Move over Jeremy Foley. Take a seat Mal Moore. DeLoss Dodds, get the hell out of the way. There’s a new king of college football athletic administrators. His name is Pat Haden, he works at USC and- on his way to taking over the world- he once again hit pay dirt yesterday for the Trojans athletic department.
That move? USC is officially taking over the day-to-day operations of the Los Angeles Coliseum.
ESPNLA’s Arash Markazi reports:
The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission approved an agreement Monday to hand over day-to-day control of the publicly owned stadium to USC.
USC now obtains the master lease for the 88-year-old stadium, giving the university the exclusive right to use, manage and operate the facility.
USC has wanted to gain control of the Coliseum for years and will finally do so after commission members acknowledged last year they would be unable to keep their promise to USC to make $50 million in improvements to the aging facility.
Granted, this might not be a huge story to fans in the SEC, Big XII or ACC. However, it is important news, as the Coliseum could provide a cash stream that keeps USC amongst college football’s most profitable programs from now…until pretty much forever, actually. They’ll be paying the $1 million a year lease from now until 2054, and could eventually take over the facility through 2111, a season in which this year’s current crop of freshman…well, actually, they’ll be dead. We all will be. But USC? They’ll still be playing at the Coliseum, raking in cash. And the best part? The school didn’t even have to buy the stadium outright! What a steal!
Now obviously, before any of this can happen, upgrades do need to made. Markazi puts the original number at $50 million, but that number has since grown to somewhere in the neighborhood of $70 million according to the Los Angeles Times. Despite it, USC should be able to handle that hefty bill; according to published reports, the school believes they’ll be able to make most of that money off naming rights to the stadium, and is pushing to acquire the very profitable state-owned parking lots around the stadium as well (cue a smiling Frank McCourt). Everything else could be made off the back-end.
And oh, what a beautiful back-end it is.
That’s because with the school now in control of the day-to-day operations of the facility, the university is now allowed to plan, schedule and promote whatever events they’d like there, and reap all the benefits. The Coliseum has previously hosted two Olympics and a handful of Super Bowls, and could be in the running for them again once facility upgrades are made. Add in outdoor concerts, expos and events, and there’s no reason to see why USC can’t capitalize and make a pretty penny off the facility. There has also been discussion that the Coliseum could be a short-term home to any NFL team that might move to Los Angeles before the completion of Farmer’s Field, the proposed stadium which is expected to go up in the coming years. Simply put, USC appears ready to cash in on the Coliseum.
Add up yesterday’s moves with all the other moving and shaking that’s been going on lately at USC, and the question needs to be asked: Is Pat Haden the best AD in college sports right now? A serious argument could be made.
That’s because in addition to this deal, Haden also recently negotiated a radio contract that will call for ESPN to broadcast all of USC’s games nationally. That’s right, from Marina del Rey to Maine, you’ll be listening to Trojans games this fall, whether you like it or not. Add in a licensing deal with Jerry Jones’s Silver Star Licensing (in addition to a deal already with Nike) as well as the Pac-12’s new TV deal (which granted, Haden had little, if anything to do with) and there’s no reason to think that USC won’t be one of the most profitable athletic departments for decades to come.
And it all comes back to Haden, the man who took over for Mike Garrett two years ago, saw USC through the toughest time in the football program’s history, and somehow still made it out smelling like roses. Oh by the way, the Trojans are also the prohibitive favorites in all of college football next season.
Not a bad couple months to be a Trojan, huh?
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