Commission must approve $270M Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum renovation

ByKyle Bonagura ESPN logo
Monday, November 2, 2015

USC announced plans Thursday for a privately funded $270 million renovation of Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which is expected to be completed in time for the 2019 football season.

The project, which still needs approval from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission, would reduce the 92-year-old stadium's capacity from 93,607 to 77,500 and rely on funding from "capital gifts, sponsorship revenue, non-USC events at the Coliseum and donor naming opportunities," the school announced.

"We are committed to providing our players, coaches and fans with one of the best facilities in the nation," USC athletic director Pat Haden said in a statement. "This needed renovation to a stadium built in 1923 will ensure that the game-day experience gives all fans options to enjoy the stadium's new amenities while recognizing the loyalty of our long-time fans.

"It also will provide our football team with a first-class facility and a home field advantage."

Under USC's lease agreement with the Coliseum commission, a government entity established in 1945 under a joint powers authority agreement among the city of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County and the California Science Center (state of California), it is required to invest $100 million toward stadium improvements by 2054, including $70 million in the next 10 years.

Should the commission approve the renovation, which is widely expected, construction would begin following the 2017 football season and finish before the season opener in 2019. The Trojans would still play at the Coliseum during the 2018 season.

"The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is a treasure not just for Los Angeles but for the state of California, and its renovation is long overdue," USC president C.L. Max Nikias said in a statement. "Our Board of Trustees has enthusiastically endorsed our plans and we are pleased to now present them to the Coliseum Commission.

"We believe these renovations will strengthen the Coliseum's reputation as one of the world's great venues, and also will enhance our world-class athletic programs that utilize the Coliseum."

Proposed renovations, as shown in renderings, don't substantially change the look and feel of the stadium, which has hosted USC football since it was built. The most significant changes from an aesthetics standpoint are to the south side of the stadium, where suites, loge boxes, club seats, a new concourse and a new press box will be constructed.

Every seat will be replaced, and the reduced capacity will be a result of more aisles, wider seats and more legroom, according to the statement.