Coming to Terms: The Los Angeles Coliseum

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 13, 2008 -- The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission and USC today signed a letter of intent [LOI] setting forth key business terms that will become the basis of a new 25-year lease agreement.

USC Football Stays at the Coliseum

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is USC Football

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is USCfootball. The coliseum has hosted two Olympics and is home to the USC football team. It is located just south of Exposition Boulevard and is a stone throw from USC. The stadium is owned by the State of California and is leased and managed by the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission. At the end of the 2007 football season, the Coliseum Commission and USC dug in their heals and started to posture themselves after not being able to come to terms on a long-term lease between the two entities. USC threatened to move its home games to the Rose Bowl. After several weeks of negotiation, the sides have come to a tentative agreement.

The Coliseum was declared is a National Historic landmark and was given this designation on the eve of the 1984 Olympics. There is simply too much athletic history at the coliseum and USC football history for the sides to not come to an agreement. This afternoon, the Coliseum Commission and USC came together in a public forum to celebrate an agreement – USC will play its home football games there for at least the next twenty-five years. While the final terms of the agreement needs to be ratified, there is no reason why Troy should not call the coliseum its home. Forever.

The commission has pledged to apply $50-million in improvements. While the stadium has seen its days, there is still no other home stadium on the West Coast that has more history and grace as ‘The Old Gray Lady.' USC will now have the rights to have a bargaining position, or a voice in allowing an NFL team to occupy the coliseum. Truthfully, although it would help the Coliseum, USC and the City of Los Angeles to have an NFL team play there, in all likelihood, an NFL team will never play there again.

Given the NFL's apparent lack of concern for placing a professional team in Los Angeles, it is probably in the interest of USC and the Coliseum Commission to come to terms and let the NFL do as it pleases. It is baffling as to why the NFL has not re-entered the second-largest media market in the United States.

The following is a press release from the University of Southern California:

USC Reaches Tentative Deal With Coliseum Commission

Memorandum of Understanding Provides "Significant Step Forward"

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 13, 2008 -- The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission and USC today signed a letter of intent [LOI] setting forth key business terms that will become the basis of a new 25-year lease agreement.

The LOI commits USC and the Commission to negotiating a final, binding lease agreement within 60 days.

"Signing of this document is a significant step forward in USC's efforts to repair and restore the Coliseum and ensure that USC is able to continue its long football tradition at this historic facility," said USC Senior Vice President for Administration Todd R. Dickey. "We would like to thank the members of the Coliseum Commission, the Governor, and the Mayor for their commitment to this vision.

"This is an important step toward a newly reinvigorated and mutually supportive relationship between USC and the Coliseum Commission."

The document was signed by Dickey and Coliseum Commission members after a meeting of the Commission at the Coliseum.


Among the provisions accepted by both parties in the 22-page document are:

- USC will receive a 25-year term lease with options to extend up to 47 years.

- USC will pay a facility rent equivalent to 8 percent of all gross ticket sales for home football games.

- USC will pay 50 percent of game day expenses within the stadium.

- USC will pay the Coliseum Commission 8 percent of revenue collected from live television broadcast of football games which are attended by less than 70,000 people.

- Minimum capacity for the stadium on game days will be 90,000 or more permanent seats.

- USC will retain right of consent over any amateur or professional football team desiring to play in the Coliseum.

- USC and the Coliseum Commission will cooperate in a Commission-led effort to acquire a naming rights sponsor for the facility.

- The Coliseum Commission will implement a program of substantial capital improvements to replace and upgrade the sound and lighting system, upgrade elevators and escalators, upgrade and add additional restroom facilities, upgrade and add concession areas, replace fencing around the facility, replace all of the seating, replace the field and drainage system, upgrade the locker rooms, upgrade the video and score boards on the Peristyle end of the facility and add an additional video/score board to the west end of the Coliseum. Numerous life safety improvements will also be implemented.

- USC will also have representation on the Coliseum Commission.

The LOI was a necessary precursor to final negotiations of a formal, binding lease agreement. After 60 days, if there is no final signed lease, USC retains the rights to play its fall 2008 games elsewhere – or to sign a one-year lease extension with the Coliseum Commission to play the 2008 season games at the Coliseum.


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