The Hollywood Park complex in Inglewood, California, has a brand-new asset to lure artists the short drive south from Los Angeles. On Monday (Aug. 9), the owners of So-Fi Stadium, home of the Los Angeles Rams, unveiled their 6,000-capacity venue — YouTube Theater.
The state-of-the-art theater is part of the 300-acre Hollywood Park being built by Rams owner and chairman E. Stanley Kroenke. It falls under the same signature ETFE roof as So-Fi Stadium and American Airlines Plaza. The three-story venue can be curtained off to offer reduced capacities for more intimate performances and size-wise rivals the AEG-owned Microsoft Theater next to the Staples Center at L.A. Live in Los Angeles.
Hollywood Park and So-Fi Stadium managing director Jason Gannon says YouTube Theater is complimentary to the stadium, which can hold 45,000 to 100,000 guests. “From a flexibility standpoint, it was really important for us to do something like this in a conditioned space,” he says.
“We’re very excited to open it up in a couple of weeks from a technology standpoint,” Gannon continues. “There’s a lot of screens and a lot of interactive things around here. That was important in putting this together and also in the partnership with YouTube.”
YouTube Theater features a 13 feet by 10 feet digital signage display of the YouTube icon, which can be transformed into an immersive video screen for guests to interact with. The theater also includes an interactive digital wall on the interior that can be used to celebrate YouTube creators and artists by showcasing them in a gallery-like setting.
The theater was partially constructed during the pandemic, but YouTube’s vp brand marketing Angela Courtin says many of its digital components like streaming capabilities were envisioned even before 2020.
“YouTube Theater offers a unique business opportunity for us to combine the digital world with the physical one,” says Courtin. “We imagine that whatever is happening here, we could put directly onto YouTube through livestream. The technology is state-of-the-art: the cameras, the sound, everything. That way when we work with artists, creators, gamers and the like, we can partner with them and say, ‘How do we take this experience and put it out to our 2 billion users worldwide?’”
The theater is slated to host its first performance on Sept. 3 with the Hollywood Black Comedy Festival Presents Deon Cole and Friends. On Sept. 4 the venue will welcome Caifanes, followed by Los Angeles Azules, Pitbull and Black Pumas throughout the month. The current roster of shows includes comedy, R&B, Latin music, classic rock, and pop. With Live Nation as venue’s the exclusive promoter, Gannon says they intend to have an eclectic lineup of shows going forward.
Inglewood mayor James T. Butts Jr. says it’s surreal to see the theater finally opened.
“The reality far exceeds the dream,” says Butts, who adds that the venue was recently opened up to host three local high school graduations. “It had an impact on the children and their parents. It was a manifestation of the dreams that we had when we first started bringing back the city of champions. We went from being the city of champions to the home of the Sizzler and the big donut and an $18 million structural deficit. Now we have the opportunity not just to grow the city, but to provide an environment of growth and success for our children.”