INGLEWOOD — The stadium under construction where Hollywood Park race track used to be won’t be completed for another two and a half years and yet it is already being booked.
The National Football League has already announced the 2022 Super Bowl will be played there. The 2028 Summer Olympics will use the stadium for opening or closing ceremonies. Maybe both.
And last week, the stadium got another prestigious booking when officials who operate the College Football Playoffs announced the 2023 championship game will be played in the new stadium.
Bill Hancock, executive director of the College Football Playoffs, announced Inglewood would host the 2023 championship game Nov. 1.
“When we created the playoff, we said we wanted to move the national championship game around,” Hancock said. “We have done that. We call it ‘10 in 10.’ Ten different communities will have hosted the national championship game in the first 10 years of the playoff. The CFP National Championship is one of the most popular sporting events in the United States and we’re proud to bring the game to fans in different regions of the country.
“Each of the four cities chosen met or exceeded our standards for selection,” Hancock added. “Each has a first-class stadium that our fans will enjoy, a great convention center, excellent hotels for teams and fans, and the communities have successful track records of hosting major events. Each city also has wonderful, supportive people who we rely on to host a successful game.”
The operator of the Rose Bowl — the Pasadena Tournament of Roses — which hosts a college football playoff semifinal every three years, congratulated Inglewood on hosting the championship game in 2023.
“The Tournament of Roses congratulates the College Football Playoff on the announcement of the new sites for the National Championship Game,” said Rose Bowl Management Committee Chair Scott Jenkins. “It’s great to see the national championship game hit so many new parts of the country and we’re thrilled to welcome the game back to Southern California. The Tournament of Roses looks forward to our continued relationship with the College Football Playoff as a semifinal host every three years and we look forward to the opportunity to work with the CFP and the Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park in the years ahead.”
Besides Inglewood, the other locations chosen to host the college football championship game are Miami-South Florida (2021), Indianapolis (2022) and Houston (2024). For Inglewood, it means another added red-ribbon honor for Mayor James T. Butts and the city.
With the ability to host to two NFL teams on the horizon, landing a Super Bowl, bringing the Summer Olympics to town, and drawing the College Football Playoffs into the mix, Inglewood has become a top destination for high-tier, international sporting and entertainment events.
Butts, of course, is ecstatic about the economic boon possibilities these events will bring to Inglewood and the surrounding cities.
“The Super Bowl is a week-long celebratory event that will draw probably 500,000 people to the Los Angeles region cumulatively that week,” Butts said in a released statement. “This will have a large impact on the occupancy of local hotels and discretionary dollars spent in the South Bay and on the Westside.
“The College Football Playoffs will have a similar effect, particularly on hotel occupancy figures. It is estimated that within five years, these events, along with the Rams and Chargers home games will result, in a $25 million increase to the general fund of Inglewood.
“We will be able to increase the size of our police department, pave more streets, expand our library and park hours and add programs. We hope to be able to build a state-of-the-art teen center to mirror the state-of-the-art, $27-million senior center that opens at the end of this month.”
And this may not be the last large-scale sporting event the city will host. Once completed, the stadium will contend to be in the rotation to host the NCAA men’s basketball final four as well.
The Los Angeles Clippers are still in the picture, too. The city and Clippers owner Steve Ballmer are still in negotiations over a proposed basketball arena near the football stadium, although those negotiations have angered the owners of the original sports facility in the city, the Forum, which is now mostly used for concerts.