For the past several months, USC has been exploring the possibility of selling naming rights to Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the stadium where the Trojans have played their home games since it was built in 1923.
There is no time frame for a deal to be completed, but however an eventual naming rights deal is structured, there is little to no chance "Memorial Coliseum" would be removed, according to Joe Furin, the Coliseum's general manager. Furin said it is "very important" that part of the name remains untouched.
The reasoning is simple: Naming rights present an obvious revenue stream that has somewhat surprisingly gone untapped for nearly a century. There have been various attempts to sell the rights in the past, but a main hurdle was cleared in 2013, when USC took over operations of the state-owned venue with an agreement that called for the Trojans to remain there for 98 years.
It remains to be seen just how much a naming rights deal would be worth to USC, but it is expected to be significantly more than the $18 million over 15 years that the University of California, Berkeley got when it sold the naming rights to the field at Memorial Stadium to Kabam, a video-game company, in 2013. The Sports Business Journal, citing experts, estimated that depending on how a deal is structured, the school could fetch between $3 and $7 million annually. Fox Sports, which has sold sponsorships for the stadium since 2013, has been commissioned to sell the naming rights.
Furin said USC remains in an exploratory phase to determine how it would like to sell the rights.
"There's no sense of urgency," he said. "It's not just naming rights. There are a whole series of factors that will go into this, and we have to find the right partner for the long term."
Furin declined to comment on specific companies or brands that might be potential suitors, saying only that they have to be the right fit for a long-term partnership.
"I can say we're not interested in anything short term," Furin said. "We'll only consider long-term, multiyear options."
Construction of the Coliseum broke ground in 1921 and took two years before the Trojans played their first football game there in 1923. The stadium has hosted the 1932 and 1984 Olympics, a pair of Super Bowls, the 1959 World Series and several other high-profile events.