LOS ANGELES — On Monday, United Airlines and the University of Southern California (USC) announced a 16-year agreement for exclusive naming rights of the historic L.A. Coliseum.
During that duration, it will be known as the United Airlines Memorial Coliseum. The venue has hosted two summer Olympiads, two Super Bowls, a World Series, and has been home to USC football since it opened in 1923.
United and USC celebrated the announcement by having the USC Marching Band and Cheerleaders march through United’s terminal 7 at LAX, followed by a private cocktail reception Monday evening, attended by CEO and USC Alum Oscar Munoz.
During a brief discussion panel, Munoz said, “Media and social media, in particular, will pick up on our failures, but the real spirit of United is things like today. Every time I return here it’s like a homecoming. We want to be part of every community we operate in. We’re not just a business or just an airline. We are family. You’re gonna see big things in L.A. from the United family.”
Munoz introduced United’s new President of California, Janet Lamkin. Lamkin previously served as Bank of America’s California State President since 2007.
“United has had a great record on some issues that are near and dear to my heart,” said Lamkin. “Diversity inclusion, the environment, serving our communities and making sure they are thriving.”
The reception was also attended by veteran sports broadcaster Bonnie Bernstein, who moderated the discussion panel, which focused on the importance of sports marketing and community partnerships. Bernstein said, “There’s nothing quite like walking into a college football stadium on game day, so when I heard about this, I was very excited!”
USC Athletics Director, Trojan and Pittsburg Steelers Veteran Lynn Swann was also on hand. Swann expressed extreme gratitude on behalf of the Trojans, saying, “The generosity of our donors — both large and small — will preserve this venue for generations to come and make it a truly world-class facility.”
“When construction is complete, our home field will be the best it’s ever been, for our players, our students and our Trojan fans, and that’s thanks to the contributions from founders and alumni and partners like United Airlines,” he said.
Golden State Warriors Chief Marketing Officer Chip Bowers and PGA VP Corporate Partnerships Alex Baldwin were also on the panel to discuss the meaningful relationships their organizations have with United.
As part of the agreement, United also becomes the official airline sponsor of USC Athletics. The stadium will be rechristened in 2019, following its $270 refurbishment.
The design will honor the stadium’s original form, erected 95 years ago to honor WWI veterans from Los Angeles.
Improvements made possible in part by the United naming rights agreement include additional aisles, handrails, wider seats, more legroom, cup holders, updated Wi-Fi, concession expansion and improvements, along with updated electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems.
Audio and video systems also are being upgraded. A new feature will be a Scholarship Club Tower that will feature suites, loge boxes, club seats and a lounge.
Featured image is a rendering of the completed stadium, by DLR Group.
Editorial Disclosure: United Airlines covered the airfare for the author to attend the event, but all accounts and descriptions are solely of the author.