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Get a first look inside SoFi Stadium and its revolutionary 4K LED ‘Oculus’ video board

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The 70,000 square foot double-sided video board is set to be turned on and tested next month

On Wednesday, I traveled to Hollywood Park in Inglewood to tour the roaring-to-completion project known as SoFi Stadium, which will be home to both the Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles Rams beginning in the 2020 season. Reports in late January had the project at “85 percent complete” as they aim for event readiness when Taylor Swift brings her “Lover Fest West” tour to SoFi on July 25, and that seemed apparent from both outside and inside the venue.

Kenneth Arthur

One of the two features I was most curious about was the translucent roof, and SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park managing director Jason Gannon told me that they’re about 40 percent done on installing the ETFE (Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene) panels atop where 70,000-100,000 fans will be seated per event.

It’s something all of us say every day: “What is Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene? I know that it exists and that it is abundant. What country-loving American doesn’t know about Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene?”

It pretty much rolls off the tongue too easy to not be said aloud every day. But what exactly is it?

Per Structurflex.com:

Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) is a fluorine-based plastic polymer that offers a creative and lightweight alternative to glass. Developed over 40 years ago by DuPont, ETFE has similar light transmission to glass, but at just 1% of the weight. With a lifespan of over 30 years and excellent weathering properties, ETFE film is becoming the material of choice for a outdoor and outdoor/indoor spaces in a variety of climates.

ETFE has many benefits, ranging from environmental sustainability to creative design options.

As of today, you can’t really make out the full picture of what the ETFE panels will look like when the stadium is ready because most of them aren’t installed yet and the ones that are still need to have construction dust cleared from those panels. But here is what it looks like when you look up from SoFi Stadium as of now:

And here’s a guy on a roof working to get it completed:

It still blows my mind that people do that.

What was really cool though was seeing plane after plane fly overhead at distances that may shock fans who aren’t used to being so close to a major airport such as Los Angeles International — especially while watching a sporting event or concert. “LAX had over 90 million people last year coming through and the ability to see Hollywood Park and SoFi Stadium on approach is incredibly unique for us,” Gannon said.

“The shape and size, it’s a beautiful building structure.”

In addition to its translucent qualities, Gannon emphasized that he was excited for people to experience the “indoor-outdoor” nature of the stadium as about 40 of the 60x60 ETFE panels will have operable capabilities that open up and allow coastal winds to flow in and out of SoFi. So rather than a fully retractable roof as fans have come to expect in similar environments, the panels will allow people to see above them when they’re closed but can also be moved enough for the Pacific Ocean winds to come breezing through.

Gannon says that they are about 40 percent finished on the roof and 30 percent when it comes to installation of the seats below it.

My other main interest is the probably same as anyone who has ever waited outside of a Best Buy on Black Friday: The 70,000 square foot double-sided 4K LED video board known as the “Oculus.”

Oculus: It’s not just to be worn on human heads anymore.

Reports in late January 2020 had SoFi Stadium at around 85 percent complete and photos of the Oculus showed that whatever had been completed was covered in tarp. Well, tarp no more as much like a 120-yard long video board, we can get a better picture of how this Oculus will look once it is lifted and given juice, which Gannon mentioned could happen for the first time in “a couple more weeks.”

Gannon noted that so far other venues could only engage up to 80 percent of the seating bowl with their video boards and that in LA Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s vision, they wanted something that could hit 100 percent of the seating bowl. They intend for the Oculus to do that, whether you are seated near the roof or on the field, and it sounds as though that will begin to be tested for the first time within the next month when the board is lifted and turned on.

Finally, I asked Gannon about the potential differences in experiences for Rams fans and Chargers fans, as the two teams are set to share a home for the first time and will do so under Kroenke’s gloriously translucent and maneuverable roof and revolutionary video board.

“One of the things that we’ve done from our perspective is allowed the teams to come in here and really create their own experiences,” noted Gannon. “Certainly they’re in the marketplace in unique ways. Stan Kroenke has created an incredibly dynamic stadium where each team can come in and create their own unique experiences for the fan base.”

As August and the 2020 NFL preseason approaches, it’s a vision that’s growing as clear as Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene by the day.