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Coliseum Commission not in a rush to make deal with USC

first_imgAn 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’s latest offer included a compromise on the key issue: control of the stadium. The commission is seeking to form a partnership with USC in selling stadium naming rights that would pay for much of its renovation. In June, USC officials made two offers to the Coliseum Commission, including a 75-year master lease that would have given the school control of the Coliseum, including all naming and broadcasting rights. In exchange, USC would have spent $100 million renovating the stadium. That offer was rejected by the commission because it would have given USC the power to veto any effort by the NFL to return to the Coliseum, reduce the number of charity events held there and provided the university with all of the stadium’s advertising revenue, Lynch said. One impediment toward reaching an agreement with USC is that the Coliseum Commission still needs to finalize its lease agreements with the state, which owns the Coliseum. While several politicians – including state Sen. Mark Ridley-Thomas, D-Los Angeles, have spoken out against the Coliseum Commission, Assemblyman Paul Krekorian, D-Burbank, announced Monday that he would fight any effort by USC to gain control of the Coliseum. “This is a public asset that should stay under public control,” Krekorian said. “(The Coliseum) is central to the economic vitality of South Los Angeles, and it is an irreplaceable cultural asset. The state of California cannot allow the Coliseum to be held hostage by USC.” Staff Writer Billy Witz contributed to this report.160Want 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 champTodd Dickey, USC vice president, wrote in a letter to commission General Manager Pat Lynch that the panel’s latest offer, submitted Thursday, was an improvement, but offered “no firm commitment on the part of the commission to repair and restore the Coliseum within any given time period.” “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.” 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 that it would need to raise rent by 10percent – $108,000 a year – to cover costs handed down by the state. USC presented a counterproposal to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission on Monday that offers to keep the Trojans football team at the stadium – but only if the panel is committed to making an estimated $50 million in improvements to the venue over four years. Also under the USC proposal, the university would take over operation of the stadium and make the upgrades itself if the commission failed to raise the money needed for the stadium improvements. “With control comes responsibility and if we were in control, we would be responsible for the repair, maintenance and improvement,” said Kristina Raspe, USC’s associate senior vice president for real estate and asset management. “If they’re going to be in control, they need to be responsible for those items.” Commission officials could not be reached for immediate comment on USC’s latest proposal, but are expected to meet Wednesday to review the proposal. last_img read more

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