'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 dot.LA's Editorial Fellow. Prior to that, she was an editorial intern 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

The stadium features a 70,000-square-foot circular video board dubbed the “Infinity Screen."

\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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Inflation Reduction Act Officially Passes the Senate, Revamping Electric Vehicle Pricing

David Shultz

David Shultz is a freelance writer who lives in Santa Barbara, California. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside and Nautilus, among other publications.

The Capitol at Sunset
Courtesy of Mike Stoll via Unsplash

Over the weekend Senate Democrats officially passed the Inflation Reduction Act in what amounts to President Biden’s biggest legislative win so far. The bill includes a host of broad-spectrum economic policy changes and completely reworks the subsidies for electric vehicle purchases. The law still has to get through the House, but this should be a much smaller hurdle.

dot.LA covered the bill in depth as it neared the goal line at the end of July, and the final iteration doesn’t change much. To recap:

1. The rebate total stays $7,500 but is broken into two $3,750 chunks tied to how much of the car and its battery are made in the US.

2. The manufacturer caps are eliminated, meaning even EV companies that have sold more than 20,000 vehicles are once again eligible.

3. Rebates will now only apply to cars priced below $55,000 and trucks/SUVs below $80,000

With the new system placing a renewed emphasis on American manufacturing and assembly, the calculus of which vehicles cost how much is still being worked out. The most comprehensive (but unofficial!) list I’ve seen has come from Reddit user u/Mad691.

In addition to the EV rebate program, the bill also includes a number of economic incentives aimed at curbing emissions and accelerating the country’s transition to electric vehicles.

There’s $20 billion earmarked for the construction of new clean vehicle manufacturing facilities and $3 billion will go help electrify the USPS delivery fleet. Another $3 billion will go to electrifying the nation’s ports. Then there’s $1 billion for zero-emission trucks and buses.

Now that the bill is about to be codified into law, VC investment in the sector might heat up in response to the new money flowing in.

“I do anticipate more climate funds standing up to invest in EV infrastructure,” says Taj Ahmad Eldridge, a partner at Include Ventures and the director at CREST an ARES Foundation initiative with JFF/WRI that aims to provide training for people in the new green economy. “However, we do see funds being a little more thoughtful on diligence and taking their time to fund the right investment.”

The sentiment seems to be shared across Southern California. ChargeNet CEO and Co-Founder Tosh Dutt says the Inflation Reduction Act “super charges” the company’s effort to build infrastructure across the country.

“This investment accelerates the transition to renewable energy and gives companies like ChargeNet Stations the confidence to expand more rapidly, especially in underserved communities,” says Dutt.

For Rivian, the bill’s passage has left would-be customers in a sort of limbo. Because many of their models will exceed the $80,000 cap for trucks and SUVs after options, customers who’ve preordered are scrambling to sign buyers’ agreements to take advantage of the current EV rebate scheme which doesn’t include price caps. As I noted in the previous article, if you buy an EV before the bill is signed, you’re eligible for the current rebate system even if the vehicle isn’t delivered until 2023. Any existing contracts under the current system will remain valid.

With the legislation seemingly on the fast track to become law, it’s unclear whether or not Rivian will expedite the purchasing process to allow customers to sign the buyers’ agreement before the new rebate program becomes the law of the land. Tick tock!