Known as “The Greatest Stadium in the World”, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, a living memorial to all who served in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War I, has been a civic treasure for generations of Angelenos. The legacy of events and individuals hosted in nine-plus-decades reads like no other: the only venue to host two Summer Olympics (Xth Olympiad in 1932, XXIIIrd Olympiad in 1984) and soon a third (XXXIVth Olympiad in 2028); home to college football’s USC Trojans since 1923 and the UCLA Bruins (1933-1981); professional football’s Los Angeles Rams (1946-1979 and 2016-2019), Raiders (1982-1994) and Chargers (1960); hosting three NFL Championships and two Super Bowls; home to the Los Angeles Dodgers (1958-1960) and the 1959 World Series; appearances by U.S. Presidents Franklin D Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan; and international dignitaries such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez, Pope John Paul II, the Dalai Lama, and Nelson Mandela. From Mick Jagger to the Harlem Globetrotters, the Grateful Dead to Billy Graham, Evel Knievel to Pele, the Memorial Coliseum, named a National and California Historic Landmark in 1984, has been the stage for the unbelievable, the unforgettable, the iconic, and the best in human endeavor and achievement.
Along with the adjacent Sports Arena, the Coliseum is credited with helping to start the migration of professional sports teams to the West Coast. The complex has not only provided a home for the USC Trojans since 1923, but the following sports teams as well:
- USC Trojans (1923 – current);
- UCLA Football (1933-1981);
- Rams (from Cleveland, 1946-1979; 2016-2019, NFL);
- Dons (1946-1949, AAFC);
- Dodgers (from Brooklyn, 1958-1961, MLB);
- USC Basketball (1959-2006, NCAA);
- UCLA Basketball (1959-1965, NCAA);
- Chargers (1960, AFL);
- Lakers (from Minneapolis, 1960-1967, NBA);
- Blades (from Spokane, 1961-1967, WHL);
- Kings (1967, NHL);
- Toros (1967, NASL);
- Wolves (1967-1968, NASL);
- Stars (from Anaheim, 1968-1970, ABA);
- Sharks (1972-1974, WHA);
- Aztecs (1977 and 1981, NASL);
- Raiders (from Oakland, 1982-94, NFL);
- Express (1983-1985, USFL);
- Clippers (from San Diego, 1984-1999, NBA);
- Giltinis (2021 – 2022, MLR);
- Cobras (1988, AFL); and
- Ice Dogs (from San Diego, 1995-1996, IHL)
On March 29, 2008, the LA Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox set a Guinness World Record for the largest attendance ever at a baseball game with a crowd of 115,300. Other historic events include Billy Graham’s appearance in 1963 in front of 134,254 (still an all-time Coliseum record), Nelson Mandela’s 1990 triumphant return to the United States, the first ever Papal Mass by Pope John Paul II in 1987, and the 1976 Bicentennial Spectacular.
The Coliseum has hosted decades of memorable concerts including a “who’s-who” listing of some of rock-n-roll’s greatest artists: The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Bruce Springsteen, U2, Metallica, The Who, The Grateful Dead, Van Halen, Prince, and more!
Known also for hosting soccer competitions, the Coliseum has been the site of more than 500 memorable matches. In fact, the all-time Coliseum attendance record for a soccer match was set on July 26, 2017, as 93,098 fans turned out to see Real Madrid take on Manchester City in the International Champions Cup.
As the Coliseum nears closer to its centennial in 2023, we look forward to seeing what the next 100 years has in store for us here at “The Greatest Stadium in the World”!