'LA Hasn't Built a Stadium of This Size in 100 Years': SoFi Stadium Is Ready for Its Super Bowl Close Up

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

​SoFi Stadium’s 70,000-square-foot circular video board is dubbed the “Infinity Screen."
Photo by Decerry Donato

There will be plenty of fanfare around NFL stars like Matt Stafford, Aaron Donald, Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase when Super Bowl LVI comes to Los Angeles on February 13. But for 70,000-plus people in attendance and millions watching around the world, there will be another superstar on display: SoFi Stadium.

The 3.1 million-square-foot behemoth in Inglewood is a state-of-the-art technological marvel, featuring a 70,000-square-foot video board (dubbed the “Infinity Screen”), lightning-fast Wi-Fi and a massive LED canopy. SoFi Stadium relies solely on digital displays for everything from advertising to concession stand menus; that also comes in handy since the arena has two NFL tenants, the Rams and the Chargers, and can easily rotate their branding according to who’s playing that day.

With a whopping $5.5 billion price tag, the stadium’s top brass has visions that go far beyond the Super Bowl. The facility is also a concert venue that will host the likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Bad Bunny this year, and it will play a feature role in the 2028 Summer Olympics in L.A.

Skarpi Hedinsson, chief technology officer of SoFi Stadium.Skarpi Hedinsson, chief technology officer of SoFi Stadium.Photo by Decerry Donato

"We’re building a smart campus," Skarpi Hedinsson, chief technology officer of SoFi Stadium and the surrounding Hollywood Park complex, told dot.LA. “L.A. hasn’t built a stadium of this size in 100 years.”

Privately financed by the Rams’ billionaire owner, Stan Kroenke, SoFi Stadium is built on a single, converged network—powered by Cisco and partner technology integrator AmpThink—that connects virtually every piece of digital infrastructure in the stadium. That offers more robust Wi-Fi access, and enables fans to enter through the turnstiles using mobile tickets and purchase concessions and merchandise with digital wallets like Apple Pay.

“We’ve designed the network looking forward to the 2028 Olympics, where we would expect to see a lot more people on the network across the campus and much larger traffic consumption,” AmpThink CEO Bill Anderson told dot.LA.

Cisco’s connected Wi-Fi network utilizes the next-generation Wi-Fi 6 standard, offering faster speeds and increased bandwidth. Currently, SoFi Stadium has more than 2,500 Wi-Fi 6 access points, the largest such deployment at a sports venue. Cisco is also responsible for the IT at Hollywood Park’s adjoining, 6,000-seat YouTube Theater and American Airlines Plaza, a sprawling open-air space that serves as a main entrance to the stadium.

Photo by Decerry Donato

A massive LED canopy envelops SoFi Stadium.

\u200bSoFI stadium now includes a metaverse app called Dreamground that displays virtual sculptures and more on the field.

SoFI Stadium’s tech features include a metaverse app called Dreamground that displays virtual sculptures and interactive features.

Photo by Decerry Donato

Originally, SoFi Stadium’s data center was designed to hold seven server racks and thousands of servers. But because the network is consolidated, the stadium only needs one-half of a rack that holds a few hundred servers to power the 300-acre property. (Implementing the technology required a lot of manpower: Over 17,000 people worked on the project, with 3,500 people on-site daily.)

Other technological features at SoFi Stadium include Dreamground—a metaverse app that allows guests to interact with an augmented digital world, complete with virtual sculptures and interactive features, which can be accessed throughout the stadium and Hollywood Park.

And, of course, there’s the enormous “sunbrella” LED canopy hanging above the stadium. Though it’s hidden in plain view, the semi-translucent roof not only protects visitors from the weather but also functions as a giant overhead video screen.

For Hedinsson and the rest of SoFi Stadium’s tech team, Super Bowl Sunday isn’t just a chance for the Rams to become NFL champions—it’s an opportunity to showcase the arena’s cutting-edge technology before a global audience. Hedinsson paid particular tribute to Kroenke’s vision for the project.

“The commitment that [Kroenke] had from the very beginning—making sure it has the latest technology, that it has a differentiated guest experience—you’re seeing that play out,” Hedinsson said.

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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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PCH Driven: Director Jason Wise Talks Wine, Documentaries, and His New Indie Streaming Service SOMMTV

Jamie Williams
­Jamie Williams is the host of the “PCH Driven” podcast, a show about Southern California entrepreneurs, innovators and its driven leaders on their road to success. The series celebrates and reveals the wonders of the human spirit and explores the motivations behind what drives us.
Jason Wise holding wine glass
Image courtesy of Jason Wise

Jason Wise may still consider himself a little kid, but the 33-year-old filmmaker is building an IMDB page that rivals colleagues twice his age.

As the director behind SOMM, SOMM2, SOMM3, and the upcoming SOMM4, Wise has made a career producing award-winning documentary films that peer deep into the wine industry in Southern California and around the world.

On this episode of the PCH Driven podcast, he talks about life growing up in Cleveland as a horrible student, filmmaking, Los Angeles and his latest entrepreneurial endeavor: A streaming service called SOMMTV that features–what else?–documentaries about wine.

The conversation covers some serious ground, but the themes of wine and film work to anchor the discussion, and Wise dispenses bits of sage filmmaking advice.

“With a documentary you can just start filming right now,” he says. “That’s how SOMM came about. I got tossed into that world during the frustration of trying to make a different film, and I just started filming it, because no one could stop me because I was paying for it myself. That’s the thing with docs,” or “The good thing about SOMM is that you can explain it in one sentence: ‘The hardest test in the world is about wine, and you’ve never heard about it.’”

…Or at least maybe you hadn’t before he made his first film. Now with three SOMM documentaries under his belt, Wise is nearing completion of “SOMM4: Cup of Salvation,” which examines the history of wine’s relationship with religion. Wise says it’s “a wild film,” that spans multiple countries, the Vatican and even an active warzone. As he puts it, the idea is to show that “wine is about every subject,” rather than “every subject is about wine.”

For Wise, the transition to launching his own streaming service came out of his frustration with existing platforms holding too much power over the value of the content he produces.

“Do we want Netflix to tell us what our projects are worth or do we want the audience to do that?” he asks.

But unlike giants in the space, SOMMTV has adopted a gradual approach of just adding small bits of content as they develop. Without the need to license 500 or 1,000 hours of programming, Wise has been able to basically bootstrap SOMMTV and provide short form content and other more experimental offerings that typically get passed over by the Hulus and Disneys of the world.

So far, he says, the experiment is working, and now Wise is looking to raise some serious capital to keep up with the voracious appetites of his subscribers.

“Send those VCs my way,” Wise jokes.

Subscribe to PCH Driven on Apple, Stitcher, Spotify, iHeart, Google or wherever you get your podcasts.

dot.LA reporter David Shultz contributed to this report.