The University of Southern California (USC) has been given the green light to press ahead with a $270m (£209.5m/€247.3m) redevelopment of the LA Memorial Coliseum, which has been lined up as a proposed venue for the 2024 summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in Los Angeles.
The stadium hosted the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as track and field events, during the LA Games in 1932 and 1984. The organising committee for LA’s bid to stage the 2024 event has proposed that the venue serve the same role should the city’s bid be successful.
USC has received permission from the Coliseum Commission, which comprises representatives from the City of Los Angeles, the County of Los Angeles and the State of California, to proceed with its privately-funded upgrade of the stadium. The commission oversees the operation and maintenance of the Coliseum.
LA faces competition from the French capital of Paris in its bid to stage the 2024 Games, and the International Olympic Committee is due to announce the winning candidate in September.
Plans to redevelop the Coliseum will now proceed to LA City Council for final approval, and it is hoped renovation work can begin in the autumn. Work would be finished by August 2019.
The renovation work will seek to modernise the Coliseum, while also preserving its iconic ‘peristyle’ façade. Upgrades will include new training, recovery and changing facilities, wider seats, more aisles, more legroom, modernised restrooms, new hospitality suites, lounges, press facilities, concessions and lighting systems. Two additional big screens have also been proposed, as well as an enhanced Wi-Fi system.
LA 2024 has proposed that a temporary athletics deck be fitted for the Games. Warm-up and operations facilities would be housed underneath to allow for maximum convenience for athletes.
The proposal is in line with the bid committee’s philosophy of using existing facilities for the Games, as opposed to constructing new venues.
LA 2024 chief executive Gene Sykes said: “LA 2024 congratulates our partner USC for this major milestone in their mission to turn the LA Coliseum, our beloved LA sports cathedral, into a state-of-the-art stadium for the 21st century.
“As a bid, LA 2024 is incredibly fortunate to have ambitious, forward-thinking partners committed to keeping their venues at the cutting edge of athlete experience, sports presentation and fan engagement through consistent private investment. It means Los Angeles can deliver a spectacular stage for the Olympians and Paralympians of 2024 without expending organising committee resources on costly, complex construction projects.”
The Coliseum currently serves as the home of the USC Trojans American football team, as well as NFL franchise the LA Rams.