LA Coliseum Renderings Are Safe, But Exactly What USC Needs


After years of debate and board room proceedings, USC’s control of the LA Coliseum has resulted in a formal plan to renovate the 92-year old stadium by the start of the 2019 season.

RELATED: LA Coliseum Renovation Plans Revealed By USC

The renderings, released Thursday afternoon, depict a classically restored Coliseum with modernized facilities, much in the same vain as the projects completed at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, and Olympiastadion in Berlin.

Fans worrying about a Soldier Field-esque monstrosity can rest easy. USC clearly prioritized maintaining the classicism of the Coliseum, all while spending $270 million building an enlarged structure on the south end that features three levels of luxury suites, a bank of club seats and a state-of-the-art press box.

The days of the Audi Suites are numbered, making a surprisingly steep reduction of roughly 15,000 seats mostly palatable.

That’s because while USC had the option of going with a radical demolition and building an entirely modern facility, they opted to go conservative and keep the Coliseum the Coliseum.

It’s been the home to USC football since its opening in 1923 and is arguably the most historic sports venue in the world, outside of its namesake in Rome.

It’s iconic. It’s a Nationally Historic Landmark that’s hosted a pair of Olympic games, two Super Bowls, a World Series, a season of the XFL and an estimated 98 percent of all sports-related beer commercials.

They needed to go with a perfected restoration and update of the Coliseum, not go out and try to out-do the NFL’s seemingly inevitable return to Los Angeles.

It’s the Coliseum.

Changing the shape, structure and overall vibe would not only be a significant undertaking, forcing USC to find a temporary home, but would be a costly endeavor that would radically change a Trojan gameday.

They needed to go with a perfected restoration and update of the Coliseum, not go out and try to out-do the NFL’s seemingly inevitable return to Los Angeles. And the renderings do just that, taking the classic nature of the Coliseum and bringing it into the 21 Century, as opposed to taking a hatchet to what was once there.

It’s the same strategy employed at Fenway Park and Wrigley Field to rave reviews. USC continues that trend, while setting themselves up for the long haul with financial flexibility.

One of the most noteworthy aspects of the renderings is the maintaining of the Sun Deck on the east end of the Coliseum, along with far-out seating flanking the sides of the Peristyle. Both of those seating areas were under consideration of removal, as athletic director Pat Haden acknowledged restructuring last year.

“We want a more intimate environment to improve our home-field advantage by bringing our fans closer to the game,” Haden said.

But for now, the Sun Deck and east end zone seating appears here to stay for now, and that’s not the end of the world for USC.

Rendering of the LA Coliseum renovations, via USC Athletics.

By keeping the general orientation of the playing surface, which has been off-center since the track was removed in 1993, the school keeps the possibility of the 2024 Summer Olympics returning to the Coliseum.

Had the new design created a football-only facility, with a tucked-in Peristyle end and cantilevered seats, it would have been much more difficult to allow room the re-insertion of a track, along with additional temporary seating on the steps of the Peristyle.

The way the design is situated, USC has plenty of options for future renovations should they choose to go down those paths. And several pathways to an abundance of capital have been opened.

It can start with hosting an NFL team for two seasons by as early as 2016, finding a naming rights sponsor as soon as possible, profiting off of personal seat licences for premium seating, and potentially coming to an agreement with the U.S. International Olympic Committee to host the 2024 games, with upwards of an additional $300 million for renovations as reported by the LA Times in August.

SEE MORE: LA Coliseum To Undergo Major Renovations For Olympic Bid

So essentially, what you see now is what you get. But it’s also only the beginning of the modernization of the entire process.

USC football, long bantered about as a jewel on the college football landscape, is finally entering the realm of the elite when it comes to profiting.

Gone is the antiquated Pac-10 revenue sharing deal. In are brand new facilities. And soon to arrive is a freshened-up Coliseum that should become a cash cow for USC, all while eliminating the eyesore that was the Audi Suites.

Yes, fans take a hit with a reduction of seating capacity, but more revenue streams mean the pathway to an ultimately superior product program-wide. That needs to be the goal for now.

Filling the seats and finding a way to amplify sound should be next on the agenda.