With a vote of 8-1, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission today approved a lease agreement with the University of Southern California that will give the university control of day-to-day operations of the stadium and neighboring Sports Arena for as long as 42 years.
Commissioner and City Councilman Bernard Parks was the only one to vote against the deal. In a 24-page letter he submitted to the commission, he expressed his opposition to the deal. Among his concerns, he didn’t like the idea of including a provision giving USC exclusive revenue for naming rights. He also opposed limiting the number of public events that can be held at the Coliseum, saying it didn’t include enough benefits to the surrounding community.
Parks has previously argued the process has been rushed. On his website, he states “Concerns over the preservation, accessibility and responsibility of the Coliseum are warranted, especially given the secretive nature in which this process has taken place.”
Negotiations between the commission and USC began in September.
Under the terms of the lease, the commission continues to oversee both buildings, but USC will control day-to-day operations, including scheduling of events and possible naming rights negotiations.
The state of California actually owns the land on which the Coliseum and Sports Arena sits. The state leased the land under a 100-year agreement that expires in 2054. The deal with USC gives the university an initial term of 20 years, with five renewal options that could extend it to 2054.
USC officials have said they’re committed to investing more than $70 million to replace the seats, fix the locker rooms and make any other renovations that may be needed.
Management of the Coliseum has been under scrutiny for months. Recently, six former Coliseum managers or contractors were indicted, charged with conspiracy, bribery and embezzlement, accused of stealing millions of dollars.