LA Super Bowl 'red carpet ready', full stadium expected

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LOS ANGELES, Jan 13 (Reuters) - With a month to go before Super Bowl LVI kicks off in Los Angeles, NFL officials said on Thursday the game will be played before a full house at SoFi Stadium despite a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Fans who attend the game at the new 70,240-seat venue in Inglewood on Feb. 13 will be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative test and wear masks when not eating or drinking, but no capacity limit will be set.

"We hosted the Super Bowl last year in Tampa to limited capacity, so to cap off this amazing season with a full-capacity Super Bowl here at this unbelievable stadium, we couldn't be more excited," Katie Keenan, the NFL's senior director of event operations, told Reuters at an event marking 30 days until kickoff.

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Keenan shot down rumors that the game might be moved elsewhere in light of the spread of the highly-contagious Omicron variant.

"I can categorically say that none of that is true. It's all part of our normal contingency planning," she said.

The game will follow LA County COVID-19 regulations so fans in attendance can focus on enjoying themselves.

"At the end of the day, it's a party, and it will be an amazing day in an amazing facility."

Dec 21, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; A general overall interior view of an empty SoFi Stadium before the game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Rams COO Kevin Demoff said that while the Super Bowl will not mark the end of the pandemic, it will be part of the city's journey out of it.

"For a long time we talked about this being the first post-pandemic event," he said.

"That might not hold true anymore as we fight this latest variant, but truly this is about getting people back and making people feel safe.

"I'm excited that we can be trailblazers in hosting these great events and doing them safely as hopefully we get toward the next stage of the COVID pandemic."

And since it is Hollywood, the stars of entertainment will be out in full force, starting with a halftime show that will feature LA rappers Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Kendrick Lamar, as well as Eminem and R&B singer Mary J. Blige.

"One of the things we've been asked is what are we doing to get red carpet ready for the Super Bowl and the answer is, we're always red carpet ready," said Adam Burke, president & CEO of the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board.

"If you look at the annual awards shows, all the iconic sporting events, you know that we live to put on these types of world class events."

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Editing by Ed Osmond

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Thomson Reuters

Los Angeles-based sports reporter who interviews the most impactful athletes and executives in the world. Covers breaking news ranging from the highs of championship victories to the lows of abuse scandals. My work highlights the ways in which sports and the issues of race, gender, culture, finance, and technology intersect.