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L.A. Coliseum Officials Preparing To Turn Over Control Of Venue To USC

L.A. Coliseum Officials Preparing To Turn Over Control Of Venue To USC


USC would be responsible for Coliseum's staffing, day-to-day operations
L.A. Memorial Coliseum officials are "preparing to turn over control of the taxpayer-owned stadium" to Univ. of Southern California under a lease that "would deliver it into private hands for up to" 42 years, according to Pringle & Lin II of the L.A. TIMES. The deal would "essentially end the Coliseum Commission's stewardship" of the 88-year-old landmark, whose "mismanagement led to a sweeping criminal indictment of key executives last month." USC would be "responsible for staffing, day-to-day operations and event scheduling, among other duties." The confidential lease draft states that the university would "receive lucrative naming and advertising rights to the Coliseum." USC could "restrict use of the stadium for 'public interest' events, such as a community Fourth of July celebration, to eight per year." The commission has "also proposed including its parking lot, its roadside sign on the 110 Freeway and even the companion Sports Arena in the package." USC would have the "options to operate the Sports Arena, hand it back to the panel if the structure became a burden or demolish it to build something like a soccer stadium." In return, USC would "assume about" $1M in "annual rent payments that the Coliseum makes to the state, which owns the land." It would "maintain the property and complete a host of renovations that would be funded in part with stadium revenues." University officials said that the "improvements would cost about" $70M. The commission has "conducted the lease negotiations with USC in secrecy and has not released a draft of the agreement." The panel "takes up the matter at its monthly meeting" today; a final vote "could come next month." SAFE Sports Management President and former Coliseum Commissioner W. Jerome Stanley said that USC will be a "smarter Coliseum manager than the commission has been, but he expressed regrets that the proposed lease would kill any hope of a permanent NFL tenant." The terms "generally require USC to cooperate with efforts to place a pro football franchise at the Coliseum temporarily while a new NFL stadium is built elsewhere" in L.A. But USC would have the right to "veto the arrival of an NFL team that would pose security or safety problems, a veiled reference to the Raiders, who had a reputation for drawing unruly fans" (L.A. TIMES, 4/4).

PREPARING TO BUILD: ESPN L.A.'s Arash Markazi noted construction on Farmers Field, the $1.1B proposed football stadium in downtown L.A., "could begin as early as" March 2013, but AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke said that if there is "no movement on the project within two years of that date, plans for the stadium will likely be abandoned." Leiweke said that plans for Farmers Field are "currently on track." If "everything goes according to plan, Farmers Field would be shovel-ready by March, similar to a competing stadium proposed by" Majestic Realty Chair & CEO Ed Roski in the City of Industry, which has "been ready to push dirt" since '09. Leiweke said that if a deal "can't be made to move a team" to L.A. and "begin construction on Farmers Field in two years, AEG's focus would shift to remodeling" the L.A. Convention Center without the stadium. NFL by-laws state that the commissioner "must receive written notice from a team wishing to relocate and that the notice must be filed no later than Feb. 15 of the year in which the move is scheduled to occur." Leiweke said that this date "over the next two years will be critical to the fate of Farmers Field and the return of the NFL" to L.A. Leiweke: "What I'm going to tell you is we won't be sitting here in February 2016 still chasing Farmers Field." Markazi wrote it is "also important to note that even when a team does commit to moving" to L.A., construction on Farmers Field "could take as long as four years to complete while the team plays in either the Rose Bowl or the Coliseum in the interim" (, 4/3).

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