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New Era for Sports Facilities

August 21, 1988

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum entered a new era in its storied history when local officials turned over its operation to a private contractor.

With recent political and legal controversies swirling about the stadium, it was nice to see an important change take place so quietly and easily. We hope it's a sign that the Coliseum Commission, which previously had the sole responsibility for managing the facility, has been chastened by the battles of the last several years, during which it has driven away several major tenants--including the Lakers, the Rams, UCLA and now, apparently, the Raiders.

The new five-year agreement turns over the management of the Coliseum and the neighboring Sports Arena to a partnership of MCA Inc. and Spectacor Management. They will be paid to manage the facilities, dividing profits with the commission. The commission will proceed with improvements that the Coliseum and Sports Arena need to become state-of-the-art sports facilities.

But as important as the details of the agreement is the fact that responsibility for the Coliseum has finally passed to a single firm from an unpredictable nine-person body with constantly shifting membership and political loyalties.

It has become increasingly clear, particularly in the commission's recent dispute with the Raiders, that in order to keep the Coliseum and the Sports Arena competitive with other sports venues the facilities would have to be not just modernized but also better managed. And a major step toward better management is keeping the members of the commission as far from stadium operations as possible. If the new arrangement does that, it is bound to be an improvement.

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