SBJ/Nov. 4-10, 2013/Facilities

USC short-lists architects for Memorial Coliseum upgrades

Don Muret
USC has taken the first step in renovating Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum by searching for an architect to study upgrades to the 92-year-old stadium.

The school short-listed six architects to compete for the Master Facilities Renovation and Development Feasibility Plan after sending a request for qualifications to 11 firms in September, according to a document obtained by SportsBusiness Journal.

DLR Group, Gensler, HNTB, NBBJ, Populous and 360 Architecture made the short list, and four of those firms were scheduled to interview today for the job after a second cut was made last week, according to industry sources.

USC has committed to spend $70 million to $100 million to renovate the coliseum.
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
HNTB, the designer of Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., has the most sports experience on the USC campus. The firm designed Galen Center, the school’s basketball arena, and the John McKay Center, its 100,000-square-foot football operations and support building.

USC plans to hire an architect in the next six months to form a plan for new premium seating and concessions and retail, said Dan Stimmler, USC’s associate senior vice president for auxiliary services.

The school has committed to spend $70 million to $100 million to renovate the coliseum under the terms of the lease it signed in September to take over operations of the facility, which is publicly owned.

In conjunction with the selection of an architect, USC will hire a marketing research consultant to help determine the right mix of premium seating tied to the renovation, as well as naming rights and other potential revenue streams for funding the upgrades, Stimmler said.

Sports research firm CSL International has had discussions with USC about filling the role as marketing consultant, but as of last week no deal had been signed, CSL principal Bill Rhoda said. CSL is part of Legends Sales and Marketing. Its sister firm, Legends Hospitality, took over the food service this fall at both the coliseum and the Los Angeles Sports Arena, which USC also runs.

The coliseum has no permanent suites or club seat product. The extent of premium seating is basically restricted to four temporary suite structures set up in the east end zone for USC football games. USC Sports Properties, a division of Fox Sports, manages those hospitality spaces.

Outside of a new video board installed in 2011, the coliseum has not been renovated since 1995, when the building underwent repairs and upgrades after sustaining damage in an earthquake the year before.

> ’CUE FACTOR: Kansas City will mix two of its passions, basketball and barbecue, during next year’s Big 12 Conference men’s tournament.

While the games are going on March 12-15 inside Sprint Center, the league’s individual schools will compete in a new culinary contest called BBQ U, said Brenda Tinnen, the arena’s general manager and senior vice president of AEG Kansas City.

The event, scheduled for the Friday of tournament week, will be held on Grand Boulevard, the street separating the arena from the Kansas City Power & Light District, a collection of bars and restaurants tied to the Sprint Center development. The street is closed during the tournament.

Last year, conference officials, in conjunction with the Kansas City Sports Commission, introduced a Saturday morning 5K run. Building on that momentum, the addition of BBQ U made sense in a city that prides itself on producing some of the country’s best barbecue, Tinnen said.

Earlier this year, Sprint Center signed a two-year extension to play host to the Big 12 tournament through 2016. The 2014 event will be the fourth time the tournament has been played in the arena since it opened in October 2007.

In addition, historic Kansas City Municipal Auditorium, site of the Final Four from 1940 to 1942, is the home of the NAIA national championships and Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association tournaments.

“During the month of March, you can probably see more college basketball in Kansas City than anywhere else in the world,” Tinnen said.

Don Muret can be reached at dmuret@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @breakground.




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