports. A completely unique design, SoFi Stadium’s videoboard is the first of its kind and the only 4k end-to-end videoboard in sports.

The Rams and Chargers last month confirmed they will begin life at SoFi Stadium without fans being present. After consulting with state and local health officials, the Rams, Chargers and stadium officials announced that home games “will be held without fans in attendance until further notice” due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This means the Rams’ home opener against the Cowboys and the Chargers’ first home match of 2020 against the Kansas City Chiefs will be played without fans in attendance.

In May, NFL owners voted unanimously to provide Kroenke with an additional $500m in financing to help complete SoFi Stadium. The venue’s budget is said to have risen from an initially projected $2.2bn to between $5bn and $6bn.

In addition to 20 NFL home games a year, SoFi Stadium will host a variety of events throughout the year and has already secured the LA Bowl, Taylor Swift’s Lover Fest West in 2021, WrestleMania in 2021, Kenny Chesney’s Chillaxification Tour in 2021, Mötley Crüe and Def Leppard’s The Stadium Tour in 2021, Super Bowl LVI in 2022, the College Football National Championship game in 2023, and the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2028 Olympic Games.

SoFi Stadium will be the centrepiece of Hollywood Park, a near 300-acre sports and entertainment destination being developed by Kroenke. It is the largest mixed-use development under construction in the Western United States. Entirely privately funded, Hollywood Park, when complete, will offer up to five million square feet of creative office space, a 500,000-square-foot retail district, up to 3,000 residences, and a hotel.

Images: SoFi Stadium