USC Football: USC Gets Operational Control of the Coliseum, But Risk State Involvement


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After much talk, speculation and drama, USC has obtained operational control of the LA Memorial Coliseum after an 8-1 vote handed over the keys to the university, according to KFI.

"The board voted 8-1, with Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard Parks casting the lone dissenting vote. Negotiations between the commission and USC began in September and a term sheet for the deal was released in January. Under the lease, the commission continues to oversee both buildings, but USC will control day-to-day operations, including scheduling of events and possible naming rights negotiations. The land on which the Coliseum and Sports Arena sit is leased from the state under a 100-year agreement that expires in 2054. The lease with USC has an initial term of 20 years, with five renewal options that could extend it to 2054."

Getting to manage the Coliseum’s use is an enormous victory for USC, President Max Nikias, and the surrounding parties. By having operational control, SC can determine what’s profitable, what’s a detterant to USC Football’s use of the venue, as well as it allows future decisions to be made on the Sports Arena.

But, while the lease is major victory for the Trojans at the moment, it could become a moot point, should the Coliseum Commission disband amidst a finanical scandal that’s raised allegations of embezzlement. Should that become a reality, the 100-year deal struct in the 1950s would cease to exist, bringing the State of California back into the fold.

The Trojans would have plenty of leverage with Farmers Field scheduled to be erected by the summer of 2016 and the state is reeling in budget concerns. Today’s motion puts the NFL on the docket, as it “includes a provision that allows the temporary use of the Coliseum by an NFL team if necessary”, but that’s something USC would like to avoid, even if the NFL would bring in leverage in the form of Farmers Field.

For now, however, USC has the ability to market the Coliseum how they’d like, taking advantage of new revenue streams and put the university in a position to move forward with small phases of renovations, like replacing the seating throughout the bowl.