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Monday, May 14, 2012
USC takes control of L.A. Coliseum

By Arash Markazi
ESPNLosAngeles.com

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission approved an agreement Monday to hand over day-to-day control of the publicly owned stadium to USC.

As expected, the results of the vote were 8-1, with commissioner Bernard C. Parks being the only one to oppose the agreement.

USC now obtains the master lease for the 88-year-old stadium, giving the university the exclusive right to use, manage and operate the facility.

USC has wanted to gain control of the Coliseum for years and will finally do so after commission members acknowledged last year they would be unable to keep their promise to USC to make $50 million in improvements to the aging facility.

Four years ago, USC offered to pay $100 million to renovate the Coliseum in exchange for the master lease, but the commission rejected it. They believed a naming rights deal for the Coliseum would net them just as much, if not more. The economy, however, crashed soon after and with it went a couple of naming-rights deals the commission was working on.

After gaining control of the Coliseum, USC officials say they will begin plans to return the Coliseum to the condition that made it the home of two Olympic Games and two Super Bowls. It is also being discussed as a temporary facility for an NFL team if the NFL decides to return to Los Angeles.