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This story first appeared in the Jan. 29 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
Will Los Angeles’ new NFL stadium ever replace its green turf with a red carpet?
When league owners approved the Rams’ return from St. Louis, their Jan. 12 vote also greenlighted team owner Stan Kroenke’s plans to build a $1.8 billion, 70,000-seat stadium in Inglewood featuring a translucent canopy that its HKS Sports and Entertainment Group designers call “a necessity for year-round events of all types.”
But football stadiums are generally too massive for major events such as awards shows — Staples Center, which has hosted the Grammys since 2004, holds about 20,000 people, while the Emmys, ESPYs, AMAs, BET Awards and People’s Choice Awards prefer the 7,100-seat Microsoft Theater at adjacent L.A. Live.
Only one awards show has ever been held in a football stadium: the 50th annual Academy of Country Music Awards, which set a Guinness World Record for bringing 70,252 attendees to the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium in April. “Everything was magnified,” ACM CEO Bob Romeo tells THR, noting that production costs were triple what they are to stage the show at its usual home, Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena. But the CBS telecast hit its highest ratings since 1998 (15.7 million viewers), and Romeo says he already is reaching out to Kroenke to discuss the possibility of Inglewood as an awards venue: “The Grammys could be unbelievable there.”
HKS is developing a 298-acre “entertainment district” around the stadium to provide the hotel rooms and other resources needed to support an awards show or convention. But the stadium’s likelier off-season function may be to serve as the city’s trump card for winning Super Bowl, Olympics and NCAA Final Four bids. Says one promoter familiar with the L.A. market, “There just isn’t a lot of stuff you put in stadiums.”
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