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United Airlines Snags LA Memorial Coliseum Naming Rights In Largest Deal In College Sports

A rendering of United Airlines Memorial Coliseum

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum — a city landmark and home of the University of Southern California Trojan football team — will be renamed the United Airlines Memorial Coliseum starting in 2019.

The naming rights deal, which reportedly is $69M for 16 years, will help offset some costs as the Coliseum undergoes a $270M renovation project. The Wall Street Journal reports the deal is the largest in college sports.

A rendering of the luxury suites to be added to the newly named United Airlines Memorial Coliseum

DLR Group is overseeing the Coliseum’s modernization. A Hathaway Dinwiddie and AECOM joint venture is managing the renovation.

“Together with United, we can ensure the Coliseum’s future as a world-class venue and true community asset,” USC President C. L. Max Nikias said during a groundbreaking ceremony Monday.

The city, county and state own the Coliseum, but USC operates it under a 98-year lease agreement that includes securing naming rights. 

Designed in 1921 by architects Parkinson & Parkinson as a living memorial for U.S. soldiers who fought in World War I, the outdoor stadium at Exposition Park in downtown Los Angeles opened in 1923 and has hosted two Olympics (1932 and 1984), a pair of Super Bowls, a World Series and has served as either the permanent or temporary home of the USC football and track team, the Los Angeles Raiders, the Los Angeles Rams and other clubs. The Coliseum will host its third Olympic Games in 2028.

A rendering of the newly named United Airlines Memorial Coliseum

With its iconic peristyle architecture, Olympic rings and Olympic Cauldron, the Coliseum has gone through a few renovations in its 95-plus years. 

The latest restoration project will shrink the seating capacity but modernize the facility, including adding two video boards, luxury suites, widening aisles, placing handrails, updating the stadium’s audio and WiFi and upgrading the concession stands.

“It’s truly an honor to bring this historic and legendary venue into the 21st century,” Hathaway Dinwiddie Senior Vice President Arthur Kozinski said in a statement. “Together with AECOM, we are engaging with the community to bring local talent and expertise, construction innovations and unique collaboration to the project.”