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USC Lands Richest-Ever Collegiate Naming Rights Deal

Paul Steinbach

The first naming rights agreement in the 95-year history of Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum will also represent the nation's richest collegiate deal ever.

United Airlines and the University of Southern California announced this week that they had reached a 16-year, $69 million pact effective in August 2019, when the stadium will become known as United Airlines Memorial Coliseum. USC has leased the stadium as its home football venue under a 98-year agreement with the city, county and state, and has been searching for a naming rights partner since 2015 with an eye toward a $270 million stadium renovation. The naming rights deal with United, in the works since May, will help modernize the stadium interior (including replacement of every seat) while returning the venue exterior to something more closely resembling its original 1923 appearance.

“The university has a time-honored commitment to the Coliseum, serving as its longest-enduring tenant," said USC President C. L. Max Nikias in a statement released by the school. “USC is honored to be the caretaker of this Los Angeles treasure. Together with United, we can ensure the Coliseum's future as a world-class venue and true community asset.”

City Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, a member of the Coliseum Commission, called the Coliseum one of the world's greatest sports venues and an architectural icon in Los Angeles. “Through this restoration project, USC continues to demonstrate its responsible stewardship of the stadium," he said. "With support from United Airlines, USC is ushering in a modern era for this historic landmark and preserving its legacy for generations to come.”

An already world-class facility will achieve better-than-ever status, according to USC athletic director Lynn Swann. “When construction is complete, our home field will be the best it's ever been, for our players, our students and our Trojan fans," Swann said, "and that's thanks to the contributions from founders and alumni, and partners like United Airlines."

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