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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

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USC Negotiates Coliseum Management Deal

The lease, which would give the university full management rights, is expected to be voted on next month.

The Los Angeles Memorial Colisem (Photo by ATVN).
The Los Angeles Memorial Colisem (Photo by ATVN).

Come next month, the Coliseum could be official Trojan territory.

USC is working with the Coliseum Commission to draft a lease agreement giving the university full management rights for up to 42 years.

USC would pay a $1 million leasing fee to the state and assume control of leasing out the Coliseum.

Furthermore, the university could restrict the arena's use for public events to eight per year. USC would be responsible for renovating the facility, which according to Coliseum Interim General Manager John Sandbrook was an important deciding factor in letting USC assume management.

“The coliseum commission is not in a position, revenue wise, to have the money to put into the building,” said Sandbrook. “While this is a publicly owned facility, the public has not supported the building in the same way it supports the museums or Exposition Park.”

USC has offered its resources to fix up the stadium, which has had the same chairs since 1964, few or no handrails and has been experiencing plumbing and electrical issues, according to Sandbrook.

The university has been the arena’s longest tenant, hosting football games there annually since its construction in 1923.

Five years ago, USC came close to taking over management, making a $100 million offer which was ultimately denied by the Commission.

Coliseum management has had a problematic past few months, with former general manager Patrick Lynch, former events manager Todd DeStefano, former technology manager Leopold Caudillo Jr., Insomniac Inc. Chief Executive Pasquale Rotella, and Go Ventures Inc. owner Reza Gerami all awaiting trial for a major bribery and kickback scheme uncovered last year.

However, Sandbrook insists that this had nothing to do with the decision to re-approach USC’s management offer now.

“We’re focused on what should be done for the future of the Coliseum, and we’ll let the appropriate law enforcement authorities deal with the issues of the past,” Sandbrook said.

Currently, lawyers are drafting a lease agreement that will detail USC’s management takeover, which would additionally give them advertising and naming rights over the facility. The movement will go before the Coliseum Commission for a final vote next month.

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