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Trying to Rename the LA Memorial Coliseum: Let’s Call It ‘Trouble’

LA WATCHDOG--County Supervisor Janice Hahn is bent out of shape because the University of Southern California wants to change the name of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to the United Airlines Memorial Coliseum.

See Hahn’s March 25 opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times, Don’t Change the Name of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.  

While many of us agree with her opposition to the commercialization of the Coliseum, Supervisor Hahn is way off base because, at the last minute, she wants to ignore an agreed upon contract with USC that anticipated naming rights revenue that would be reinvested into the Coliseum and its neglected infrastructure.    

In 2013, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission, a state-county-city agency that was operating under a cloud of corruption, agreed to lease the Coliseum to USC for 99 years.  In return, USC agreed to manage and maintain the Coliseum and invest $70 million over the next decade to upgrade the stadium that had not been properly maintained.  

An integral part of this arrangement was that USC controlled the naming rights to the Coliseum and agreed to pay the Coliseum Commission 5% of the naming rights revenues. 

In January of 2018, a year after Hahn was elected to the County Board of Supervisors, USC and United Airlines agreed to a 16-year, $69 million naming rights deal whereby the Coliseum would get a new name, the United Airlines Memorial Coliseum, effective in the fall of 2019.  

While Hahn objects to the naming rights deal for the Coliseum, she has not developed any plan to reimburse USC for any lost revenue that USC might forgo by losing or amending the deal with United Airlines.   

One alternative is for the County to step up and reimburse USC for any lost revenue.  However, this is unlikely because Hahn and the rest of our elected elite feel free to use other people’s money to implement their last-minute whims or pet projects.  

One alternative is for pay-to-play Hahn to raise the money to fund the differential, starting with her contribution of $203,500 that she received from the corrupt developer of the $72 million Sea Breeze development in an industrial area of Harbor City. 

 (Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch. He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee and is the Budget and DWP representative for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council.  He is a Neighborhood Council Budget Advocate.  He can be reached at:  lajack@gmail.com.)

-cw