Longtime USC sports reporter Garry Paskwietz of WeAreSC.com breaks the news late Tuesday that USC is contemplating buying the L.A. Coliseum, the L.A. Sports Arena and nearby parking lots.
(Coliseum is a few miles south of downtown L.A.)
The stadium is jointly owned by the State of California, Los Angeles County, and the City of Los Angeles. (There’s a recipe for efficiency.) The Los Angeles Coliseum Commission, a collection of local government agencies, oversees the operation of the facility of which USC is the anchor tenant.
So why would USC want to buy two ancient structures on what most wouldn’t consider prime real estate?
This would be a huge move for USC and one that could pay off dramatically in the future if the university is able to take control and create a home stadium environment designed specifically around the needs of the university.
For so many years the traditional home of the Trojans has been run by the Coliseum Commission, a hodge-podge of government factions which is often slow to get things done and react to various market needs.
Paskwietz also cites parking concerns as a possible reason for the move.
While there’s no better source for credible, USC sports information, Paskwietz left out what could be the biggest reason for the possible purchase.
As we’ve reported here since April, the chance of the NFL eventually returning to Los Angeles has likely increased over the past few months thanks to a new proposal for a downtown L.A. Stadium fronted by AEG’s Tim Leiweke and local sports business mogul Casey Wasserman.
If a NFL team, like the oft-rumored Chargers, were to move to Los Angeles, they would likely use the Coliseum as a temporary home while construction on a new facility was being completed.
Long before Leiweke and Wasserman most recently floated downtown as a possible destination for an NFL team, Southern California real estate tycoon Ed Roski put together a still-current stadium plan based east of downtown L.A., in City of Industry.
Roski’s stadium plan, while completely legitimate, has seemingly lost steam in the media thanks to a public relations push by downtown L.A. proponents. With that in mind, it’s interesting to note that on the heels of Paskwietz’s USC-Coliseum report, Roski also happens to be Chairman of the USC Board of Trustees.
If there’s to be any talk of such a transaction between USC and that Coliseum, you can bet Roski would be appraised of it. In fact, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think that Roski could be behind a possible USC bid to buy the Coliseum.
That said, I’ve been told on more than one occasion in recent years that Roski scoured downtown Los Angeles - and the nearby Coliseum - for a stadium site before settling on City of Industry. So despite Paskwietz’s report, I highly doubt Roski is involved in anything involving the Coliseum that would include the permanent relocation of an NFL team.
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