6 cool features of the latest NFL stadium

(CNN)- From Joe Borough and Matthew Stafford to Eminem and Mary J. Blige, Super Bowl Sunday in Los Angeles will feature a host of famous faces.

But the stadium itself is perhaps the biggest star of the event.

The NFL’s newest gleaming sanctuary, SoFi Stadium brings the Super Bowl team back to Greater Los Angeles for the first time in nearly 30 years. And like the Super Bowl itself, it’s full of superlatives.

At 3.1 million square feet, it is the largest “indoor and outdoor” stadium and the first in the NFL. It has a neighboring six-acre lake, a huge video screen that looms over the field like a giant halo, and an eye-catching curved canopy that displays messages and videos from planes above.

“There’s always a tremendous sense of excitement and wonder” when visitors see the stadium for the first time, says Jason Gannon, managing director of SoFi Stadium. “The building itself, the structure of the building, is architecturally impressive. The curvature of the roof, its size, is incredibly unique and interesting. People will find it a great experience.”

The San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams will play the NFC Championship game at SoFi Stadium on January 30.

Ronald Martínez / Getty Images

The stadium in Inglewood is built on the site of the old Hollywood Park racetrack, and the $5 billion stadium opened in 2020 as the home of the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers. It can hold up to 100,000 people. The Rams play in the Super Bowl, on their home court, against the Cincinnati Bengals.

SoFi has quickly become a preferred offering for large-scale events.

Justin Bieber, BTS and the Rolling Stones performed there. It is also scheduled to host next year’s College Soccer National Championship and the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2028 Summer Olympics.

If you’re planning a trip to Los Angeles, it might be worth a visit. Here are six unique features of the stadium.

1. Three quarters are underground

Morey Gash / AFP

The stadium is located just three miles east of Los Angeles International Airport, and in the flight path of Los Angeles International Airport. FAA restrictions prohibited architects from building the tallest structure.

Thus, the football field itself is located 100 feet below ground level, twice as deep as any other NFL stadium. To accomplish this, more than 7 million cubic yards of dirt were excavated from the stadium’s bowl.

In most stadiums, fans reach ground level and then climb to their seats. In SoFi, they mostly go down. Designers studied the architecture of the cliff and built stepped walkways, surrounded by gardens, leading fans onto the field.

“We wanted the experience of being in the field to be something really unique,” he says. Lance Evans, principal architect of the stadium. “So we used the landscaping and the terraces to welcome the fans as they came down the building.”

2. The roof is equipped with a LED screen that can broadcast live TV to passing aircraft

Kirby Lee / USA Sports Today

The expansive roof is made of hundreds of semi-transparent panels that diffuse sunlight during the day to reduce glare and help cool the building.

At night, the canopy transforms into a giant illuminated screen thanks to a grid of LED lights that can display photos and videos.

The ceiling can even broadcast live TV. In November 2020, the Rams showed their Monday night football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers under a stadium canopy, providing an air show for passengers on their final approach to the nearby Los Angeles airport.

3. It is open on both sides to take advantage of the Southern California breeze

The futuristic interior and exterior courtyard is the work of the HKS architecture studio.

The futuristic interior and exterior courtyard is the work of the HKS architecture studio.

Kevin Reese/IKON Sportswire/Getty Images

Although the canopy covers the entire football field and stands, the stadium is open to the elements on its sides. Behind my final area. The roof also has 46 panels that can be opened to improve airflow.

The streamlined design takes advantage of SoCal’s mild climate and earns the facility its “inside out” label.

“We sculpted this building to allow sea breezes to pass through and improve airflow,” says architect Evans. “But also to give visitors a connection to the beautiful surroundings here in Southern California. So if you look at Malibu from this side, you can see the Hollywood Hills on the east side, Palos Verdes to the south.”

4. The hanging video screen is bigger than the football field.

Ronald Martínez / Getty Images

Hanging over the field like a spaceship is a huge ring-shaped video screen.

Its official name is Samsung’s Infinity Screen, and it’s the biggest screen of its kind in the sport: 70,000 square feet of digital LED, with around 80 million pixels. It is taller and wider than the football field itself.

It’s also the only two-sided display, meaning messages and videos appear on both the inside and outside surfaces. This is especially useful for fans sitting close to the stadium, who can watch the indoor monitor across the track.

“You can overwhelm fans with content,” says Evans. This is most likely when fans aren’t watching, you know, the game itself.

5. Has field-level wings just outside the end zone

Harry Ho/Getty Images

If you’re feeling rushed and want to impress dozens of your friends, you can reserve a field-level suite, called a bungalow, just a few feet from the back of the end zone. The wings are so close in motion that an inverted aisle can land on your nachos.

“It’s the closest field bench in the NFL,” says Evans. “It feels like you’re in your own backyard.” “Put your feet on the green railing and be as casual as possible. It just so happens that the energy of an NFL game happens 10 feet over the rail.”

6. Rounds allow you to run a 40-yard dash and kick a field goal

From SoFi Stadium.

You can Book a Stadium Tour This will take you to the luxurious private suites, team locker rooms and the interview room where coaches and players ask reporters questions. As of December 2021, Visitors must submit Evidence of vaccination or negative Covid-19 test result.

But perhaps the most unique part of the tour is the visit to the stadium itself, accessed through a 60-foot tunnel to replicate the players’ experience of charging onto the pitch before a game.

“The tour gives you the opportunity to get down on the field of play … and really participate in activities that are a bit of a combination: run a 40-yard dash, throw a football, kick a field goal and measure what so well (compared to what the NFL athletes are doing),” says Gannon. “I think that’s really the fun and engaging part of the tour.”

Just don’t pull on your hamstrings. Tickets start at $30.

CNN’s Paul Verkamen contributed to this story.

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