The Los Angeles Coliseum History
The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum opened its doors to Los Angeles in June of 1923. Some months later, on October 6, 1923, the first football game was played in the stadium, with the University of Southern California (USC) hosting Pomona College before a crowd of 12, 836, with the Trojans prevailing, 23-7. It was a modest beginning for a venue that would later play a very prominent role in college and professional football.
The LA Coliseum has served as the home field for the USC Trojans since 1923. Additionally, countless historic events have taken place inside these venerable walls during nine decades of celebrated history. It is the only facility in the world to play host to two Olympiads (X and XXIII), two Super Bowls (I and VII), and one World Series (1959).
Along with the adjacent Sports Arena, the LA Coliseum is credited with helping to start the migration of professional sports teams to the West Coast. The complex provided a home for the Rams (from Cleveland, 1946-1979 NFL), the Dodgers (from Brooklyn, 1958-1961, MLB), and the Lakers (from Minneapolis, 1960-1967, NBA), and has also been home to a variety of Southern California teams as well as the Raiders (from Oakland, 1982-1994, NFL), UCLA Football (1933-1981) and was the expansion home of the Chargers (1960, NFL) the Clippers (from San Diego, 1984-1999, NBA), USC Basketball (1959-2006, NCAA), UCLA Basketball (1959-1965), the Cobras (1988, Arena Football), the Ice Dogs (1995-1996, IHL), the Sharks (1972-1974, WHA), the Stars (1968-1970, ABA) and Kings (1967, NHL).
In 1984, the State of California and the United States Government declared the LA Coliseum a State and Federal Historical Landmark for its contribution to the history of California, as well as to that of the United States as a whole.
On March 29, 2008, the Los Angeles Dodgers hosted an exhibition game against the Boston Red Sox in front of a crowd of 115,300, setting a Guiness World Record for largest attendance ever at a baseball game. Other historic events include Billy Graham's appearance in 1963 in front of 134,254 (still an all-time LA Coliseum record), Nelson Mandela's triumphant return to the United States, the first ever Papal Mass by Pope John Paul II in 1987 and the 1976 Bicentennial Spectacular.
The LA Coliseum has also hosted decades of memorable concerts, including the most recent show featuring Roger Waters performing 'The Wall' in its entirety (May 19, 2012) as well as LA Rising (June of 2011), the Summer Sanitarium Tour (headlined by Metallica - August 2003) as well as a record five sold out nights of Bruce Springsteen in 1985 (total attendance, 322,986) four sold out nights for the Rolling Stones, U2, Metallica, The Who, Pink Floyd, Kid Rock and others.
A new mark for the highest paid attendance (63,101) for a Latin music concert in the United States was set on March 18, 2006, as RBD took the LA Coliseum stage.
Known also for its place in International Soccer Competition, the LA Coliseum has been the site of many memorable matches. The all-time LA Coliseum (as well as National) attendance record for a soccer game was set on July 26, 2017, as 93,098 fans turned out for a match between Manchester City and Real Madrid. The crowd eclipsed the previous mark of 92,650 fans attending a double-header featuring Chivas vs. Barcelona and Chivas USA vs. the New England Revolution on August 6, 2006.
Prior to the 2011 USC Football Season, a new, state of the art video-board was added to the west side of the LA Coliseum. Manufactured by Daktronics and featuring outstanding 15mm resolution and measuring an imposing 150 feet wide by 40 feet high, the board ranks as the second largest in all of college football.
In the months leading up to the 2008 USC Football Season, the LA Coliseum also underwent a series of several substantial renovations. A new, state of the art, full color LED videoboard was installed in place of the existing display. Manufactured by Optec and featuring outstanding 16mm resolution, the new video board can display in High Definition, and offers vastly improved clarity and brightness, offering a clear, realistic picture even when in direct sunlight. At the west end of the LA Coliseum, another LED videoboard, measuring 45' x 5', has replaced the previous scoreboard structure, allowing for larger graphics, and the ability to carry a video feed.
A brand new sound system was also installed at the same time. For this, the LA Coliseum enlisted Meyer Sound, of Northern California, the company entrusted with providing sound equipment for the Opening Ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics, to create a new system from scratch. The results mark the first permanent installation of Meyer's state of the art SB-3 Technology. Originally developed for the military, the SB-3 system was created for use on aircraft carriers, where weather variables necessitate the efficient and highly targeted delivery of audio signals. Additionally, new seating sections were added at the north and southeast corners of the facility, bringing the total capacity to 93,607 for football games.
Court Of Honor
The Coliseum Memorial Court of Honor, located at the Peristyle end of the Coliseum, displays over 60 commemorative plaques of outstanding persons or events that have made a significant contribution to the Coliseum or Sports Arena through positive athletic participation, or a positive contribution to the historical significance of the Coliseum or the Sports Arena. The Coliseum Commission has the responsibility for the consideration and decisions regarding inductees to the Coliseum Memorial Court of Honor. Most recently, Tom Bradley and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band were inducted into the Court of Honor in 2019.
For a complete list of all individuals/events commemorated, click here.
The Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena History
The Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena opened its doors to the public in July 1959, hosting a bantamweight boxing title match between Jose Becerra and Alphonse Halimi. Featuring a capacity of over 15,000, the LA Sports Arena played host to a variety of events throughout the years, including concerts, religious gatherings, and cultural events. It was also the site of frequent commercial and feature film shoots. Among the many notable events that have taken place at the LA Sports Arena are the boxing competition for the XXIIIrd Olympiad, two NCAA Basketball Championships (1968 Men’s, 1992 Women’s), numerous NBA Championship Series, an NBA All-Star Game (1963), the 1960 Democratic National Convention where John F. Kennedy was nominated for President and countless memorable concerts. The Los Angeles Lakers called the LA Sports Arena home upon moving to Los Angeles from Minneapolis (1960-1967), as did the Clippers which relocated from San Diego (1984-1999), USC Basketball (1959-2006), UCLA Basketball (1959-1965), the Cobras (1988, Arena Football), the Kings (1967), the Ice Dogs (1995-2005, IHL), the Blades (1961-1967,WHL), the Sharks (1972-1974, WHA), and the Star (1968-1970, ABA). Major events at the LA Sports Arena included Bruce Springsteen's 32 Los Angeles performances, including his final rock-n-roll show at the LA Sports Arena on March 15, 2016. Other standout musical performances included Green Day (April 18, 2013), the Killers (May 2, 2013), and Pearl Jam (November 23 - 24, 2013). The LA Sports Arena was also the site of frequent Naturalization Ceremonies, where immigrants made their way to the floor of the Arena to take the Oath of Allegiance. For nearly six decades, the Los Angeles Sports Arena hosted some of the biggest and most popular events. The historic venue closed its doors permanently on May 12, 2016.