United Airlines has bought the naming rights of L.A. Coliseum, and USC now plays at United Airlines Memorial Coliseum in downtown Los Angeles. The official announcement came on Monday, a little over eight months since the news was first reported.
USC President Max Nikias announces the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum will be renamed the United Airlines Memorial Coliseum under a new naming rights agreement.— Joey Kaufman (@joeyrkaufman) January 29, 2018
United Airlines will be paying #USC $69 million over 15 years for the Coliseum naming-rights deal.— Ryan Abraham (@insidetroy) January 29, 2018
Sports Business Daily first reported the news in May.
Back in April, United made international headlines when one of its passengers was beaten, bloodied, and dragged off one of its flights after he declined to leave an overbooked plane. United has deservedly gone through a PR crisis in the aftermath of that beating, even though the airline’s not in much real trouble at all. The company’s share price is higher than it was when it let that guy get dragged.
But United is probably now doomed to a lifetime of snarky tweets during USC football games, as well as Rams games until the city’s NFL team gets its own building. These jokes may not be funny, even when aimed at the airline and not the man they put through hell. I’ll probably make one of these jokes on at least two or three occasions.
United already has its name on at one major sports venue, the Bulls and Blackhawks’ United Center in Chicago. Have many jokes been made about that arena in the last five weeks? I’m not sure. Here’s one about nosebleed seats, but I don’t know the extent of the jokes. Maybe a Chicagoan can help us figure that one out.
We college football people are a rowdy bunch, though, and it is a virtual certainty that United jokes will become a fixture of Trojans games at the start of the season.
There are going to be jokes about a QB’s terrible pass getting “re-accommodated for a pick-six” and quips about a player taking two penalties in the same quarter getting “involuntary re-booked.” And if the Coliseum is sold out and down to standing-room-only admission, college football Twitter will descend into chaos.
USC will become the second Pac-12 school to play in an airline-named stadium. Washington’s venue in Seattle is “Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium.” The deal for those naming rights was $41 million over a decade, SBJ noted. This one’s pricier.