LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Officials Thursday morning unveiled the completed $315 million makeover of the newly named United Airlines Field at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
The renovation, which began in January 2018, dropped the Coliseum's capacity from 93,000 to 77,500.
Every seat in the stadium was replaced and new suites and 650 video screens were added throughout the stadium. A new south-side structure was added which includes new suites, loge boxes, club seats, a concourse and a press box.
The stadium added new lighting and updated its Wi-Fi and electrical and plumbing systems. Some sections got wider seats, more leg room and extra aisles.
The Coliseum's peristyle was also restored.
No public money was used in the renovation, which was entirely funded by USC, United Airlines and private donors.
Mayor Eric Garcetti, USC Athletic Director Lynn Swann and USC football coach Clay Helton were on hand for the unveiling ceremony.
"We will welcome the world in 2028 for the Olympics...We believe the renovated Coliseum will be the centerpiece of the Exposition Park renaissance which is taking place around us today, and many generations to follow," USC Athletics Department CEO Steve Lopes told reporters.
Memorial Coliseum was built in 1923 and commissioned as a memorial to veterans who fought and died in World War I. USC has controlled it since 2013.
Last year, USC and United Airlines reached a reported $69 million deal to rename Memorial Coliseum as "United Airlines Memorial Coliseum." However, the new name received significant criticism from veteran's groups, who argued that it dishonors the memory of those WWI veterans.
In June, in response to the criticism, the name was tweaked to "United Airlines Field at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum."
The L.A. Rams will be the first to play in the renovated Coliseum when they face the Denver Broncos for a preseason game on Aug. 24.
USC kicks off its season on Aug. 31 against Fresno State.
The Coliseum underwent substantial renovations 20 years ago when $93 million was spent to repair damage from the 1994 Northridge earthquake. The stadium has hosted two Olympics, two Super Bowls, a World Series, a papal Mass and visits by three U.S. presidents.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)
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