LA Coliseum braces for big football weekend

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Los Angeles-area football in its college and NFL incarnations will converge on the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum this weekend, as both the USC Trojans and the L.A. Rams – along with thousands of their respective fans – will step onto Coliseum grounds and put its resources to the test.

On Saturday, USC faces the University of Colorado, ranked 21st in the nation. On Sunday, the Rams take on the Buffalo Bills. Each game is expected to bring between 70,000 to 80,000 fans, said Joe Furin, the general manager of the L.A. Coliseum, to KPCC.

"We have roughly 24 hours to host the college game, 'flip the stadium' as we call it, which is repainting the end zones, changing out graphics and signs from USC to Rams, clean the stadium, bring in 80,000 people and host the NFL game," he said.

Withstanding that much concentrated humanity can put a strain on any area, as was the case in the Rams' Sept. 18 season opener against the Seattle Seahawks, when roughly 160 people needed medical attention, many of them for heat-related issues.

Under the smothering heat of that day, the stadium struggled to keep up with the demand for water.

"We have to restock almost every game we do here," Furin said. "The last game, with the temperatures and stuff, we had to start restocking before halftime. And then with the size of the crowd and the ability to move the stock from the warehouse to the stands, that’s where we ran into some challenges."

To stop those challenges from arising again, Coliseum staff has cleared more out of the stands, clearing out less utilized equipment to create more stock space and have identified spots around the arena to put storage pods. The storage pods would lessen the travel distance for the water to reach concession stands, Furin said.

People can also bring their own water, as long as it's no more than two 17-ounce, factory-sealed bottles. Furin added there will also be water refilling stations scattered throughout the arena.

As for other ways to help prepare for football weekend, Furin said "plan accordingly" by showing up early and staying hydrated.

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