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Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

By Wikipedia

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is a large outdoor sports stadium located in Exposition Park in Los Angeles, California, near the campus of the University of Southern California. It is sometimes nicknamed The Grand Old Lady.

At a glance...
Facility statistics
Location 3911 South Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, California90037
Broke ground 1922
Opened 1923
First Dodgers Game April 18, 1958
Last Dodgers Game September 20, 1961
Replaced by Dodger Stadium (Dodgers, 1962)
Rose Bowl (UCLA, 1982)
Anaheim Stadium (Rams, 1980)
Owner L.A. Coliseum Commission
Operator Spectacor Management Group
Surface Grass
Construction cost $955,000
$950,000 ('58 renovations)
Architect John Parkinson
USC Trojans (NCAA, 1923-Present)
UCLA Bruins (NCAA, ?-1982)
Summer Olympics (1932, 1984)
Los Angeles Rams (NFL, 1946-1979)
Los Angeles Dodgers (MLB, 1958-1961)
Los Angeles Chargers (AFL, 1960)
Los Angeles Raiders (NFL, 1982-1994)
Los Angeles Express (USFL, 1983-1985)
Los Angeles Xtreme (XFL, 2001)
Seating capacity
74,000 (1923), 75,000 (1928), 105,000 (1932),
103,000 (1941), 105,000 (1944), 103,500 (1947),
101,671 (1948), 105,000 (1952), 101,528 (1956),
93,000 (1958), 94,600 (1959), 70,000 (1965),
76,000 (1968), 78,000 (1972), 76,000 (1973),
92,000 (1974), 91,038 (1976), 71,432 (1977),
71,039 (1978), 73,999 (1979), 92,488 (1982),
92,498 (1983), 92,516 (1985), 92,488 (1988).
Dimensions (in feet)
Left Field - 250 (1958), 251.6 (1959)
Left-Center - 425 (1958), 417 (1959)
Center Field - 425 (1958), 420 (1959)
Right-Center - 440 ('58), 375 ('59) 394 ('60)
Right Field - 301 (1958), 300 (1959)
Backstop - 60 (1958), 66 (1959)

Originally built in 1922, the Coliseum served as the primary track and field venue and site of the opening and closing ceremonies of both the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games. The Olympic cauldron which burned through the Games remains above the peristyle at one end of the stadium as a reminder of this, as do the Olympic rings symbols over one of the main entrances. A pair of life-sized bronze statues of male and female athletes atop a 20,000 pound (9,000 kg) post-and-lintel frame formed the Olympic Gateway created by Robert Graham for the 1984 games. The statues, modeled on a waterpolo player and a sprinter who participated in the games, were noted for their anatomical accuracy.

Many other events have been held at the Coliseum over the years, and only a few are listed here. For many years, it served as the home football stadium for both the UCLA Bruins and USC Trojans, although in 1982 UCLA moved its home games to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. USC's agreement to play all its home games at the Coliseum was a contributing factor to its construction.

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The former Cleveland Rams of the National Football League relocated to the Coliseum in 1946, becoming the Los Angeles Rams; but the team later relocated again, first to Anaheim in 1979, then to St. Louis, Missouri in 1995. In 1960 the American Football League's Los Angeles Chargers played at the Coliseum before relocating to San Diego the next year.

In 1982 the Rams were temporarily replaced as tenants by the former Oakland Raiders, however this team subsequently returned to Oakland in 1995, leaving the Coliseum without a professional football tenant for the first time since the close of World War II. The most recent pro football tenant has been the short-lived Los Angeles Xtreme, the first and only champion of the XFL.

The Coliseum was also the site of the very first NFL-AFL Championship Game in January 1967, an event since given the modest name of the Super Bowl. It also hosted the Super Bowl in 1973.

The Olympic Cauldron is lit during football games, and other special occasions. The torch was also lit for over a week following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum!

The Coliseum configured for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Notice the large net in left field and the large foul territory on the third base side compared with the small foul area on the first base side.

Postcard image courtesy of Wikipedia

04/18/1958 Giants 5, Dodgers 6
Umpires Tony Venzon, Jocko Conlan
  Frank Secory, Hal Dixon
Managers Walter Alston, Dodgers
  Bill Rigney, Giants
Starting Pitchers Carl Erskine, Dodgers
  Al Worthington, Giants
Ceremonial Pitch LA Mayor Norris Poulson
Attendance 78,672
Batter Jim Davenport (single)
Hit Jim Davenport (single)
Run Jim Davenport
RBI Daryl Spencer
Single Jim Davenport
Double Willie Kirkland
Triple Bob Schmidt
Home Run Hank Sauer
Grand Slam Willie Mays (05/12/1958)
IPHR Don Demeter (04/21/1959)
Stolen Base Charlie Neal
Sacrifice Hit Whitey Lockman
Sacrifice Fly Daryl Spencer (04/20/1958)
Cycle (None)
Win Carl Erskine
Loss Al Worthington
Shutout Johnny Podres (06/04/1958)
Save Clem Labine
Hit by Pitch Ruben Gomez hit Dick Gray
Wild Pitch Mike McCormick
Balk Don Drysdale (05/05/1958)
No-Hitter NONE
Primary research by Jim Herdman & David Vincent
Courtesy of Retrosheet

Other sporting events held at the Coliseum over the years have included Major League Baseball, which was held at the Coliseum when the former Brooklyn Dodgers of the National League relocated to Los Angeles in 1958. The Dodgers played here until Dodger Stadium was completed in time for the 1962 season, despite the fact that the Coliseum's one-tier, oval bowl shape was extremely poorly-suited to baseball.

Although ill-suited as a major league baseball field, with its left field line at 251 feet (77 m) and power alley at 320 feet (98 m), it was ideally suited for large paying crowds. Each of the three games of the 1959 World Series drew over 92,000 fans, a record unlikely to be challenged anytime soon, given the smaller seating capacities of today's baseball parks. A May 1959 exhibition game between the Dodgers and the New York Yankees in honor of legendary catcher Roy Campanella drew 93,103, the largest crowd ever to see a baseball game in the Western Hemisphere. The Coliseum also hosted the second 1959 MLB All-Star Game.

The Coliseum was also the site of John F. Kennedy's memorable acceptance speech at the 1960 Democratic Convention. It was during that speech that Kennedy first used the term "the New Frontier."


When the Coliseum opened in 1922, it was already the largest stadium in Los Angeles with a capacity of 76,000. However, with the arrival of the Olympics only 10 years later, the stadium was expanded to 101,574 and the now signature torch was added.

For many years the Coliseum was capable of seating over 100,000 spectators, and the capacity for the 1984 Olympics configuration was approximately 88,000. Subsequently, many seats - and the running track - were removed to appease Raiders owner Al Davis, partially in order to make the venue more easily sold out so that his team's game could appear live on L.A. television, which is forbidden by NFL rules unless a game is already sold out at least 72 hours prior to its scheduled kick-off. Some of the removed seats, which were primarily in the end zone, were replaced with new bleachers far closer to the end lines of the playing field. (The combination of the stadium's large, relatively shallow design, along with the presence of the track between the playing field and the stands, meant that some of the former end zone seats were essentially away from the field by the equivalent in length of another football field.)

However, with Davis' Raiders now long gone, and the need for repairs after the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, some of the changes that he had demanded were reversed, and the current configuration is somewhat similar to that used for the 1984 Olympics. USC's regular alternating home games with rivals UCLA and Notre Dame attract a capacity 92,000 person crowd each year. The current official capacity of the Coliseum is 92,516.


There is great debate about the Coliseum's potential as a modern NFL stadium. Although the Coliseum is an important historical sports venue, it is regarded by some as no longer adequate to be the home of a major professional sports organization. Since it was designed before the age of club seats, luxury boxes, and many of the other money-generating amenities that modern football stadiums possess, any professional team moving to the Coliseum will likely have to do extensive renovations. Los Angeles county voters are generally uninterested in appropriating tax revenues toward a new stadium, which would put the costs of renovation on any future tenant. Another factor is its location at the edge of South Los Angeles, which is perceived by many potential fans as a somewhat unsafe part of the city, although the area is considerably safer than it was when the stadium housed two NFL teams. Partially because of the difficulties that the NFL has had with trying to finance a renovated Coliseum, Rose Bowl or brand new stadium, it has been absent from the 2nd largest media market in America for over a remarkable ten years.

On November 10, 2005 NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue announced that the NFL and city officials have reached a preliminary agreement on bringing an NFL team back to the Coliseum. However, when and who the next NFL team that will play there has not been announced (best guesses include the San Diego Chargers and the New Orleans/New Jersey/San Antonio/Baton Rouge Saints.

Related Books on the L.A. Memorial Coliseum:
The Dodgers Move West by Neil J. Sullivan.

Related Books on Ballparks
The Ballpark Book: A Journey Through the Fields of Baseball Magic by Ron Smith and Kevin Belford.
Ballpark: The Story of America's Baseball Fields by Lynn Curlee
Ballparks: A Panoramic History by Marc Sandalow and Jim Sutton.
Ballparks by Robert Von Goeben and Red Howard.
Ballparks: Then & Now by Eric Enders.
Baseball Vacations: Great Family Trips to Minor League and Classic Major League Ballbarks Across America by Bruce Adams and Margaret Engel.
Blue Skies, Green Fields: A Celebration of 50 Major League Baseball Stadiums by Ira Rosen.
Diamonds: The Evolution of the Ballpark by Michael Gershman.
Fields of Dreams: A Guide to Visiting and Enjoying All 30 Major League Ballparks by Jay Ahuja
Green Cathedrals: The Ultimate Celebration of All Major League and Negro League Ballparks by Philip J. Lowry.
Joe Mock's Ballpark Guide by Joe Mock.
Lost Ballparks: A Celebration of Baseball's Legendary Fields by Lawrence S. Ritter.
Roadside Baseball: A Guide to Baseball Shrines Across America by Chris Epting.
Take Me Out to the Ballpark: An Illustrated Tour of Baseball Parks Past and Present by Josh Leventhal and Jessica Macmurray.
The Ultimate Baseball Road-Trip: A Fan's Guide to Major League Stadiums by Joshua Pahigian and Kevin O'Connell.
Video: Story of America's Classic Ballparks
Video: Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns

Economics of Stadiums
City Baseball Magic: Plain Talk and Uncommon Sense about Cities and Baseball Parks by Philip Bess.
Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit by Joanna Cagan and Neil deMause.
Public Dollars, Private Stadiums: The Battle over Building Sports Stadiums by Kevin J. Delaney and Rick Eckstein.
Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums by Roger G. Noll and Andrew Zimbalist.

General Stadium Reference:
Sports Staff of USA Today. The Complete 4 Sport Stadium Guide. Fodor's, 1996.

Stadium Design and Financing References:
Philip Bess. City Baseball Magic: Plain Talk and Uncommon Sense about Cities and Baseball Parks. Knothole Press, 1999.
Joanna Cagan and Neil deMause. Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit. Common Courage Press, 1998.
Mark S. Rosentraub. Major League Losers: The Real Cost of Sports and Who's Paying for It. HarperCollins, 1997.
Kevin J. Delaney, Rick Eckstein. Public Dollars, Private Stadiums: The Battle over Building Sports Stadiums. Rutgers University Press, 2004.
Roger G. Noll and Andrew Zimbalist. Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums. Brookings Institution, 1997.
Dean V. Baim. The Sports Stadium as a Municipal Investment. Greenwood Publishing, 1994.
Stadia: A Design and Development Guide by Geraint John and Rod Sheard. Architectural Press, 2000.
Michelle Provoost, Matthjis Bouw and Camiel Van Winkel. The Stadium: Architecture of Mass Sport. NAI Publishers, 2000.

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The Coliseum sustained extensive damage during the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

Photo by M. Celebi of the USGS

Year by Year statistics: for Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from this Wikipedia article, which is probably more up to date than ours (retrieved August 12, 2005).

With the exception of the Wikipedia article above, everything else is...

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