USC’s plan for renovated Coliseum includes seat-ticket relocation, reduction in stadium capacity and some pricey donations

Aerial view of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
(Rick Meyer / Los Angeles Times)

USC unveiled the seating plan Thursday for the completion of the Coliseum’s renovation in 2019, an undertaking that will force season-ticket holders to relocate.

The school has raised $225 million in cash and pledges for the $270-million project, according to Steve Lopes, the USC athletic department’s chief operating officer. Plans call for new seats — the model and color are still under consideration — wider aisles in some areas and a tower with luxury boxes and club seats on the stadium’s south side. The changes will shrink the stadium’s capacity by about 16,000 seats, from about 94,000 to 77,500.

That’s not all that will change.

One-third of the seats in the lower bowl will require a one-time donation — ranging from $100 to $6,000 — in addition to annual Trojan Athletic Fund memberships which range from $200 to $50,000. USC officials, who say the mandatory donations can be paid off over four years and are not personal seat licenses, expect them to raise about $24 million toward the renovation.


About 9,000 prime midfield seats will be removed to make room for the tower. The officials hope to reseat most of those ticket holders on the field’s north side, but acknowledge the challenge as staff members discuss new seat locations with season-ticket holders in the coming months as part of a campaign that included the mailing this week of a brochure explaining the changes.

“We know there are going to be some tough conversations ahead,” said Tim Martin, USC’s senior associate athletic director for business development.

Reseating priority for Trojan Athletic Fund donors will be determined by membership level and lifetime giving to the department; the remaining season-ticket holders will be sorted based on how long they’ve held tickets.

The tower, which will seat 2,200 people, has sold about 73% of its inventory. That includes 42 of 46 suites, all 24 loge boxes and 714 of 1,090 club seats. Proceeds from the structure will fund the bulk of the renovation.

Lopes declined to reveal how much of the money raised for the project is in cash versus pledges.

The renovated stadium’s capacity will not include obstructed view seats created by the changes.

“We want to improve the game-day experience for all of our fans,” Lopes said. “We want to provide our football team with a first-class facility and a home-field advantage. We need to create long-term revenue streams athletics can use to sustain all 21 sports and preserve the historical integrity of the Coliseum.”

Twitter: @nathanfenno