The saying, “what’s old is new again” is true for the coliseum as it once again became home of the Los Angels Rams in 2016. The coliseum has been the home to many great events since its opening in 1923 including the site of two Olympics, the Super Bowl, World Series, multiple college football teams and two NFL franchises.
Constructed as a memorial to Los Angeles World War I veterans in the early 1920s, the coliseum opened in 1923 and became the home of the USC Trojans football team with a seating capacity just over 75,000. The capacity was increased to over 101,000 for the 1932 Summer Olympics. The history of professional football began in 1946 when owner of the Cleveland Rams, Dan Reeves, moved his team to the city, becoming the first NFL team to move to the west coast. They played their first game at the coliseum on September 29, 1946 against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Rams spent more than three decades at the coliseum before moving to Anaheim Stadium after the 1979 season. The Rams played their final game at the Los Angeles Coliseum on December 16, 1979 against the New Orleans Saints. Two seasons later, the Raiders moved south from Oakland to the coliseum, playing their first game on November 22, 1982. The Raiders called Los Angeles home for just 12 seasons before moving back to the Oakland Coliseum after the 1994 season.
For over two decades Los Angeles did not have a NFL franchise. In the late 1980s and early 1990s Rams owner Georgia Frontiere wanted a new football only stadium as she no longer wanted to share the multi-purpose Anaheim Stadium with the Angels (MLB). By the early 1990s, the team was unable to garner support for a new stadium in Los Angeles and began exploring options to relocate to another city. The Rams nearly moved to Baltimore, but since a new stadium was under construction in St. Louis, Frontiere moved the team to St. Louis after the 1994 season. A new dome stadium, the Edward Jones Dome, was the home of the Rams for two decades. By the early 2010s the Rams became dissatisfied with the Edward Jones Dome as it was no longer in the top tier of stadiums in the NFL. In January 2015, owner of the Rams, Stan Kroenke, announced plans to build a 80,000 seat NFL stadium in Inglewood, CA, just outside Los Angeles. The 2015 season marked the Rams last season in St. Louis and the Edward Jones Dome. On January 12, 2016 NFL owners voted to allow the Rams to move to Los Angeles for the 2016 season. Professional football once again returns to the Los Angeles Coliseum for four seasons, 2016 through 2019, as a new stadium is built for the Rams.
Today the Los Angeles Coliseum has a seating capacity of 77,500 consisting primarily of one seating deck surrounding the playing field. The most iconic feature of the coliseum is its east end entrance where the Olympic cauldron torch is located along with two life-sized bronze statues. On September 18, 2016 the Rams mark their return to Los Angeles as they play their first game back at the Los Angeles Coliseum, a victory against the Seattle Seahawks. In January 2018 the coliseum was renamed the United Airlines Memorial Coliseum after the airline bought the naming rights for $69 million over 16 years. Due to backlash from the agreement, the facility has reverted back to its previous name. The naming rights agreement helps fund the $270 million renovation of the stadium that will be completed by the 2019 season. It reduces the seating capacity to 77,500 as every seat is replaced with wider ones, increases the number of aisles and includes the construction of a new building on the south side of the stadium that will contain new luxury suites, club seats and a press box. Additionally, the iconic peristyle will be restored to more closely resemble the stadium’s original design. Two new HD videoboards will be installed at the east end of the stadium. This project did not displace the Trojans or Rams during the 2018 season. The Rams will move into their new stadium, SoFi Stadium, in 2020.