USC and Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission Enter Final Stages of Lease Negotiations


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It’s been long process, but USC is inching towards the end of their legal battles at securing day-to-day operation of the prized Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. In a press release published on, athletic director Pat Haden asked for community involvement in public hearings on the terms of a memorandum of understanding with the State of California over the use of the parking lots and their relation to the lease with the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission.

The meetings, which will be held on May 30th, June 1st and June 5th come before a final vote, also on June 5th, where the state will vote on whether or not they will put the lease into action.

The memorandum of understanding or ‘MOU’ outlines several terms of the lease agreement, as well the use of the parking lots, due to their ownership by the state and not the Coliseum Commission. Here’s a few key points from MOU (which can be read here):

  • The Coliseum Commission leases both the Coliseum and the Sports Arena to USC until 2054. The caveat is that USC must invest at least $70 million of capital into improvements of the 90-year-old Olympic stadium.
  • USC can demolish the Sports Arena, but not until two years after the lease goes into effect and only if they can make the case to the Coliseum Commission and the Science Center that it’s not profitable.
  • Redevelopment of the Sports Arena grounds “will be subject to the approval of the Science Center Board in its sole discretion.”
  • USC not only has priority scheduling for the Coliseum of USC football games, but of potential future NFL games, as well. They also get a total of 25 days of ‘major events’ per year, which the MOU defines as events drawing 25,000 visitors. Counting a spring game, Pac-12 Championship game and NFL home dates, that could be upwards of 21 football games in a calendar year.
  • The state will continue to own and operate parking lots, though USC gets a permit for all lots on gamedays, with the exception of reserved zones for the museums. Weekday games would require USC to allow for school buses to be parked on the grounds until three hours before kickoff.
  • In 2013 only, the state will fully control the lots on gamedays, charging $25 per car. In 2014, USC will manage and operate the lots for it’s own events, as noted above.
  • All revenues that USC generates from their permitted control of the parking lots on gamedays or events must go back into the maintenance of the Coliseum and Sports Arena.

So with that, the groundwork is laid for USC to finally bring forth the light renovations they’ve been suggesting for years, including installing new seatback seating throughout the bowl of the Coliseum and plans for the redeveloping of the Sports Arena area.

Now, it just comes down to whether or not the state can vote to ratify the deal.