United Airlines offered Friday to withdraw from the $69 million deal that would rename the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to United Airlines Memorial Coliseum. The new name was made in agreement with USC as part of the $270 million renovation that was announced last year.
Upon the announcement that the Coliseum would be renamed, the airline faced criticism. Given that the Coliseum’s original name has honored World War I troops, critics said that a corporate name would be a disrespectful alternative.
United Airlines California president Janet Lamkin wrote in a letter to USC official Todd Dickey that the company is willing to take heed to the criticism.
“If USC is not in a position to honor the terms of the agreement, including in particular the name change, United would be amenable to abiding by the wishes of the community, stepping away from this partnership with USC and mutually terminating the agreement,” Lamkin wrote.
However, Lamkin wrote that the name change remained crucial to the agreement and had good intentions.
“From United’s perspective, the agreed-upon new name is the key provision of our sponsorship agreement with USC, underscoring our deep commitment to the community and its cherished institutions,” Lamkin wrote.
The University released a statement Friday evening saying that it would be willing to explore a modified name change.
“USC would be amenable to accepting the wishes of the veteran community to modify the proposed naming agreement to United Airlines Field at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum if United Airlines is agreeable to that name change and the resulting modification to the naming rights agreement,” the statement read.
In an opinion piece for the Los Angeles Times on Monday, Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn criticized the new name, claiming that the Coliseum had special significance that would .
“Unlike other modern sports venues, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is not just a stadium — it is a war memorial,” Hahn wrote. “Removing ‘Los Angeles’ and replacing it with a corporate sponsor insults the memories of those the Coliseum was intended to honor.”