With their ticket to Super Bowl LVI punched, the Los Angeles Rams will be playing in front of a hometown crowd at the SoFi Stadium in Inglewood.
But in a sea of celebrating Rams fans, USC graduate student Chelsea Hylton is apprehensive.
As an Inglewood resident, Hylton doesn’t think that her community is ready to host a Super Bowl-sized event at SoFi Stadium.
“On regular [season] gamedays, the traffic is horrible,” Hylton said. “That’s just a regular game. I can’t imagine the Super Bowl.”
And Hylton, who lives close to SoFi, says that traffic isn’t the only drawback of hosting Super Bowl LVI in Inglewood.
“People’s rents have gone up and they can no longer afford to live in Inglewood,” she said. “A lot of store owners can no longer keep up their business because they’re being bought out.”
She emphasized that Inglewood is a residential community; while other stadiums are located in more urban areas like the Crypto.com Arena in downtown Los Angeles, they don’t “really prohibit people from moving and going about their day. Versus Inglewood, there’s houses, apartment buildings, there’s a school right across the street from the stadium.”
For lifelong Rams fans like USC alumni David Ramirez, the prospect of a Super Bowl close to home is the subject of excitement in addition to criticism.
“It really depends on what perspective you’re looking at it from,” Ramirez said. “As an NFL fan, [SoFi] is an awesome experience. You’re going to have a great time. If you’re not an NFL fan, it’s extremely inconvenient and very unfortunate.”
Despite concerns, Rams fans and Angelenos alike celebrated the win.
“As a lifelong fan, you know how hard it is to get to this point and how many things have to go right, so it’s almost a sense of relief,” Ramirez said. “Especially with the Rams, the discourse of them being all in and [that] they had to do it this year and all the moves they made to get here.”
This year will mark the second time in NFL history that a team participating in the Super Bowl will play at its own stadium. The first time this occurred was last year, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won Super Bowl LV in Tampa Bay.
“It’s a really big deal having your home team in the Super Bowl in your hometown; it’s something that doesn’t happen often,” said Emery Ogah, a USC student studying business administration. “I feel like it will be a really big celebration for the city.”
Rams fans won’t have to worry about long-distance travel to support their team.
“I think it’s going to be a really good way to bring people together, rally everyone and hopefully win,” said sophomore Alex Kyriakakis. “I’m actually really happy that it’s here because people don’t have to travel and it feels more connected.”
The social and economic impact of hosting a Super Bowl can be a huge boost for the communities around the event. Junior Opal McElroy noted the particular effect the event could have on local Black business.
“It can support Black businesses, and that’s going to be huge and bring awareness to the community,” McElroy said. “I know when major sports events happen, a lot of the time people will come in and kind of clean areas up or help community wise.”
SoFi Stadium figures to be a center of activity and controversy in the coming years, with prominent events such as the 2023 College Football National Championship, the FIFA 2026 World Cup and the 2028 Summer Olympics on the horizon.
Sophomore Miles Collins said the Rams in the Super Bowl is “definitely a really good start for the SoFi legacy.”
Super Bowl LVI will take place Sunday Feb. 13 at 3:30 p.m. and will be the first Super Bowl in SoFi Stadium’s history.