Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, home of the USC Trojans football team and temporary home of the Los Angeles Rams, could be getting a new name.
According to a report Thursday by Sports Business Daily, United Airlines has tentatively reached a 15-year, $70 million naming rights deal for the nearly century-old stadium, which has played host to two Olympic Games.
USC officials had no immediate comment on the report. Jonathan Guerin, a spokesman for United Airlines, said only, “United Airlines is always evaluating potential marketing opportunities.”
The pact between USC and United has not been finalized, according to SBD, which noted that United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz earned his business degree from USC.
Munoz recently became a reviled household name as he tried to explain the treatment of a physician on an oversold flight who refused to give up his seat and was physically dragged off the aircraft with some injuries. Cell phone video of the incident went viral. Munoz initially praised United staff for their actions, then apologized after worldwide condemnation of the airline. United’s stock price dove in response to the incident.
USC partnered with Fox Sports in 2015 to pursue the possibility of selling naming rights for the venerable stadium. Revenue from such a deal would go toward the $270 million renovation of the Coliseum.
The renovation was announced in 2015 and includes a reduction of the Coliseum’s capacity from 93,607 to 77,500 due to such improvements as added aisles, widened seats and increased leg room in many sections, along with the construction of a Scholarship Club Tower on the stadium’s south side that will include suites, loge boxes, club seats, a new concourse and a new press box. It is expected to be completed before the 2019 season.
According to Sports Business Daily, the Coliseum deal would be the richest naming-rights agreement for a college football stadium, surpassing the $41 million deal between Alaska Airlines and the University of Washington. UW’s football stadium is officially known as Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium.
There was no immediate indication of what the Coliseum would be named under the deal, although USC is expected to have veto authority over any change. University and Fox officials have previously said “Memorial Coliseum” would remain part of the name, Sports Business Daily reported.
— City News Service
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