2028 Los Angeles Olympics: Swimming to move to SoFi Stadium, softball in Oklahoma City

Swimming will move back to the second week of competition to accommodate the change in venue

Olympic swimming will move back to the second week of competition to accommodate the change in venue to SoFi Stadium. (Photo by Ric Tapia/Getty Images)
Olympic swimming will move back to the second week of competition to accommodate the change in venue to SoFi Stadium. (Photo by Ric Tapia/Getty Images)

The organizing committee for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics announced Friday that the swimming competition at the Games will move to SoFi Stadium, while softball will take place 1,200 miles away in Oklahoma City.

Two temporary pools will be built at SoFi, in Inglewood, California, similar to the ones built at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis for 2024 U.S. Olympic trials this month.

The pools will be constructed well in advance of the 2028 Games, Casey Wasserman, chairman of the LA28 organizing committee, told reporters. They'll be covered for the Opening Ceremony, which is also set to take place in part at SoFi Stadium; then uncovered and prepped for the start of the swimming competition.

To accommodate the change, swimming and track and field will swap places on the Olympic calendar. Swimming, which typically begins on the first weekend, one or two days after the Opening Ceremony, will move to the second weekend and the final week of the Games. Track and field will start the first weekend. (Wasserman said that both sports' international governing bodies had approved the switch.)

Swimming was initially slated for a temporary pool on the University of Southern California's campus. But USC's facility remodeling plans led organizers to look elsewhere. After "a few years" of discussions, Wasserman said, they settled on SoFi, which will hold up to 38,000 fans for the sport in 2028.

The U.S. trials currently being held in Indianapolis, at the home of the NFL's Colts, have been averaging around 18,000 fans per night — a modern-era record for any swim meet, but short of USA Swimming's ambitions, and less than half of SoFi's expected capacity for 2028.

Wasserman, though, said he was confident the Olympics could fill 38,000 seats SoFi — which, like Lucas Oil Stadium, will be split in half, with the competition pool on one side and a warmup pool on the other. He pointed to this being "the Olympics, not a trials"; "the world in LA"; and the stadium as "a spectacular combination" and reasons for confidence.

"I have no doubt, if we had more seats to sell that could see the competition pool, we could sell 'em," Wasserman said. "We're very confident this is going to be a swimming competition for the ages in every regard."

Due to lack of seating at potential softball venues in Southern California, it was announced that softball will move to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Canoe slalom will also head east as there is nowhere in the Los Angeles area to hold the event.

Organizers decided this was a better way to go rather than building temporary venues.

"Both the canoe slalom and softball venues in Oklahoma City are built to international competition standards, ensuring a high-quality experience for athletes and fans, while allowing LA28 to realize cost savings and revenue gains to support its balanced budget," LA28 said in a statement. "LA28 also recognizes that the Oklahoma City community has consistently supported top events for both sports and is confident that they will for these Olympic competitions as well."

Softball has a history in Oklahoma City with the Women's College World Series having taken place there every year but one since 1990. The event is not part of this summer's Olympic program in Paris.

The venue changes for swimming, softball and canoe slalom, among others LA28 announced on Friday, still require approval from the new host cities and the International Olympic Committee.