The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum opened June of 1923; some 5 months later, on October 6th, the first football game was played in the stadium, with the University of Southern California defeating Pomona College 23-7 before a crowd of 12,836. It was a modest beginning for a venue that would later play a very prominent role in college and professional football, and become the greatest stadium in the history of America.
USC vs. Pomona College at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, 1923
In addition to serving as the home field for the USC Trojans since 1923, 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), one World Series (1959), a Papal Mass and visits by three U.S. Presidents: John F. Kennedy, Richard M. Nixon and Ronald Reagan.
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 provided a home for the Rams (from Cleveland, 1946-79 NFL), the Dodgers (from Brooklyn, 1958-61, MLB), and the Lakers (from Minneapolis, 1960-67, NBA), and has also been home to a variety of Southern California teams as well the Raiders (from Oakland, 1982-94, NFL), UCLA Football (1933-81) and was the expansion home of the Chargers (1960, NFL) the Clippers (from San Diego, 1984-99, NBA), USC Basketball (1959-2006, NCAA), UCLA Basketball (1959-65, NCAA), the Cobras (1988, Arena Football), the Ice Dogs (1995-96, IHL), the Sharks (1972-74, WHA), the Stars (1968-70, ABA) and Kings (1967, NHL).
In 1984, the State of California and the United States Government declared the 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 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: Roger Waters performing “The Wall” in its entirety (May 19, 2012), LA Rising (June of 2011), the Summer Sanitarium Tour (headlined by Metallica – August 2003), Bruce Springsteen in 1985, four sold-out Rolling Stones, U2, Metallica, The Who, Pink Floyd, Kid Rock, the Grateful Dead, Van Halen and More!
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 Coliseum stage.
Known also for hosting soccer competitions, the Coliseum has been the site of many memorable international matches. The all-time Coliseum attendance record for a soccer match was set on August 6, 2006, as 92,650 fans turned out to see a double-header featuring Chivas vs. Barcelona and Chivas USA vs. the New England Revolution. The crowd eclipsed the previous mark of 91,585, set in 1999 as Mexico took on Argentina. The 2014 Centroamericana Cup Championships and five CONCACAF Gold Cups.
The Coliseum Memorial Court of Honor
The Court of Honor, located at the Peristyle end of the Coliseum and comprised of 61 commemorative plaques at present, got a thorough refurbishment as well. Chronicling outstanding persons or events, athletic or otherwise, that have had a definite impact upon the history, glory and growth of the Coliseum, the plaques were restored to their former glory.
To see a complete list of all those individuals and events commemorated, click here