Cost of L.A. stadium has mushroomed

Mike Florio

Most projects end up costing more than originally expected. The new stadium in L.A. will cost dramatically more than originally expected.

A lengthy new item from Seth Wickersham and Don Van Natta Jr. of ESPN.com explores the dysfunction arising from the return of the Rams and Chargers to Los Angeles, where they will share a stadium built by Rams owner Stan Kroenke. The relationship features plenty of tension and acrimony, with the potentially shattered partnership fueled by one basic reality: The price for constructing the stadium keeps going up, up, up, up, up.

Fewer than five years ago, the Rams believed the stadium would cost $1.86 billion. By late 2015, the number moved to $2.4 billion. Since then, the project has “gone off the rails,” thanks to vendor competition driven by a $14 billion renovation at LAX airport and an unexpectedly expensive infrastructure association with a field that will sit 100 feet below ground level. Heavy rain in 2017 delayed the opening of the stadium by a full year.

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By March 2018, the price had moved to $5 billion. Officials with the company building the venue now reportedly refer to it as “our $6 billion stadium.”

Complicating the expense problem is a revenue problem. The Chargers have struggled to sell PSLs, the proceeds of which go directly to defray the costs incurred by Kroenke. The Rams expected $400 million to come from those PSL sales; the actual number will be much lower than that, especially after the Chargers dropped the price for upper-deck PSLs to $100.

So the stadium is costing much more than expected, and the stadium will be bringing in much less money than expected. And the Raiders — the preferred team in L.A., despite any efforts of the Rams and Chargers to change that — will be playing their home games only four hours away, starting next year.

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