Rams, Chargers fans get an aerial view of new L.A. stadium's progress

Hiro Ueno/Los Angeles Stadium and Entertainment District

INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- The process is simple once you figure out the flight patterns. If you’re flying into Los Angeles International Airport from the north, chances are you will land on the north runway, which means you will only see the forthcoming new NFL stadium on the left portion of the airplane. If you’re coming from the south or the east, you’ll get the south runway, so you’ll want to situate yourself on the right-hand side. Preferably in a window seat.

Kevin Demoff, a native Angeleno who has been among those at the forefront of the L.A. Stadium project, can tell you all about it.

“It’s a science,” he said.

The final beam -- measuring 42 feet and weighing 12,000 pounds -- was installed Tuesday afternoon as part of a topping out ceremony for the Los Angeles Stadium and Entertainment District at Hollywood Park, which will open its doors to the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers for the 2020 season. The stadium alone is pushing $3 billion. The area that surrounds it, spanning 298 acres, brings that total close to $5 billion, all of which will be funded by Rams owner Stan Kroenke.

So far, approximately 2,500 workers have contributed 4 million hours of labor to a project that is about 40 percent complete. Nearly 10 million cubic yards of dirt have already been excavated and about 15,000 tons of reinforced steel in concrete are currently being installed. Soon, one of the world’s largest cranes will be on hand to help erect the roof.

And all of the progress has been tracked from a bird’s eye view.

The stadium resides four miles from LAX, the fifth-busiest airport in the world last year. Something in the neighborhood of 85 million passengers came and went from there in 2017, which means that, in theory, more than 40 million of them got a clear view of the ongoing construction.

“To me, it’s just about trying to get the best glimpse you can of the stadium,” Demoff said. “This is one of the world’s most visible stadiums from the air, and it’s great to check that out and see it on its way.”

This stadium is deeply personal to Demoff. When he was 9, they celebrated his mother’s birthday at the Hollywood Park Racetrack that is now the site of construction. They took a picture on the track after the races that day, and that photo still hangs at his parents’ house. Demoff wants to snap another picture in the same place when the new stadium opens two summers from now.

“It’s always sentimental for me,” he said.

The stadium, the first football facility to be built in Los Angeles in nearly a century, is already set to host the Super Bowl in 2022 and the College Football Playoff National Championship in 2023, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2028 Olympics. There’s also the possibility of the Final Four and the World Cup.

Before the Hollywood Park Racetrack imploded in May of 2015, Rams officials walked to the top of the grandstand, looked around and noticed that they could see the ocean in one direction and downtown in the other.

“We always wanted to preserve that view from the top of the grandstand and the stadium,” Demoff said.

Demoff likes to draw parallels between the progression of the stadium and the ascension of the franchise. Construction began the week of Jared Goff’s NFL debut. The project was in its infancy stages then, and the team was nowhere close to contention. In a span of two months, the Rams fired Jeff Fisher as their head coach, finished 4-12, brought in Sean McVay, then went about retooling.

Now the Rams are coming off an 11-5 season and seem about as balanced and as talented as any team in the NFL.

Their new home, meanwhile, is noticeably rounding into form.

“I think the evolution of this stadium certainly mimics the evolution of our team and our franchise here in Los Angeles,” Demoff said. “Your team’s never complete, but hopefully when we get to 2020, the team’s grown as much as the stadium has by that point.”

The new stadium will seat 70,000, but is expandable to 100,000. Attached will be a 6,000-seat performing arts venue. Surrounding that will be 1.7 million square feet of retail and office space, 300 hotel rooms, 2,500 new residences and approximately 25 acres of public parks and open space.

Demoff called it, even in its present state, “a great representation of just the renaissance that Los Angeles is going through right now.”