The NFL is reportedly looking into backup sites to host Super Bowl LVI in February. SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles is the current host of the game, set to take place on Feb. 13.
The NFL is concerned the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may cause a situation where the Super Bowl cannot take place in California. Therefore, the NFL wants a backup plan. Jason Whitely from WFAA first reported the news.
Sources within the Dallas Cowboys front office told Whitely the team is working with AT&T Stadium staff to get ready in case the NFL moves the location of the Super Bowl. Additionally, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy admitted the NFL is looking into potential backup sites.
“We plan on playing Super Bowl LVI as scheduled at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, February 13,” McCarthy said.
“As part of our standard contingency planning process that we conduct for all regular and postseason games, we have contacted several clubs to inquire about stadium availability in the event we cannot play the Super Bowl as scheduled due to weather-related issues or unforeseen circumstances."
Los Angeles Hit Hard with COVID
Los Angeles County, where SoFi stadium resides, reported 11,000 new COVID cases on Christmas Eve alone, the highest daily total in 11 months. Numbers have only continued to rise since.
Just this past week, the Recording Academy indefinitely postponed The Grammy Awards, originally scheduled for Jan. 13.
It is also important to note the county instituted a policy in December making it mandatory for those age 5 or older to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test to enter any theme park. Thus, it is likely similar restrictions would affect the Super Bowl.
Overall, California's COVID-19 restrictions are not as strict as they were a year ago. Over 70,000 packed into SoFi Stadium this past weekend to watch the Chargers defeat the Denver Broncos.
However, with the surge in daily cases, the county or state may be compelled to institute further restrictions. In that case, new restrictions could hamper Super Bowl attendance. This is something the NFL will certainly take into consideration when deciding on a host city.