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Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

Aerial View
Copyright 2006 by Aerial Views Publishing

  Venue Resources  
Address 3911 South Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90037
Phone (213) 740-3843
Official Website
Seating Weather
Newspaper
Satellite View
Trojans Gear
  Calendar / Tickets  
Hotels, Dining & Deals in Los Angeles

  The Facility  
Date Opened May 1, 1923
Major Renovation 1979
1993
1994
1995
Ownership
(Management)
State of California
(Los Angeles Coliseum Commission)
Surface Grass
Cost of Construction $954,873
$9.5 million in 1979
$15 million in 1993
$93 million in 1994
$6 million in 1995
Stadium Architect John and Donald Parkinson
Capacity 78,000 (1923)
101,574 (1932)
90,000
Luxury Suites None
Club Seats None
  Other Facts  
Tenants USC Trojans
(NCAA) (1923-Present)
Former Tenants 1932 Summer Olympics
1984 Summer Olympics
Los Angeles Rams
(NFL) (1946-1979)
Los Angeles Dodgers
(MLB) (1958-1961)
Los Angeles Chargers
(AFL) (1960)
Los Angeles Raiders
(NFL) (1982-1994)
Los Angeles Express
(USFL) (1983-1985)
UCLA Bruins
(NCAA) (1928-1981)
Los Angeles Aztecs
(NASL) (1974-1981)
Los Angeles Wolves
(USA) (1967)
Los Angeles Xtreme
(XFL) (2001)
Los Angeles Christmas Festival
(NCAA) (1924)
Mercy Bowl
(NCAA) (1961 & 1971)
Population Base 9,000,000
On Site Parking 8,200
Nearest Airport Los Angeles International (LAX)

Championships 1st
1928
2nd
1931
3rd
1932
4th
1939
5th
1962
6th
1967
7th
1972
8th
1974
9th
1978
 
 
10th
2003
11th
2004

Championships 3rd

XVIII
1983


Sources: Mediaventures

One of the most famous sports monuments in America today, the Los Angeles Coliseum boasts a long and noted past.

The fabled history of the Coliseum spans seven decades and is the only facility in the world to have hosted two Olympiads, two Super Bowls, and a World Series.

In 1984, the State of California and the U.S. Government declared the Coliseum a State and National Historical Landmark.

The Coliseum has hosted a variety of globally important events, including the 1988 Amnesty International Tour, 1987 Papal mass (the first-ever papal visit to L.A.), and the Billy Graham Crusade, which set an all-time attendance record of 134,254.

"It came as no surprise when the Coliseum was named a California and U.S. historical landmark in 1984. Home at one time or another for the Los Angeles Rams, Raiders and Dodgers, the Southern Cal Trojans and the UCLA Bruins, as well as the centerpiece for the 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympics, the Coliseum was the oldest NFL stadium and has been the stage for some of the most memorable sporting events of the 20th century.

Still, the Coliseum is close to obsolete. The Northridge earthquake in January 1994 did major, but reparable, structural damage, and more than a few fans - and Raiders' boss Al Davis - probably think it didn't go far enough.

Attempts have been made to upgrade the old lady since the Raiders moved here in 1982, but the Coliseum still has some seats in another area code. And there's not a luxuary box in sight - good news for purists, bad news for the NFL. The Raiders annual attempts at negotiating a sweetheart deal with other cities have yet to succeed, until 1995 no one has volunteered to build a stadium in L.A., so the Coliseum remains....."

As written by The Sports Staff of USA TODAY in "The Complete Four Sport Stadium Guide" for Fodor's Sports

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is one of the greatest --and largest-- stadiums in America. It combines the traditional and the modern into a premier athletic environment.

USC has played football in the Coliseum ever since the grand stadium was built in 1923. In fact, the Trojans played in the first football game ever held there (beating Pomona College, 23-7, on Oct. 6, 1923).

Construction on the Coliseum took less than 2 years, with ground breaking ceremonies held on Dec. 21, 1921, and work completed on May 1, 1923. Initial construction costs were $800,000.

The Coliseum was the site of the 1932 Olympic Games and hosted the opening and closing ceremonies and track events of the 1984 Olympics. Over the years, the Coliseum has been home to many sports teams besides the Trojans, including UCLA football, Los Angeles Rams and Raiders football, and Los Angeles Dodgers baseball. The Coliseum has hosted various other events, from concerts and speeches to track meets and motorcycle races.

Interior
Prior to the 1993 football season, the Coliseum underwent a $15 million renovation. The Coliseum's floor was lowered 11 feet and the running track was removed to create a more intimate stadium. Fourteen new rows of seats (approximately 8,000 seats) were added down low, bringing fans closer to the playing field (the first rows of seats between the goalposts are a maximum of 54 feet from the sideline, instead of the previous 120 feet). During this renovation, the lockerrooms and public restrooms were also upgraded.

Southern California's damaging January, 1994 earthquake hit the Coliseum hard, requiring some $93 million of repairs. And, in the summer of 1995, a new $6 million press box was constructed.

The Coliseum has a present full-capacity of 94,159 seats (almost all are chair-back seats). However, for most USC games, a retractable fabric covers many seats, bringing the Coliseum's capacity to about 68,000. There are approximately 25,000 seats from goal line to goal line, including both the north and south sides.

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
by
Chris Epting

Book

Here's an excerpt from the book's Introduction...

I am sitting in Section 6, Row 44, Seat 1 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. While I am the only one here, I have seen the stadium packed with 90,000 strong. Yet somehow, empty on this breezy spring day, it is no less dramatic.

I was interested in doing this book to document not just the well-known events that occurred here, but also the lesser-known events. Because it's the combination of both that give one a full appreciation of this site. It's what separates this grand stadium from others. It's what, I believe, lets you make a case for Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum as the most historic stadium in America (If not the world.)

No other place has hosted two Olympiads. Two Super Bowls. A World Series. Countless classic college football matchups featuring both USC and UCLA. The Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Coliseum hosted six professional football teams (The Rams, Dons, Chargers and Raiders of the NFL, the Express of the USFL and the Extreme of the short-lived XFL.) The Aztecs Soccer team. And dozens of world-class track events.

There have been landmark appearances by John F. Kennedy, Dwight Eisenhower, F.D.R., Charles Lindbergh, General Patton, Nelson Mandela and Pope John Paul II. The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Pink Floyd, and The Who.

Not to mention Evel Knievel, The Harlem Globetrotters (in front of the largest United States basketball crowd on record), prizefighter Jack Dempsey, tennis great Don Budge, football star Red Grange, baseball icons such as Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Ted Williams, Hank Aaron and Stan Musial.

And the motocross, skiing, ice skating, rodeos, boat shows, circuses, fireworks shows, Pontifical Masses, auto races, Boy Scout jamborees… It is staggering. And it is significant...

...It's getting late now, so I guess it's time to go. I think I'll walk down on that famous field. Up those stairs. And out through the Peristyle arches. Where I'll get goosebumps. Like I always do when I leave this illustrious place.

Buy This Book Here!

The Coliseum is located on 17 acres in Exposition Park, which also houses museums, gardens and the Los Angeles Sports Arena.

The fabled history of the Coliseum spans seven decades and is the only facility in the world to have hosted two Olympiads, two Super Bowls, and a World Series.

In 1984, the State of California and the U.S. Government declared the Coliseum a State and National Historical Landmark.

The Coliseum has hosted a variety of globally important events, including the 1988 Amnesty International Tour, 1987 Papal mass (the first-ever papal visit to L.A.), and the Billy Graham Crusade, which set an all-time attendance record of 134,254.

The Coliseum's general offices are located at the south side of the peristyle end and are open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on game day. The USC Game Management Office on game day only is at the north side of the peristyle end. The will call booth is located outside the fence at Gate 4. Identification is required to claim tickets left under a specific name. The booth opens three hours prior to kickoff and closes at the end of the first quarter.

The first aid station is located on the concourse opposite Stairway 6. A Goodhew ambulance is available at the Coliseum to transport cases requiring further treatment. Paramedics are stationed at Tunnels 6, 14, 29 and Stairway 23. Doctors expecting an emergency call must register their seat location at the Coliseum office. A messenger will be sent to notify doctors of emergency calls; doctors will not be paged over the public address system.

The police suabtation is located at Tunnel 14 and is manned by LAPD officers from the Southwest Division. There are also roaming officers and T-shirted security personnel working in and around the Coliseum.

Items that are found should be taken to the Administrative Office at the peristyle end or to the police suabtation at Tunnel 14. People who have lost something should check back at the Administrative Office a couple of days after the event to see if it has been found.

Source: University of Southern California Sports Information Office

October 31, 1996 - Los Angeles Daily News - In sharp reversal of its earlier postion, an NFL committee told Los Angeles officials to move ahead with plans to try to revive the Coliseum as a potential home for a professional football team.

After a 90-minute presentation yesterday to the NFL's stadium committee, league and local officials said it is now up to the city to find a private group of investors who would be able to finance the Coliseum's remodeling and be able to support an NFL franchise.

NFL officials in the past have made it clear they had no desire to return to the Coliseum, which has lost three professional football teams - the Chargers, Rams and Raiders.

Part of the reluctance was the politics of the Coliseum Commission, which had promised to make changes for Raiders owner Al Davis and never did so, as well as the age of the facility, its location and the lack of parking.

THE ULTIMATE SPORTS ROAD TRIP
By: Andrew Kulyk & Peter Farrell

December 1, 2007 - After visiting so many storied and old college football venues,we have been kind of getting used to the same formula - a building that was built somewhere in the early 1900s as a 10,000 seat stadium, then added onto, expanded here and there etc. etc. to bring it to its current form. And in most places, the demarcation lines of those expansions are readily apparent.

Not so in South Central L.A.! This stadium was built and opened in 1923 as the grand edifice you see today, and since the building's inception the University of Southern California Trojans have called this place home.

The signature of this stadium are the arches and colonnades at the east end zone as well as the Olympic cauldron. Yes this stadium was the home of the 1932 Olympics, and also hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1984 Olympics, as well as some track and field events. The stadium has also hosted numerous Super Bowls, for a short time was the home for the Los Angeles Dodgers as well as the NFL Los Angeles Raiders. Today the USC Trojans are the sole tenant.

In 1993 the stadium underwent a massive renovation. The field was lowered 11 feet and seats were added to give the playing surface a more intimate feel. The outside concourses of the stadium were built outward, yet the nostalgic aisle arches and creeping ivy still give this place its charm. And while the stadium can seat almost 92,000, they have tarped over the seating in the east end zone and erected bleachers in front of this area instead, to give the venue a semblance of intimacy and lowering capacity to just under 70,000.

Much is made of this allegedly horrific and scary neighborhood surrounding the venue but that is largely a myth. The stadium sits amidst a pretty parkland named "Exposition Park" and next door is the L.A. Sports Arena, once home to the NBA Los Angeles Clippers. Numerous smaller sports venues and museums also surround the venue, and directly north is the USC campus.

Parking here is a bitch, and we were shocked at they eye popping prices that the private lots were commanding. Definitely have a strategy if attending a game here. Or plan to pay a cheaper price and prepare for a long walk. The limited lots nearest the stadium are reserved for the most generous of athletic benefactors and VIPs.

On our visit USC was playing its arch rival UCLA and at stake was nothing short of a berth in the Rose Bowl. So needless to say anticipation was running high for this game. The Trojans have an arrogant swagger that surrounds the entire program, after achieving all the success on the field in recent years. An no surprise - they easily dispatched the Bruins by a 24-7 score on this day.

The talk on this day was that the Trojans might have played their last game in the Coliseum, as their lease has expired and progress on a new deal is slow. The NFL is lurking in the shadows, coveting the site as a new home for a pro team. But as the week wore on, we learned that the folks in Pasadena weren't exactly enthralled at the idea of inviting the hated Trojans to play at the Rose Bowl. Our guess is that a deal will get done.

LA COLISEUM COULD BE SOLD TO RAISE CASH FOR STATE
May 14, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Los Angeles, Calif. - The Los Angeles Coliseum and fairgrounds in Sacramento that could be the future home of an arena for the NBA Kings could be sold along with other properties to raise cash for the State of California.

Sale of the properties, to be included in the governor's revised budget plan, would raise between $600 million and $1 billion, although it would not provide financial relief for two to five years, according to the proposal.

It is not clear whether lawmakers would be willing to part with the real estate the governor has identified. Proposals to sell San Quentin and the Coliseum have not advanced in the Legislature in recent weeks.

Most of the large properties the state would sell, including the 30 acres that contain the Coliseum and the Sports Arena, are controlled by District Agricultural Associations, state entities run by boards appointed by the governor. Officials said they wanted to sell the Coliseum land and buildings. The state is a part-owner of the buildings, and officials said they were still researching the stakes of other owners.

The Coliseum Commission currently leases the land from the local agricultural association and subleases it to USC.

It's not clear how a Cal Expo sale would impact plans for a new arena. The current arena plan would gradually convert hundreds of acres of vacant land and the state fairgrounds to restaurants, retail, hotels and residences. The land would remain a leased public asset with development coming from private money. Taxes from the businesses planted there would build a new arena for the Kings and new facilities for the fair. But if project fell apart, taxpayers obligated to pick up the pieces.

Although the plan has been sold as a tax-free option, the arena would be built first. That would mean borrowing against future taxes - something only a public agency can do.

VALUE OF COLISEUM DEBATED
May 21, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Los Angeles, Calif. - Observers in Los Angeles are questioning how much money can be raised for state coffers under a plan to sell the Los Angeles Coliseum and other property to make up for shortfalls in revenue.

Previous estimates say the Coliseum land is worth $16 million, but there have been no firm reports on how much the aging venue is worth. The Coliseum Commission that oversees the building earlier rejected a $100 million renovation proposal from the venue's main tenant, the University of Souther California, that gave control of the building to the school. The commission rents the building to the school in exchange for eight percent of ticket sales.

School officials say they might be interested in buying the stadium at the right price.

Commission officials say they aren't interested in selling.

In signing a long-term lease with the Coliseum Commission a year ago, USC agreed to allow the commission to use its name and logos to sell naming rights to the stadium, provided the money generated would be used to upgrade the venue. Various commission members expected such a deal to produce $6 million to $8 million a year.

Starting in 2010, if the renovation is not on track, the school can either opt out of the 25-year lease or pay for the upgrades itself and be repaid with interest.

L.A. COLISEUM TELLS USC IT CAN'T FUND RENOVATION
June 23, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Los Angeles, Calif. - Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission officials acknowledged they are unable to keep their promise to the University of Southern California to make nearly $60 million in sorely needed renovations to the 88-year-old stadium, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The admission leaves the neighboring university with a number of options under its contract for playing Trojan football home games there, the newspaper said.

USC could make renovations on its own instead of paying rent to the commission; it could leave; or it could ask to receive a master lease giving it day-to-day authority over the publicly owned Coliseum. That would have USC oversee repairs, maintenance, the booking of events and require it to pay rent to the commission or the state.

For its part, USC officials signaled that they want to work at staying at the Coliseum.

"USC remains committed to working with the Coliseum Commission to find a way to achieve the improvements needed for the Coliseum to become a first-class stadium once again," Kristina Raspe, USC's associate senior vice president for real estate and asset management, told the newspaper.

In recent months, the Los Angeles Times has reported that a former commission manager, Todd DeStefano, received tens of thousands of dollars in private payments from companies that did business with the commission. DeStefano and the former general manager of the commission, Patrick Lynch, had their homes raided recently by investigators for Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley.

The commission has also frequently been forced to grapple with a shaky budget. It is expected to have an operating loss of $302,000 for the fiscal year that ends June 30.

The Times said "particularly sobering was the disclosure that the commission essentially has no cash reserve. That account has eroded from a high of nearly $12 million in 2008 to $1.6 million now, records show."

Without the money USC provides in leasing the Coliseum for football games - about $1.8 million a year - the commission would fall into the red.

"There is no reserve," Commissioner Rick Caruso said at the commission meeting. "We just have to be honest about it because we're not going to be able to meet the obligations under our lease unless there is a substantial amount of revenue generated."

In 2007, USC offered to invest $100 million in the Coliseum in exchange for the commission giving up day-to-day control of the venue. But the commission rejected the deal with the expectation that naming rights would provide a cash infusion to pay for the improvements and leave the current landlord structure in place.

Interim general manager John Sandbrook told commissioners that the Coliseum's books look stable for at least the next 12 months, the Times reported.

USC'S PLANS COULD IMPACT NFL TEAM IN LOS ANGELES
August 18, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Los Angeles, Calif. - The Los Angeles Times says the University of Southern California could block efforts to have an NFL team play at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum during the three to four years that a proposed football stadium would be under construction downtown.

The Coliseum is home to USC football and the school's lease gives the Trojans veto power over the NFL returning to the stadium, which is across the street from the campus and once hosted the Rams, Raiders and Chargers franchises.

City Councilman Bernard C. Parks, whose district includes the Coliseum, told the Times that a USC administrator told him that the school intends to exercise the veto unless it receives a new "master lease" that would give the private university near-total control of the publicly owned stadium.

Parks, who also sits on the Coliseum's governing commission, said he would oppose such a lease, believing that it would allow USC to keep other events out of the stadium, such as soccer games, Fourth of July celebrations and even a third Olympic Games.

"I do not believe that I could realistically turn over a public facility to a private institution," he said.

The administrator, Thomas Sayles, USC's senior vice president for university relations, told the Times the school is "open to discussions on a mutually beneficial arrangement" regarding an NFL team.

But he added that "for some time we have believed that having a master lease is in the best long-term interests of the community and the university."

"...Under our current lease, we have the right to approve any other team playing football in the Coliseum during our season. We have not been presented with any proposal for another team to play in the Coliseum. If we were to receive a proposal, we would review it."

The clash comes as the Los Angeles City Council, citing the economic benefits of luring a football franchise back to town, voted unanimously to approve a $1.5 billion plan for a downtown stadium and convention center wing. The city would issue $275 million in bonds to help facilitate the project by developer Anschutz Entertainment Group, which already operates Staples Center and the L.A. Live entertainment complex in the same area.

Coliseum Commission President David Israel said he would be surprised if USC tried to deny the city an estimated tens of millions of dollars in annual business activity that would flow from a NFL-Coliseum partnership. If the Coliseum is ruled out, a new NFL team would most likely take up temporary residence at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, a city that has remained on the sidelines in the most recent drive to bring a team to Los Angeles.

Israel said he and other commissioners are willing to consider a broader lease with USC, but not under duress.

"If they want a master lease, they should get a master lease the right way and not by threats and ultimatums," he said.

The Times says lining up a construction-phase stadium could be an important part of the sales pitch to NFL owners, according to officials. The team's owners would have final say on selection of an interim stadium, the officials said.

AEG has met with Pasadena and the city is "very interested," said Rose Bowl General Manager Darryl Dunn.

Parks said AEG Chief Executive Tim Leiweke has indicated in talks with city officials that the company would prefer the Coliseum, if only because it is just down Figueroa Street from Staples Center and L.A. Live, which could cater to pre- and post-game crowds. Parks pushed for language in the city's stadium development agreement that says AEG "shall" use the Coliseum as the team's temporary home, but only if it makes financial sense.

AEG spokesman Michael Roth said the company is looking at all possibilities. "I would not say we have a preference," Roth said.

AEG WOULD USE COLISEUM ONLY WITH USC'S BLESSING
August 25, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Los Angeles, Calif. - AEG's Tim Leiweke, the point man for a new downtown football stadium, told the Los Angeles Times the Coliseum would be in play as a temporary home for a relocated NFL team only if it was USC - and not the Coliseum Commission - that cut the deal.

"There is no way the Coliseum works for us in its current situation, whether a team is playing there for one year or four years, Leiweke told the Times. "There is no way economically we are the engine that drives a renovation.

"Nothing's going to happen at the Coliseum unless it happens through USC. That's just the reality of the situation."

Leiweke also responded sharply to a recent comment by San Diego Chargers attorney Mark Fabiani that it would require a "miracle" for AEG to break ground on a stadium project by next year. The Chargers have been looking for a stadium solution in the San Diego area for almost a decade and are a top relocation candidate.

"I think the problem with the Chargers is, [Fabiani] can sit here and talk about all the things we need to go through," Leiweke said, "but the last time I checked, they've been doing it for 10 years and they're nowhere.

"And the difference between us and them is we've got a guy willing to write a check for a billion. They've got zero financing, zero entitlements, zero design, zero deal with the city, and zero property that ultimately is not contaminated. Good luck."

He added that the Chargers "are not the only belle at the ball."

"I'm not going to say anything negative about their project, and my advice to Mark is he ought to stay focused on his, and let us stay focused on our little miracle up here."

Fabiani, who made the miracle remark to ESPN.com, said the Chargers are currently focused on doing a stadium deal in San Diego and that "our fans deserve to know the barriers that are in the way of all of these projects - including our project here in San Diego. All of these stadium projects, from San Diego, to Los Angeles, to Santa Clara, to Oakland, they have a long way to go."

As for Leiweke's comments about the "zero" progress in San Diego, Fabiani said: "We respectfully disagree with Tim's view of our situation."

Meanwhile, a fight is brewing at the Coliseum between the university and the commission, the venue's landlord. Under the terms of the lease signed in 2008, the commission would complete about $50 million in stadium improvements over a 10-year period, upgrades that were supposed to be financed by the sale of naming rights.

There has been no major naming-rights deal, and the commission has yet to provide USC with a business plan that was due in June 2010 to explain how it intends to pay for the improvements.

That deadline has been extended twice - USC said it will agree to no more extensions - and the new due date is Sept. 30.

Under the terms of the lease, if the commission cannot pay for the improvements, the university can fund them itself and recover that money by withholding rent, the Times said. The commission, then, would not be able to make its rent payments to the state, setting the stage for the school to take control of the stadium by cutting a deal directly with the state.

While stressing that he is not intending to pick a fight with the commission, Leiweke said the only way AEG would negotiate to put a team in the Coliseum on a temporary basis - and he believes it would be AEG and the team's majority owner jointly making that decision - is if USC were calling the shots on the other end. Part of the agreement with the city calls for AEG to make its best effort to use the Coliseum, rather than housing the team in Pasadena.

"There is no question in my mind that if USC has the ability to run that building, we'd be able to make a deal with USC," he said. "I don't think there's a conflict between what we would need for a temporary home and what USC wants for their permanent home. I think it's a very viable option, but a viable option where the path must go through USC."

Bernard Parks, a city councilman and longtime Coliseum commissioner , told the Times AEG cannot force the commission to the sideline just because it prefers to deal with USC.

"They can't ignore the Coliseum Commission," Parks said. "The structure of running the Coliseum and Expo Park is in place with three legislative bodies set in place as a joint powers, clearly by state law, agreed on by the county and the city. They can't bypass that. ... They can't ignore the people who own the facility.

"You can't get an invitation to a party and then say, 'Oh, and I want to bring my cousin.'"

September 8, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

The Coliseum Commission, the nine-member governing body of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, unanimously voted to engage in negotiations with USC on a master lease for the 88-year-old stadium, ESPN reported. An agreement is expected to be reached within 90 days and would give the university the exclusive right to use, manage and operate the stadium.

Daktronics Inc. has manufactured and installed a new high-definition video display for the Los Angeles Coliseum. The new display towers approximately 40 feet high and spans 150 feet long, ranking it among the largest of those in college facilities, the company said. The high definition display is 792 lines of resolution high by 3,000 columns wide with lines of LEDs on 15 mm spacing. The video board can operate as a single giant display or be divided into multiple zones to show a wide variety of statistics, information, graphics, animation and live and recorded video.

USC MOVES CLOSER TO CONTROL OF COLISEUM
December 22, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Los Angeles, Calif. - University of Southern California officials say they are closer to a deal to control operations at Los Angeles Coliseum and hope a new lease can be voted upon by the Coliseum Commission early next year, the Los Angeles Times reported.

USC wants near total operational control of the taxpayer-owned facility in return for guaranteeing that the Trojan football team would remain at the stadium for generations. The school is expected to pour tens of millions of dollars into upgrading the 88-year-old facility southwest of downtown Los Angeles. It has long sought improvements that the cash-strapped Coliseum can't afford.

"We're excited to move forward," Kristina Raspe, USC's associate senior vice president for real estate, said after the meeting.

Coliseum Commission President David Israel said in a statement that the commission and USC "have made great progress towards assuring the Coliseum will remain a vital and vibrant asset."

Israel said commissioners instructed their lawyers "to work with USC officials to achieve a full resolution on all deal points, and prepare a modified lease" to be voted on early next year.

The proposed terms of the deal are secret, although Israel said they will be made public one week before a public vote.

The Times said "USC has been unhappy with the condition of the Coliseum, which lost its last NFL team, the Raiders, in the 1990s. The locker rooms are worn and damaged by water leaks; the plumbing is antiquated. There are too few restrooms, and aging concession areas lack basic equipment, including cash registers and ice machines."

USC OUTLINES TERMS FOR COLISEUM MANAGEMENT
January 12, 2012
Copyright 2012 MediaVentures

Los Angeles, Calif. - The University of Southern California has released its term sheet for a modified lease at the Coliseum that would give it management control, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The 16-page document is nonbinding and the first step toward a lease agreement likely to be negotiated within the next two months. Under the proposed terms, USC would spend more than $50 million to bring the stadium up to campus standards and would make the venue available for community events for a minimum of eight days a year. Typically, the Coliseum has been used for such events two or three times per year.

"It's not a done deal because we still have to negotiate a lease, but assuming this works out, USC would take over the obligation to make the improvements to the venue that will enable future generations to enjoy the facility," said Tom Sayles, USC's senior vice president for university relations.

City Councilman Bernard C. Parks, a commission member, said he believed the lease would give too much control to USC.

"It's not a good deal," Parks said. He said he was pleased the public would have an opportunity to comment on the terms before a final vote.

Commissioners said the deal with USC must happen because the Coliseum can't afford to run the place anymore.

The sheet gives the commission 90 free tickets to USC games and access to a "hospitality area." Also, the staff of about 40 working at the Coliseum now would become university employees.

USC POISED TO TAKE OVER COLISEUM
April 5, 2012
Copyright 2012 MediaVentures

Los Angeles, Calif. - The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is preparing to turn over control of the taxpayer-owned stadium to the University of Southern California under a lease that would deliver it into private hands for up to 42 years, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The deal would essentially end the Coliseum Commission's stewardship of the 88-year-old landmark built as a memorial to World War I veterans whose mismanagement led to a sweeping criminal indictment of key executives last month.

USC would be responsible for staffing, day-to-day operations and event scheduling, among other duties. The government panel, composed of state, county and city appointees, would perform only a limited oversight role.

The confidential lease draft, which the Times obtained, states that the school would receive lucrative naming and advertising rights to the Coliseum. USC could restrict use of the stadium for "public interest" events, such as a community Fourth of July celebration, to eight per year.

The commission has also proposed including its parking lot, its roadside sign on the 110 Freeway and even the companion Sports Arena in the package.

USC would have the options to operate the Sports Arena, hand it back to the panel if the structure became a burden or demolish it to build something like a soccer stadium.

In return, USC would assume about $1 million in annual rent payments that the Coliseum makes to the state, which owns the land. It would maintain the property and complete a host of renovations that would be funded in part with stadium revenues. School officials say the improvements would cost about $70 million.

USC would also pick up costs of a new sound system, video board and some commission administrative tasks.

The commission has conducted the lease negotiations with USC in secrecy and has not released a draft of the agreement. A final vote could come next month.

Commissioners who favor the lease have said the public would win because the agreement calls on USC to refurbish the Coliseum and ensures the stadium's future as home to the school's Trojan football team.

"Without this kind of deal, the Coliseum is going to be a museum piece," said county Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, a commissioner.

In a statement, Thomas Sayles, senior vice president for University Relations at USC, said: "Our goal is to make the Coliseum a proud landmark and gathering place for all Angelenos. We support public disclosure and discussion of all lease terms before any deal is approved."

The commissioners have negotiated a few sweeteners for themselves. They would get the equivalent of 10 free tickets each to every Trojan contest at the stadium, plus premium parking, as well as access to a VIP hospitality area on game days.

And USC would try to score the commissioners free tickets for any NFL games played at the Coliseum. A commission attorney said the gift of tickets follows a longtime policy that says panel members need to monitor stadium operations.

Last month, criminal charges were filed against three former Coliseum managers, two prominent rave concert promoters and a stadium janitorial contractor. The district attorney's investigation into a rash of alleged bribery, kickbacks and conflicts of interest grew out of Times reports on financial irregularities at the stadium.

AUDIT CRITICAL OF COLISEUM MANAGEMENT
April 19, 2012
Copyright 2012 MediaVentures

Los Angeles, Calif. - The Los Angeles Times says a new city report assails officials in charge of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for failing to impose even basic financial controls, allowing the routine squandering of public money and permitting corruption to take root in "a dysfunctional and risk-prone culture."

On the Coliseum Commission's watch, $870,000 was sent to South America for soccer matches that were never held, according to an audit released by City Controller Wendy Greuel's office. In addition, a Coliseum contractor received millions in payments even though he had no contract, and a stadium staffer was paid for working 25 hours in a single day.

Auditors also found that the commissioners gave their former general manager, Patrick Lynch, an annual bonus of $125,000 for several years without requiring him to undergo a performance review.

"Today's findings are of a historic magnitude," Greuel said at a news conference. "Although I have conducted more than 50 audits, the egregiousness that was discovered at the Coliseum is one for the record books."

The 70-page report says the commission, made up of three L.A. County supervisors and three appointees each from the city and state, freed Lynch to manage the taxpayer-owned stadium in a setting "void of essential formal policies, procedures and protocols."

"The tone at the top was not suitable for a government entity," the report says.

In response, Commission President David Israel and Supervisor Don Knabe, a commission member, acknowledged in a letter to Greuel that the panel applied "insufficient oversight" to Coliseum managers. But the two also faulted Greuel, saying that financial abuses could have been avoided if she had used her authority to audit the Coliseum earlier. "There is plenty of blame to go around," the letter says.

Citing the Coliseum's charter, Greuel said the commission had the responsibility to request an audit and never did. She said that in February 2011, after the Times began reporting on financial irregularities at the Coliseum, her office offered to conduct an audit and the commission did not respond. Eventually, the controller insisted on an audit.

Lynch was one of six people charged last month in a 29-count indictment alleging bribery, embezzlement and conspiracy by former Coliseum managers, rave concert promoters and a janitorial contractor at the stadium. Lynch has pleaded guilty to a single count of conflict of interest, avoiding trial and a possible lengthy prison term.

STATE MAY HOLD UP L.A. COLISEUM LEASE
May 10, 2012
Copyright 2012 MediaVentures

Los Angeles, Calif. - The Los Angeles Times said the state appeared to be ready to put the brakes on the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission's proposed lease deal with the University of South California as a panel posted losses of more than $7 million since 2009.

An emissary of Gov. Jerry Brown, making an unusual appearance to discuss the subject in Los Angeles, said state officials want to be satisfied that the deal is the best one possible for the taxpayers who own the venue. She said the state was disinclined to rush an agreement to meet the Coliseum's requested deadline for action by the end of June.

"The state won't be rubber-stamping ... what the commission has negotiated or agreed to. We've identified some concerns," such as control of the property's revenue-rich parking lots, said Anna M. Caballero, Brown's secretary of the State and Consumer Services Agency and the governor's point person on the Coliseum issue.

She spoke at a monthly meeting at the California Science Center, the state agency that owns the land under the Coliseum. The 88-year-old stadium is jointly held by the state, county and city.

Later in the day, the Coliseum Commission released financial statements showing losses of $2.4 million in fiscal 2009-10 and $4.8 million the next year. Late last year, Commission President David Israel disputed Times reports that the Coliseum was losing money.

An independent auditor attributed the steepest losses to the departure of rave concerts after the 2010 death of 15-year-old Sasha Rodriguez, who overdosed at a Coliseum rave; unexpected legal and consulting expenses; underestimated insurance and depreciation costs; and the discovery that assets were missing.

Negotiated in the wake of a corruption scandal at the Coliseum, the proposed lease would surrender day-to-day control of the property to USC. The private university has promised to invest $70 million to renovate the dilapidated stadium in return for the right to run it for 99 years and control its revenue. Outside experts have called the deal extraordinary, saying USC would reap most of the benefit.

In an interview, Caballero said taxpayers must also benefit from any arrangement the state approves. Proceeds from the Coliseum aid the free state-run museums at Exposition Park, such as the California African American Museum and the Science Center, which will soon receive the retired space shuttle Endeavour to put on exhibit.

USC and the Coliseum Commission a nine-member panel with state, county and city representatives have been negotiating since September. Now, the university needs the state's Science Center board to sign off on concessions it wants to complete a deal: the length of the agreement, a pledge to support the lease even if the Coliseum Commission goes bankrupt and control of six state-owned parking lots that surround the stadium.

Caballero said USC has told the state it would need additional parking if the Coliseum was improved and attendance increased. But she said the state, which takes in more than $4 million in annual parking revenue, needs to protect the museums. The proceeds pay for Exposition Park maintenance, lighting and security and assist the museums.

"The parking lots become the moving piece that's really critical," Caballero said. The Coliseum Commission is expected to vote on the lease at a special meeting May 14.

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