The LA Coliseum renovation is still years away from completion, but USC football fans will get a taste in 2017. The installation of two new videoboards in the Peristyle end of the Coliseum is done.
A major part of the LA Coliseum renovation is the restoration of the Peristyle in the east end zone of the nearly 100-year-old stadium. The iconic architecture features the torch of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games, and arches paying homage to the original Colosseum in Rome.
USC began the process in March by removing a pair of scoreboards on top of the Peristyle. Originally installed in 1983 after the arrival of the Raiders, the boards brought a much-needed touch of technology to the Coliseum, but were an albatross atop of the classical Peristyle.
The outdated boards have been replaced by a pair of HD displays from Daktronics in the seldom-used upper corners of the east end zone. A front-facing game clock has also been replaced on the Peristyle itself.
The new videoboards serve as the first tangible phase of USC’s sweeping Coliseum renovation and should improve game experience by ensuring every fan has a direct sight line to a large video display.
In April, Reign of Troy noted the beginning of the undertaking, which was already well underway by the Spring Game. Now, let’s walk through the installation of the videoboards, as seen on the Coliseum’s live construction cam provided by OxBlue.
May 10-11: Work on the framing of the northeast videoboard begins, with two load-bearing columns placed into previously built bases.
May 18: Just 10 days after the framing of the northeast videoboard began, the first panels of the display screen are installed.
May 21: The final sections of the northeast videoboard’s display are lifted into the Coliseum.
May 27: The Coliseum hosts an international friendly soccer match between Mexico and Croatia, with the new clock being used on the face of the Peristyle. The southeast videoboard’s framework is complete. The display would be installed just four days later.
June 9: With the videoboards fully installed, Daktronics began testing the displays in early June.
It’s taken just a couple months, but the Coliseum is already looking spiffier with a Peristyle free of two large eyesores. USC expects to complete the full extent of the project by the end of June.
Now comes a mildly interesting part.
The Coliseum renovation’s 16,107-seat reduction measures the loss of capacity from 2016 to 2019. The soon-to-be-built and controversial Scholarship Tower will account for nearly half of the downsizing, while being responsible for almost all of the scorn from fans disgruntled with the project.
The rest of the reduction is an accumulation of much-needed utility upgrades, like additional leg room, new aisles in various sections and the installation of the new videoboards.
The Coliseum’s 2017 capacity will give a direct answer to the exact number of lost seats from the videoboards, since the full scope of the renovations won’t begin until January 2018.
Their location in the undesirable and benched corners of the east end aren’t a contentious part of the Coliseum renovation. Depending on how many rows of benches USC decides to ultimately remove and/or deem unsalable, the boards likely won’t trim capacity by more than 1,500.