The Galen Center, which opened in 2006, has hosted concerts in the past, most recently hosting a performance by Drake last May. Nederlander Concerts has organized concerts in venues such as the Greek Theatre, the Pantages Theatre and the Santa Barbara Bowl.
The Gibson Amphitheatre, one of Nederlander’s partner venues, will close in September. Nederlander CEO Alex Hodges said the closing meant finding a new indoor venue to replace the Gibson Amphitheatre.
“The Gibson Amphitheatre was one of the iconic venues in the 6,000-seat range in Los Angeles, and with that going away we saw a great opportunity,” Hodges said.
Hodges said the deal, which was finalized approximately three months ago, has been in the making for years.
“I thought of the idea a couple years ago and met with bodies on campus and did my first walk -through a couple of years ago,” Hodges said.
Senior Associate Athletic Director for Football J.K. McKay said the Galen Center was built with the idea of hosting outside events, particularly concerts.
The Galen Center, which is home to the university’s volleyball and basketball teams, has hosted non-sports events in the past. It was home to the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards two years ago. Most recently, the Los Angeles auditions for Fox’s The X-Factor took place there.
While the venue will be open to more entertainment and concert events, McKay said hosting sports events takes precedence.
“Our athletic teams come first, their dates take priority in all cases, as do their practice times,” McKay said. “We’re only going to do these events when they work in our schedule and they don’t disrupt our teams.”
Authorities from both Nederlander Concerts and the Galen Center said they hope to bring in performers that will appeal to students. McKay said students will also have first priority to purchase tickets.
“We absolutely want to attract students,” Hodges said. “[We want] students and alumni to have some activity on campus that’s new and contemporary with music artists and concerts. I think it’s good for everybody.”
Galen Center management will have control over approving or rejecting possible performers.
“We’d like to do more concerts because we think our students will like it and we’re going to try to bring in events that they’re interested in,” McKay said.
Some students said they are excited by the possibility of having more concerts near campus.
“It’ll be a great opportunity for USC students to experience more live music,” said Selena Ng, a freshman business administration major and music industry minor.
“It will certainly be more convenient because it’s right there,” said Rica Maestas, a freshman cognitive science major. “As far as will the concerts be better, I’m not sure. We’ll have to see.”