LOS ANGELES -- The grand opening of SoFi Stadium, the future home of the Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles Rams, will not take place as originally scheduled. On Friday, pop star Taylor Swift postponed two concerts set to take place on July 25 and 26 that would have served as the first public events held at the venue.
"Fighting COVID-19 is an unprecedented challenge for our global community and the safety and well-being of fans should always be top priority," Swift said in a statement. "Health organizations and governments around the world have strongly discouraged public gatherings for an unprecedented period of time. With many events throughout the world already canceled, and upon direction form health officials in an effort to keep fans safe and help prevent the spread of COVID-19, sadly the decision has been made to cancel all Taylor Swift live appearances and performances this year."
Swift also noted that dates in the United States and Brazil would receive makeup dates in 2021.
The postponed shows in Los Angeles further cloud the immediate future of SoFi Stadium. The construction of the facility has already dealt with multiple infections of COVID-19, the first known instance of which occurred in late March. As of yet, Turner AECOM Hunt, the joint venture overseeing the project, has not halted work on the site and instead installed additional health and safety guidelines for those who remain. Those enhanced procedures have not stopped subsequent cases of the virus spreading among those involved in the construction, however.
With SoFi Stadium now hosting no public events held in July and California governor Gavin Newsom cautioning that mass gatherings such as concerts or sporting competitions unlikely to take place in the state this year, the prospect of the Chargers and Rams playing in front of fans at their new home appear increasingly remote for 2020. The NFL has reportedly looked into contingency plans including a shortened season and/or playing games in empty stadiums.
-- Jason B. Hirschhorn is an award-winning sports journalist and Pro Football Writers of America member. Follow him on Twitter: @by_JBH