SBJ/June 11-17, 2012/Colleges

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  • USC sees Fox Sports as likely candidate for Coliseum’s advertising, sponsor inventory

    Editor's note: This story is revised from the print edition.

    Fox Sports could pick up all of the permanent advertising and sponsorship inventory in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum as part of a new agreement with the University of Southern California.

    It was nearly a month ago that the Coliseum Commission, the public group charged with overseeing the 88-year-old stadium, turned over day-to-day control to USC as part of a long-term lease that runs through 2054.

    On July 1, USC will gain control of its football home.
    Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
    Fox already represents the Trojans’ multimedia rights, which include all temporary signage inside the Coliseum. But USC’s lease now gives it control over all permanent inventory in the stadium for all events, and the school expects to be looking to outsource those rights as well.

    “It would make sense to go with Fox because they’re already representing the brand and our athletics department in the marketplace,” said Kristina Raspe, a USC vice president in charge of real estate development and asset management.

    The lease takes effect July 1, so the school won’t be in a position to outsource those rights officially until then. USC is looking to hire a general manager and a chief financial officer for the stadium and the Los Angeles Sports Arena, which is included in the lease as well.

    If Fox expands its rights at the Coliseum as part of a new arrangement with USC, it would likely be separate from its multimedia rights deal with the athletic department.

    Fox’s inventory in the Coliseum now essentially is limited to what temporary signs it can create on football game days for the Trojans. That includes mostly wraps around the sideline walls, green spaces, goal posts, field goal nets and part of the signage on the back of the video board.

    When the Coliseum is the site for other events, such as international soccer matches, Fox currently has no rights.

    But the new lease agreement puts all of that inventory into USC’s hands and, potentially, could land with Fox, giving the media giant access to all of the inventory in the stadium, including venue naming rights and potentially the ability to sell founding partnerships.

    USC’s Raspe said the school doesn’t expect the new inventory to be a big revenue producer, but it would help offset some of the considerable investment the school plans to put into the stadium.

    “The Coliseum represents the heart and soul of USC athletics, it represents the USC brand,” Raspe said. “There has been some negative publicity associated with the Coliseum over the years and our goal is to restore the Coliseum to its glory years. Right now, it doesn’t reflect USC, our campus, our academics or our athletics.”

    Much of the $70 million USC has budgeted for the Coliseum will go toward maintenance items that have been put off over the years.

    “We’re talking about spalling concrete, concession areas, locker rooms,” Raspe said.

    Raspe said the school will issue a request for proposal soon after July 1 for an architect to take the lead on the improvements to the Coliseum.

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