Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena
The arena in April 2007
|Location||3939 S. Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, California
|Public transit||Expo Park/USC (Expo Line)|
|Owner||State of California
County of Los Angeles
City of Los Angeles
|Operator||University of Southern California|
Ice hockey: 14,546
|Broke ground||April 7, 1958|
|Opened||July 4, 1959|
|Construction cost||$8.5 million
($68.8 million in 2015 dollars)
|Structural engineer||Brandow and Johnson|
|General contractor||L.E. Dixon Company|
|USC Trojans basketball (NCAA) (1959–2006)
UCLA Bruins basketball (NCAA) (1959–1965, 2011-2012)
Los Angeles Lakers (NBA) (1960–1967)
Los Angeles Kings (NHL) (1967)
Los Angeles Stars (ABA) (1968–1970)
Los Angeles Aztecs (NASL) (1980–81)
Los Angeles Sharks (WHA) (1972-1974)
Los Angeles Clippers (NBA) (1984–1999)
WrestleMania 2 (WWE) (1986)
Los Angeles Cobras (AFL) (1988)
WrestleMania VII (WWE) (1991)
Los Angeles Ice Dogs (IHL) (1995–1996)
Los Angeles Temptation (LFL) (2009–2011)
Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena is a multi-purpose arena at Exposition Park, in the University Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. It is located next to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and just south of the campus of the University of Southern California, which manages and operates both venues under a master lease agreement with the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission.
The arena was opened in 1959 by Vice President Richard Nixon on July 4 and its first event followed four days later, a bantamweight title fight between Jose Becerra and Alphonse Halimi on July 8. It became a companion facility to the adjacent Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and home court to the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA from October 1960 to December 1967, the Los Angeles Clippers also of the NBA from 1984 to 1999, and the Los Angeles Kings of the NHL from October to December 1967 during their inaugural 1967-68 season. It was the home for college basketball for the USC Trojans from 1959 to 2006 and the UCLA Bruins from 1959 to 1965 and again as a temporary home in the 2011-2012 season. It also hosted the Los Angeles Aztecs of the NASL played one season of indoor soccer (1980–81), the Los Angeles Blades of the Western Hockey League from 1961 to 1967, the Los Angeles Sharks of the WHA from 1972 to 1974, the Los Angeles Cobras of the AFL in 1988, and the original Los Angeles Stars of the ABA from 1968 to 1970. The arena played host to the top indoor track meet on the West Coast, the annual Los Angeles Invitational track meet (frequently called the "Sunkist Invitational", with title sponsorship by Sunkist Growers, Incorporated), from 1960 until the event's demise in 2004. Since the Trojans left, the arena has taken on a lower profile. The arena still holds high school basketball championships, as well as concerts and conventions. The UCLA men's basketball team played a majority of their home games at the Sports Arena during the 2011-12 season while Pauley Pavilion underwent renovation.
Since its opening day, the arena has hosted the 1960 Democratic National Convention, the 1968 and 1972 NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four, the 1992 NCAA Women's Basketball Final Four, the 1963 NBA All-Star Game, and the boxing competitions during the 1984 Summer Olympics. In addition to hosting the final portion of WrestleMania II in 1986, the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena has also hosted WrestleMania VII in 1991 as well as other WWE events, although Staples Center is now WWE's primary Los Angeles home. The arena also hosted When Worlds Collide, a 1994 joint card between the Mexican lucha libre promotion AAA and World Championship Wrestling (which normally called the Great Western Forum home until they, too, moved to Staples Center) that is credited with introducing the lucha style to English-speaking audiences in the U.S. NBC's renewed version of American Gladiators and the 1999-2001 syndicated show Battle Dome were filmed from the arena.
After then-Clippers owner Donald Sterling turned down an agreement to re-locate the franchise permanently to Anaheim's Arrowhead Pond (now Honda Center) in 1996, the Coliseum Commission had discussions to build an on-site replacement for the Sports Arena. Plans included a seating capacity of 18,000 for basketball, 84 luxury suites, and an on-site practice facility for the Clippers. However, as a new Downtown Los Angeles sports and entertainment arena was being planned and eventually built (Staples Center) two miles north along Figueroa Street, the Coliseum Commission scuttled plans for a Sports Arena replacement, and as a result, the Clippers became one of the original tenants at the new arena. There were also similar plans years earlier, in 1989, as Sterling had discussions with then-Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley and then-Coliseum Commission president (and eventual Bradley mayoral successor) Richard Riordan about a Sports Arena replacement; Sterling threatened to leave the Sports Arena and move elsewhere in the Los Angeles region if plans did not come together.
The seating capacity for basketball has changed over the years:
The arena underwent major renovations to bring it up to 21st century seismic standards and is well maintained. There are four fully equipped team rooms, two smaller rooms for officials, and two private dressing rooms for individual performers. There are two additional meeting rooms on site which can be used for administrative or hospitality functions.
The floor area comprises a 144-by-262-foot (44 by 80 m) space (38,000 sq ft (3,500 m2)), affording the largest standing floor capacity of any arena in the area. There is a 75-foot (23 m) vertical clearance. The arena has a unique, expansive floor-level footprint of nearly 130,000 sq ft (12,000 m2) and 101,557 square feet (9,435.0 m2) on the concourse level, allowing the installation of any needed display, food or other programming requirements. There is an enormous load-in ramp at the west side of the arena with a 40-foot (12 m) wide entry. Print, radio and television media may be serviced on each side of the arena by installation of any kind of portable facilities. Five permanent TV locations are located on the concourse level. In addition, a 6-foot-wide (1.8 m) catwalk is suspended from the ceiling and circles the arena for cameras or spotlights. Spectators can reach arena level seating area either by circulatory ramp on the southwest side of the building or by a stairway located next to the north doors. There are also escalators located at the southwest and northeast sides of the building. The Sports Arena was the first NBA arena to feature a rotating billboard at courtside which also acted as the scorer's table. Rotating billboards eventually became standard at all NBA arena until the mid-2000s, when LED billboard/scorer's tables were introduced.
Spectator amenities include a full-service main ticket office, a secondary box office and 2 portable booths, 6 permanent concession stands, and a first-aid station. A club and restaurant are located on the arena level of the facility. A number of operational improvements have also been made to enhance accessibility for the handicapped. These include the installation of 14 additional handicapped parking stalls, hand rails on both sides of the pedestrian ramp leading to the floor level seating, handicapped accessible drinking fountains, an Assistive Listening System to aid the hearing impaired, conversion of restroom facilities, dressing rooms and bathroom fixtures for the handicapped, and increased informational signage. Event presentation is augmented by a four-sided overhead scoreboard with several auxiliary boards.
The Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena seats up to 16,740 for boxing/wrestling, 16,161 for basketball, and 14,546 for hockey. There are 12,389 fixed upper-level, theatre-type seats and arena-level seating which varies by sport.
The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission embarked on a seismic retrofit, designed to bring the Sports Arena up to 21st century seismic standards. In order to reinforce the existing 316,700-square-foot (29,420 m2) structure, a series of steel braced frames were connected to the existing concrete structural system at both the arena and loge levels of the building. To provide a solid footing for these steel frames, portions of the arena floor had to be excavated, then reinforced to provide extra strength. Once the steel frames were fitted and incorporated into the existing structure between existing support columns, concrete was then re-poured into the area. The original crown of the arena, one of its most distinguishing characteristics, was the countless small ceramic tiles, each measuring no more than a square inch in width. A multitude of the crown's tiles were loosening and many others were discolored. In order to remedy this, a new crown was designed, this time using individual sections of EIFS (Exterior Insulation Finishing System), which offered the decided advantages of better durability, easier maintenance and improved thermal characteristics. A foundation surface was applied directly over the existing tiles, in order to seal the crown and give the new surface something to adhere to. Once the structural work was finished, the walls, ceilings, doors, floors and other areas involved in the modification had to be put back together. Throughout the entire project, the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena remained open for business. The resulting arena now features a brand-new crown around the exterior of the building, as well as a new terrazzo floor on the concourse level.
Developers plan to tear down the Sports Arena in order to replace it with a more in demand facility — a soccer-specific stadium that might house an MLS team. On May 18, 2015, Los Angeles FC announced its intention to build a privately-funded 25,000-seat soccer-specific stadium at the site for $250 million. The Stadium plans to be completed by 2018.
- Pink Floyd performed 5 shows at Memorial Sports Arena during their Wish You Were Here tour April 23–27, 1975. They would open The Wall Tour at the same venue February 7–13, 1980 and would perform three more nights in November, 1987 on the A Momentary Lapse of Reason Tour.
- U2 performed 5 shows at Memorial Sports Arena during The Joshua Tree Tour on April 17, 18, 20, 21 and 22, 1987.
- Michael Jackson performed 6 sold-out shows at Memorial Sports Arena, during his Bad World Tour on November 13, 1988 and January 16–18, 26-27, 1989.
- Madonna performed 5 shows at Memorial Sports Arena during her Blond Ambition World Tour on May 11–13 and 15-16, 1990.
- The Grateful Dead have performed at the Sports Arena on December 8–10 in 1993, and December 15–16 and 18-19 in 1994.
- Los Angeles University High School won their 2nd Men's Basketball C.I.F. L.A. City Section Invitational Championship at Memorial Sports Arena in 2008.
- Bernie Sanders hosted a campaign rally on August 10, 2015 that was attended by over 27,500 people.
- Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
- L.A. Memorial Sports Arena. Columbia.edu. Retrieved on 2013-09-06.
- Los Angeles Sports Arena. Basketball.ballparks.com. Retrieved on 2013-09-06.
- 1984 Summer Olympics official report. Volume 1. Part 1. pp. 105-7.
- Baker, Chris; Hernandez, Greg (June 7, 1996). "L.A. Clippers Decide Against Anaheim Move". Los Angeles Times.
- Springer, Steve (April 17, 1998). "Clippers to Join Kings, Lakers in New Arena". Los Angeles Times.
- "Clippers' Owner Wants New Stadium". Los Angeles Times. May 11, 1989.
- "Knicks Defeat Lakers 111–101". The Milwaukee Journal. October 25, 1960. Retrieved February 16, 2015.
- Goldfarb, Gerald (December 27, 1986). "Days of Our Lives Has Nothing on the Clippers". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 16, 2015.
- Howard–Cooper, Scott (April 5, 1989). "Celtics Overwhelm the Clippers With Strong Front-Line Play, 124-108". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 16, 2015.
- Howard–Cooper, Scott (January 31, 1990). "Clippers Prove No Panacea for Lakers, 121-104". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 16, 2015.
- Reich, Kenneth (January 4, 1993). "Clippers Up in Air on Site Selection". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 16, 2015.
- Shepard, Eric (January 26, 1994). "Clippers Move Knick Game to Anaheim During Repairs". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 16, 2015.
- Plaschke, Bill (December 14, 1996). "Our Little Secret". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 16, 2015.
- Bolch, Ben (February 25, 2006). "Leaving It On Empty". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 16, 2015.
- USC to operate, restore Coliseum
- "Los Angeles Football Club's stadium focus firmly on Sports Arena site". Los Angeles Times. March 18, 2015.
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