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LA Coliseum renovations will respect the stadium's history

A rendering of the new United Airlines Memorial Coliseum.
A rendering of the new United Airlines Memorial Coliseum.
University of Southern California

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The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is a national historic landmark and a vital part of L.A.'s sports identity. It has hosted two Olympic games already and there's another one coming up in 2028.

As its 95th birthday approaches, the stadium has generally held up pretty well, but some serious freshening up is now underway.

Monday, the University of Southern California, which oversees the stadium's operations, broke ground on a $270 million renovation.

"They absolutely wanted to bring it up to date and they wanted to improve the fan experience for everyone in the building," said Don Barnum of DLR Group, the company doing the work on the Coliseum. 

Because the Coliseum is a beloved landmark in Los Angeles, Barnum said that with the redesign, he wanted to respect its legacy. 

The iconic peristyle arches inspired by the Coliseum in Rome, Italy, for instance, will be more visible. The scoreboards and advertising that covered those arches will be removed.

A bird's eye view rendering of the renovated Coliseum.
A bird's eye view rendering of the renovated Coliseum.
University of Southern California

"When people walk into the Coliseum, when they walk through the peristyle, we want to make sure that this building is still recognizable as the L.A. Coliseum. A lot of the previous proposals for NFL turned it into a spaceship or whatever people were calling it. That really changed the building; it wasn't the L.A. Coliseum anymore. The goal really was to have this still look like... this is still the L.A. Coliseum," Barnum said.

The Coliseum may look like its old self, but sports fans will have updates to look forward to. If you've ever watched an event at the Coliseum, you know that the seats are pretty uncomfortable. Barnum said they will be one of the first things to go. Every single seat will be replaced and many will be made wider and roomier.

Of course, if the seats get bigger, fewer will fit into the stadium. The stadium capacity will be reduced from roughly 93,000 seats to 77,500, Barnum said.