L.A. Coliseum naming rights for sale

Today's Wall Street Journal reports that the Coliseum Commission is ready to entertain offers for the rights to put a name on the city's most hallowed stadium.

A rich history has made the Coliseum's boosters bullish. They are predicting a deal valued at $6 million to $8 million a year. Plans call for spending more than $100 million during the next decade to buy a new video board and construct new bathrooms, concession areas and locker rooms at the 92,000-seat stadium.

"People don't get how valuable these naming rights could be," said David Israel, chairman of the Coliseum Commission.

The stadium was named for veterans of World War I and is known for its 15 majestic arches at one end of the stadium, the largest of which is 44 feet high and has held the Olympic flame. Carl Lewis first struck gold at the 1984 Olympics at the Coliseum, and Billy Graham preached to more than 134,000 people there in 1963.

The naming rights have cachet, even in an economic slowdown, because the Coliseum is home field to one of the country's perennial college football powers and is the main outdoor venue in Los Angeles, said Jeff Knapple, principal of Los Angeles sports-and-entertainment company Wasserman Media Group and the man charged with selling the Coliseum's name.

Civic heresy.

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