Commission grants USC control of Coliseum

Following eight months of negotiations, USC obtained day-to-day control of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in a vote by the Coliseum Commission on Monday.

The stadium’s nine-member governing body, represented by officials from the state, county, and city, voted 8-1 to surrender control of the facility, along with the adjacent L.A. Sports Arena to the university for at least 20 years. The sole dissenting vote was cast by Los Angeles City Councilmember Bernard Parks, who has long opposed the amended lease as currently drafted.

The lease has five renewal options beyond the initial 20 years that would allow USC to control the publicly owned stadium through 2054, although the commission will continue to oversee both facilities.

“We look forward to restoring the Coliseum to its former glory and ensuring its viability for many generations to come,” said Thomas Sayles, USC’s senior vice president for university relations, in a statement. “We believe this agreement will once again make the Coliseum a proud landmark and gathering place for all Angelenos.”

USC will be tasked with event scheduling, along with funding various improvements and restorations that are expected to total approximately $70 million. As a result, the university will be given control over revenue and will be allowed to negotiate the sale of the naming rights to the Coliseum.

USC’s football team has been a tenant at the stadium since the Coliseum’s opening in May 1923.

In June 2011, the commission acknowledged it would be unable to make nearly $60 million in necessary renovations to the Coliseum, breaking the terms of the original lease with USC signed in 2008, which led the university to seek day-to-day management of the venue and the neighboring Sports Arena.

Negotiations began in September, and a terms sheet was released in January that outlined several modifications to the original lease.

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