LOS ANGELES -- The University of Southern California and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission tentatively agreed Wednesday to keep Trojans football at the venerable stadium for another 25 years.
The letter of intent requires both parties to negotiate a binding lease agreement within 60 days. If no final lease is signed, USC retains the rights to play the 2008 season elsewhere or to sign a one-year extension at the Coliseum.
The school had threatened to move to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena -- rival UCLA's home stadium -- next season if an agreement couldn't be reached.
"This is an important step toward a newly reinvigorated and mutually supportive relationship between USC and the Coliseum Commission," said Todd Dickey, USC senior vice president for administration.
The deal requires the Commission to make substantial upgrades to the Trojans' home since 1923. They include replacing the seats, field, drainage system and fencing around the stadium.
Upgrades to the sound and lighting system, elevators and escalators and video and scoreboards would be made. New restrooms and concession areas would be added, along with a new video and scoreboard at the stadium's west end.
The letter of intent was signed by Dickey and Coliseum Commission members after a Commission meeting at the Coliseum.
The deal calls for USC to receive a 25-year lease with options to extend up to 47 years. The school will pay rent equivalent to 8 percent of all gross ticket sales for home games and pay 50 percent of game day expenses within the stadium.
USC will pay the Coliseum Commission 8 percent of revenue collected from live television broadcasts of games attended by less than 70,000 people. Minimum stadium capacity will be 90,000 or more permanent seats.
The deal allows USC to retain right of consent over any amateur or professional football team seeking to play in the Coliseum. Both parties will cooperate in a Commission-led effort to acquire a naming rights sponsor for the Coliseum, and the school also will have a representative on the Commission.