L.A. Coliseum Deal In Question After United Airlines' Offer To Withdraw
United Airlines has offered to withdraw from a $69M deal to change the L.A. Memorial Coliseum into United Airlines Memorial Coliseum, after details of the deal "enraged some Angelenos, including politicians and some veterans groups," according to Marisa Gerber of the L.A. TIMES. This comes "less than half a year before the name change was expected to take effect," as the original plan was announced in January '18 as part of USC's $270M renovation to the stadium. L.A. County Supervisor and Coliseum Commission President Janice Hahn early last week "offered a forceful rebuke of the proposed name" in an op-ed in the L.A. Times. Later in the week, several veterans shared their views on the issue at a Coliseum Commission meeting. One local citizen suggested a "compromise in which the field itself was renamed, but the stadium retained its historic name." USC then released a statement Friday saying that -- if United was open to it -- the university would “be amenable to accepting the wishes of the veteran community to modify the proposed naming agreement to United Airlines Field at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum." The school added that "would require a modification of the naming-rights agreement." But United Airlines California President Janet Lamkin sent a letter to USC on Friday saying the airline’s stance on the name "had not changed." Lamkin said changing the stadium’s name to what the parties initially agreed on “is the key provision of our sponsorship agreement" (L.A. TIMES, 3/31).
LOOKING AT THE ISSUE: In L.A., Arash Markazi wrote however the naming rights deal dispute is resolved, this issue "should force everyone involved to do more" to make sure the stadium is an "actual living memorial to all who served in the U.S. Armed Forces, which was the original intent." Perhaps they could "build a statue to recognize those who have sacrificed their lives for this country at the Coliseum" (L.A. TIMES, 3/31).