Business & Economy

The Rams at the Coliseum? Is that a done deal?

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum has hosted NFL teams, USC, UCLA and two previous Olympic Games. It's ready to 'flip' overnight depending on who's playing the next day.
The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum has hosted NFL teams, USC, UCLA and two previous Olympic Games. It's ready to 'flip' overnight depending on who's playing the next day.
Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

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Now that the NFL has announced the Rams are coming back to Los Angeles, it looks like their temporary home field will be the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. But there's plenty to be worked out, and plenty more if the Chargers want to move in, too.

"Is it a 100 percent certainty? No. Is it a 99 percent? Yes," said Joe Furin, the Coliseum's general manager. "That's where we stand."

Last August, the Coliseum responded to the NFL's request for proposals to host a team while its permanent L.A. stadium is built. Furin says since then, the talks have been ongoing with the NFL. Now that a team has been announced, the Coliseum now must begin negotiating directly with the Rams.

"Our phone is blowing up from excited Rams fans who want to buy tickets and be first in line," Furin told KPCC. "Those are all questions we would defer to the Rams on, but they're not in a position yet to answer those questions."  

The University of Southern California is the primary tenant of the Coliseum, and in 2013, USC took over management of the historic venue. Last October, USC announced plans for a $270 million upgrade of the 93-year-old stadium. Hosting the Rams - and maybe another team - would certainly help finance that effort. 

Under agreements with the Coliseum Commission and the board of Exposition Park where the stadium sits, the Coliseum currently has the authority to negotiate with just one NFL team. Adding another - like the Chargers - would require approval by the Commission and the board.

Furin is confident that the Coliseum could host two NFL teams in addition to continuing to serve USC as its primary tenant.  

"It's our core business," says Furin, putting his venue at the same level as Staples Center, which moves quickly between the L.A. Clippers, Lakers, and Kings.  The Coliseum, said Furin, is ready to regularly "flip the stadium" overnight between a Trojans football game and an NFL game.  

"In some ways, it really is as simple as more bodies, more equipment, and if you have to do it at 3 o'clock in the morning, you do it at 3 o'clock in the morning to get the job done," said Furin.

The Rams will likely occupy the Coliseum until the 2019 season, when the new stadium in Inglewood is scheduled to be ready. If the Chargers decide to move, and can't find room at the Coliseum, it's certainly not the only big venue in the region. It's just the only one so far that's expressed a strong interest in hosting an NFL team.