SoFi Stadium welcomes fans for the first time

SoFi Stadium, home of the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams and Chargers, staged its first event with spectators on Sunday as around 20,000 people attended the ‘Vax Live’ concert.

Healthcare and essential workers made up the crowd at the 70,000-seat stadium, which opened last summer. All guests were required to show proof of their COVID-19 vaccination before entry and wear a mask while inside the venue.

The event was hosted by Selena Gomez and featured performances from Foo Fighters, Jennifer Lopez and other acts, as well as appearances from Prince Harry, David Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel. President Joe Biden also delivered a video message to the crowd, urging people to get vaccinated.

The concert, which was sponsored by Global Citizen, was designed to raise funds for COVID-19 vaccination efforts worldwide. The event will be streamed globally on May 8.

It marked the biggest music event in Southern California since the onset of the pandemic over a year ago, and the first time that SoFi Stadium had welcomed fans.

The Rams and the Chargers played the entirety of their debut seasons at SoFi Stadium without spectators due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions. There is growing optimism that the stadium will be able to operate at full capacity next season as the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out continues in the US.

In February, an agreement was reached with the Los Angeles Unified School District for the stadium to be used as a COVID-19 vaccination centre.

Meanwhile, a new record for pandemic attendance in the US was set at the weekend as 51,838 fans turned out for the Kentucky Derby horse-racing event. The previous record was set during last month’s spring college football game in Alabama.

The Kentucky Derby, held annually at Churchill Downs, normally attracts over 150,000 fans but capacity was limited due to the pandemic.

The record could be shattered later this month at the Indy 500 motorsport event. Last month, plans were announced to welcome around 135,000 fans to the May 30 event, which would mark a pandemic record attendance not only for the US but worldwide.

The current worldwide pandemic attendance record was set in March when more than 66,000 fans reportedly watched the Twenty20 cricket match between India and England at Narendra Modi Stadium.

Image: SoFi Stadium