More talks today on new USC Coliseum lease offer

first_imgThe Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission is scheduled to meet behind closed doors today to discuss USC’s latest proposal to lease the 84-year-old stadium. The university presented the proposal Monday, offering to keep playing football at the Coliseum, but only if the commission committed to make repairs at the stadium. Under the USC proposal, the university would take over operation of the stadium and make the upgrades itself if the commission failed to raise money for them. Todd Dickey, USC’s senior vice president and general counsel, wrote in a letter to commission General Manger Pat Lynch that the commission’s most recent offer — submitted Thursday — was an improvement over previous plans, but offered “no firm commitment on the part of the commission to repair and restore the Coliseum within any given time period.” USC’s lease to play its football games at the Coliseum ended with its Dec. 1 game against UCLA. Negotiations for a long-term lease were proceeding well until early October, when the commission notified USC it would need to raise rent by 10 percent — $108,000 a year — to cover costs handed down by the state, according to the Daily News. An impasse ensued, prompting USC to begin negotiations with Pasadena’s Rose Bowl for a one-year lease, beginning with the 2008 season, with an option for a second. Rose Bowl operators unanimously agreed Dec. 6 to delay making an agreement with USC, citing the need for UCLA, which has used the Rose Bowl as its home football stadium since 1982, to comment on a possible contract. USC has played at the Coliseum since 1923, the year the stadium opened. The commission is seeking to form a partnership with USC in selling naming rights to the stadium to pay for much of its renovation. CNS-12-19-2007 04:03160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champ“Instead, your proposal appears to ask USC to commit to a long-term lease and to rely on the commission’s ability to raise sufficient funds through naming rights and sponsorship programs in the hope that the commission will be able to make the necessary repairs to the Coliseum someday,” Dickey wrote. “Should you not be able to raise such funds, USC would be left to languish in an ever-deteriorating facility rather than the state-of-the-art college football facility USC envisions and to which the Southern California community is entitled.” Dickey said in the proposal that if the commission wants to maintain control over the facility, it must commit to making stadium upgrades “over a very definitive time period.” The counterproposal sent to the commission gives the panel “the first opportunity to try to raise the funds and do the improvements itself, but if it cannot succeed, then the lease reverts to a master lease to USC and requires USC to raise the funds and do the necessary repairs,” Dickey wrote. “This proposal ensures that either way the community gets an improved Coliseum.” last_img read more