Countdown to Super Bowl begins as NFL rebrands SoFi stadium

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LOS ANGELES, Feb 1 (Reuters) - SoFi Stadium's transformation from the home of the Rams to a neutral site for the upcoming Super Bowl is underway, but NFL officials said the game will still feature plenty of Los Angeles flavor.

The location of the game is picked years in advance but with their win over San Francisco on Sunday, the Rams became the second team to play for the title on their home field after the Buccaneers won it all in Tampa Bay last season.

"We had the NFC championship game here with the Rams, so all of that branding, all of those field colors, all of that artwork has to be completely taken off and we start from scratch," NFL field director Ed Mangan told reporters at SoFi on Tuesday.

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"Then we've got to come back in with a different scheme designated by the NFL."

Despite the rebranding inside the $5.5 billion stadium, Los Angeles culture will still be well represented.

"Whenever we go to a city, we like to highlight the flavor of that city," said NFL senior director of events Katie Keenan.

"We'll have different local Los Angeles food elements in the stadium here and at our different parties," she said.

The biggest party of them all will take place when LA rappers Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Kendrick Lamar, as well as Eminem and R&B singer Mary J. Blige, come together for the halftime show.

"We've obviously got an amazing halftime show that is a true ode to Los Angeles, so we just can't wait for everybody to see it," Keenan said.

While there will be no restrictions on attendance, COVID-19 safety measures will still be in place. Fans will need to be vaccinated or show a negative test and masks will be required in the stadium when not actively eating or drinking.

But the NFL is planning on a celebration.

"We've got a full stadium. We've got a new stadium. We've got a big city. We've got a home team in the game," Keenan said.

"We're just really excited."

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Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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