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6 things to know about California's SoFi Stadium, the site of Super Bowl LVI

The interior of SoFi Stadium is seen following a ribbon-cutting event on September 08, 2020 in Inglewood, California.
Rich Fury/Getty Images for Hollywood Park
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Getty Images North America, Courtesy
The interior of SoFi Stadium is seen following a ribbon-cutting event on September 08, 2020 in Inglewood, California.

So you don't have a spare $20,000 laying around to go see the Bengals play the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl this Sunday? Never fear, WVXU is here with a look inside the arena that — while it may be the home turf of the obstacle to the Bengals first-ever Super Bowl title — actually looks pretty amazing.

With a price tag of $5.5 billion, SoFi Stadium (named after a personal finance company) bills itself as "an unprecedented and unparalleled sports and entertainment destination." That might be right. Located in Inglewood, Calif., SoFi is relatively new, having opened in 2020. However, it hasn't hosted fans until this year because of the pandemic.

Here's a glimpse at what visitors get to enjoy:

The seats are apparently pretty plush: many are padded — not just the ones in the luxury suites — and offer plenty of legroom and cup holders. What's more, the stadium's design (more on that in a bit) "places viewers in the uppermost seats in closer proximity to the field than at other stadiums," writes the L.A. Times.

Because the stadium is so close to the airport, its height needed to not exceed FAA flight-restricted areas. That means construction workers had to dig deep. It's also why seats typically called "nose bleeds" can sometimes be the best ones in the place.

If you happen to be flying in or out of LAX airport on Sunday around game time, you're in luck: The roof of SoFi Stadium has 27,000 embedded LED pucks, which project images and video that can be seen from airplanes. In fact, @TwitterSports recently asked fans to Tweet their best Super Bowl predictions in six words or less for a chance to have their Tweet featured on the roof of SoFi Stadium.

The water that surrounds SoFi Stadium is for more than looks. The stadium's architects, HKS, call it a "seismic moat" that is up to 12-feet wide and 100-feet deep to keep the stadium safe during earthquakes. Additionally, the 37 columns that hold up the roof are earthquake-resistant, and the roof's videoboard weighs 2.2 million pounds, which helps anchor the roof in the instance of a major storm, the architects note.

 The southeast view of Lake Park from the pedestrian walkway at SoFi Stadium
SoFi Stadium
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Courtesy
The southeast view of Lake Park from the pedestrian walkway at SoFi Stadium

Which is a good thing, because the day's forecast for Inglewood is expected to produce the hottest Super Bowl on record. The roof of SoFi Stadium is open on three sides, allowing for a cooling breeze to flow through, courtesy of the Pacific Ocean, which is about 5 miles away.

The stadium's designers say the roof is "monumental" in other ways.

"We wanted this stadium to be a completely outdoor venue," Lance Evans, principal and senior designer at HKS, says in this video. "We want it to feel like you were embraced and enveloped in Southern California, but we knew we wanted to provide protection for all the kind of adverse climatic conditions that could happen."

That means the roof is made of panels that can slide open and closed based on conditions. The movement helps regulate temperature in the facility in a sustainable way, Evans notes.

Sure, SoFi is hosting the biggest football game of the year, but the significance goes deeper than that.

Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13, 2022 will mark the first Super Bowl to be played in the Los Angeles area since Super Bowl XXVII in 1993 — so, almost as long ago as the Bengals last appearance in the Super Bowl.

SoFi also will become the first stadium to host a conference championship game and the Super Bowl in the same year.

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