Coliseum in the early years. Los Angeles Public Library/Security Pacific National Bank Collection.
The University of Southern California controls the once-public Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum these days, and reportedly has chosen Fox Sports to sell naming rights to LA's most historic stadium. The Coliseum is the former home of the Dodgers, Rams and Raiders (and many other teams through the years) and was the site of the 1932 and 1984 Olympics. Sports Business Daily says the deal signed is for six years.
In December 2013, Fox secured a three-year agreement with the university to sell sponsorships for the Coliseum, although that deal did not include naming rights for the venue. At the time, USC officials were reportedly waiting until they had a firm renovation plan for the 92-year-old stadium before seeking a naming rights partner.
Fox’s ties with the university also extend to USC Sports Properties, the company set up by the broadcaster to manage marketing and media rights for USC’s athletic department.
Opened in 1923, the Coliseum has never had a naming rights partner.
From USC-oriented blog Reign of Troy:
It’s a major development for the Coliseum on two fronts. First, it’s big step forward in capital, which should tremendously help the cost of renovations, which could exceed as much as $600 million.
Secondly, by targeting naming rights, USC is showing that they’re not afraid to make bold decisions with hopes of building the best product they can.
A corporate sponsor will turn off plenty of traditionalists, and rightfully so. But the move suggestions that the renovation efforts won’t just be a patchwork effort similar to the partial restructuring that came after the Northridge earthquake.
USC has big ideas for the Coliseum and they’re seeing it through, which is exciting for the future of the building even if it’s a stark contrast to what fans are accustom to. A future that likely will host an NFL team as soon as next season for the first time since 1994, the final season of the Los Angeles Raiders.