USC planning for $270M facelift for Coliseum; Olympics, NFL next?
The University of Southern California announced preliminary plans Thursday for extensive renovations for the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum that could make it a stage for the 2024 Olympic Games and a temporary site for an NFL team next year.
The $270 million face-lift for the home field of Trojan football would bring the nearly century-old, bowl-shaped stadium into the era of premium suites and boxes, while adding more aisles and new seating for every ticketholder. Some new seats would be wider. Renderings are available here.
The sound system, Wi-Fi and video would be upgraded, along with new lighting in the stands and field, while historic features of the stadium would be retained.
"Everybody is going to get a new, great fan experience," USC athletic director Pat Haden told reporters. "You don’t have to climb over 18 people to get a hot dog."
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School officials stressed the proposal is preliminary and USC will need to raise money to do the work through gifts, sponsorships, donor naming rights and other sources.
Construction is not expected to begin until after the 2017 USC football season and could be completed by the start of the 2019 season.
The NFL is considering moving into the Los Angeles market after a two-decade absence.
The Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers are planning a shared stadium in Carson, near Los Angeles, if both teams fail to get new stadiums in their current hometowns.
Meanwhile, St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke is part of a development group planning to build a stadium in Inglewood, roughly 10 miles from downtown Los Angeles.
If the league approves a move to Los Angeles by one or more teams, temporary game sites would be needed until stadium construction concludes.
Todd Dickey, USC’s senior vice president, said the NFL has "strongly indicated" the league would like a team to play at the Coliseum in 2016, possibly for two or three seasons.
Los Angeles also is trying to lure the 2024 Olympic Games, and USC officials said the stadium could be adapted for track and field events, although it would require burying an area covering 14 rows of seats to accommodate a track.
That area would have to be dug out after the Games and restored for football seating.
"It’s just a lot of hauling" dirt, Dickey said.
Casey Wasserman, who heads the committee pursuing the Games for Los Angeles, said the group was confident a renovated Coliseum would be the ideal location for an innovative and sustainable Olympics.
USC operates the stadium, built on public land, under a long-term lease.