Thursday, November 29, 2007

Battle for the L.A. Coliseum Escalates

The battle for control of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum has escalated. It seems to be the talk of the Southern California, as the prospect of the Trojans moving to the Rose Bowl provokes strong emotions.

L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says he has given up on an NFL team in the Coliseum, and he and Governor Schwarzenegger are said to be working on helping break the impasse between the Coliseum Commission and USC.

The ineffectual Coliseum Commission is paralyzed by dreams of an NFL team that will never happen. The Commission members seem willing to give up the only steady tenant the Coliseum has ever had and let the Coliseum become a little-used relic. They refuse to either put up the money to improve the stadium -- because they figure the mythical NFL team they long for will raze it anyway -- or to give USC control over the venue in return for USC investing a staggering $100 million in improvements over the next decade.

The Commission's other "big idea" has been to sell off the naming rights to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum -- which I believe is inappropriate for such an historic venue -- and as part of that deal wanted USC to hand over to the company buying the naming rights the "use of the University's name and marks for promotional use." Again, that would be very inappropriate -- and potentially damaging -- for USC to cede control of its name and trademarks for the buyer to use as it saw fit. Here again, the Commission has attempted to avoid taking action itself for the good of the Coliseum. It wants all of the power and none of the cost.

The Coliseum Commissioners come off like whiny children. Exhibit A: Bill Chadwick, who gloats "I think it would be great if they played at the Rose Bowl for two years. At the end of that two years, the leverage we would have in negotiations would be spectacular." Now that's a really helpful negotiating attitude. And so respectful toward a tenant of eight decades.

The Commission members, who represent the state, city, and county -- and thus are representing California's citizens -- also didn't like USC giving out their contact info, and are complaining of death threats. Not surprisingly, the same Commissioner who is gloating over the prospect of forcing the Trojans to the Rose Bowl is screaming the loudest. (Rolling eyes...) Heaven forbid Commission members actually hear opinions from taxpayers.

USC students plan to boycott concessions at Saturday's big faceoff with UCLA. 100% of the concession sales go to the Coliseum.

We can only hope that this brouhaha A) is resolved promptly; and B) doesn't distract the Trojans from Saturday's game, when they'll be fighting for the right to play in the Rose Bowl on January 1st.

That's a game all Trojan fans would be happy to see played in Pasadena.

Friday Morning Update: Doug Krikorian of the Press-Telegram insists the Rose Bowl threat is only a ploy: "What would the Trojans be gaining by a move that isn't even lateral, considering it would reduce them to second-class status since the long-time Rose Bowl residents, the UCLA Bruins, would no doubt have the priority on future bookings?"


Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older