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The Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena was a multi-purpose arena, in the University Park neighborhood, of Los Angeles, California, at Exposition Park. It was located next to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, just south of the campus of the University of Southern California. The arena was demolished in 2016 and replaced with Banc of California Stadium, home of Major League Soccer's Los Angeles FC which opened in 2018.

History[]

The Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena was opened on July 4, 1959 by then U.S. Vice President Richard M. Nixon. Its first event followed four days later, a Bantamweight title fight between Jose Becerra and Alphonse Halimi on July 8, 1959. The Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena 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 1984–1999, the Los Angeles Kings of the NHL from October to December 1967 during their inaugural 1967-68 season, the USC Trojans basketball team of the NCAA from 1959–2006, the UCLA Bruins Basketball team of the NCAA from 1959-1964, the Los Angeles Blades of the Western Hockey League from 1961 to 1967, the Los Angeles Sharks of the WHA from 1972-1974, the Los Angeles Cobras of the AFL in 1988, and the original Los Angeles Stars of the ABA from 1968–1970. From 1960 until its demise in 2004, the arena played host to the annual Los Angeles Invitational track meet, frequently called the ""Sunkist Invitational" with title sponsorship by Sunkist Growers, Incorporated, the top indoor track meet on the West Coast. 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 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 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.[1] In addition to hosting the final portion of WrestleMania 2 in 1986, the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena has also hosted WrestleMania VII in 1991 as well as other WWE events. The arena also hosted When Worlds Collide, a 1994 joint card between the Mexican lucha libre promotion AAA and World Championship Wrestling that is credited with introducing the lucha style to English-speaking audiences in the U.S. NBC's renewed version of American Gladiators was filmed from the arena.

The arena[]

The arena has recently undergone a major renovation to bring it up to 21st century seismic standards and is well maintained. There are 4 fully equipped team rooms, 2 smaller rooms for officials, and 2 private dressing rooms for individual performers. There are two additional meeting rooms on site which can be used for administrative or hospitality functions.

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.

Recent developments[]

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 sq. ft. 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 terrazo floor on the concourse level.

Closure and replacement[]

The Los Angeles Memorial Sport Arena's fate was sealed when the ownership group for Major League Soccer expansion team Los Angeles FC selected the Sports Arena site as the location for their new stadium, Banc of California Stadium, in May 17, 2015. Bruce Springsteen performed in the venue's final event on March 19, 2016. Demolition of the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena began shortly after the groundbreaking for Banc of California Stadium on August 23, 2016, and was completed two months later.


Notes[]

Los angeles sports arena

Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena in January 2011

  • Located in Hollywood's "backyard", the Coliseum and Sports Arena are frequently used as locations for commercials for numerous national and international companies, television series and major motion pictures including 1966 film Fantastic Voyage, the 2008 video game Midnight Club: Los Angeles, the 2001 film Ali, and multiple editions of the Rocky series. The arena was also used in the 2001 Rock Star (film) starring Mark Wahlberg and Jennifer Aniston.
  • The floor area comprises a 144 by 262 foot space (38,000 sq ft.), affording the largest standing floor capacity of any arena in the area.
  • There is a 75 foot vertical clearance.
  • The arena has a unique, expansive floor-level footprint of nearly 130,000 sq. ft. and 101,557 sq.ft. 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 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 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.
  • John Wooden, Jerry West, and Elgin Baylor were honored for playing at the arena with a plaque in the nearby Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Court of Honor.
  • Every New Year's Eve, a Dance music festival called Together As One is presented, featuring various House, Electro, Techno and Trance DJ's. On New Year's Eve 2008, artists such as Armin Van Buuren and deadmau5 performed in front of tens of thousands of people.
  • Every October around Halloween, the LA Sports Arena is the site for Monster massive, a Halloween inspired rave, which is said to have held over 70,000 people in 2008.
  • In 1975, from April 23-27, Pink Floyd performed a series of five concerts at the arena, where approximately 500 concert goers were arrested, mostly on charges involving possession of marijuana.[2][3] They later recorded, with some help from the arena's PA system and acoustics, a guitar part for the introduction of the track "Sorrow" for their studio album A Momentary Lapse of Reason.
  • Michael Jackson performed at six sold out shows at the arena, attended by 108,000 people in total as part of his Last Leg during the Bad World Tour in 1989. These were Jackson's last full performances in the United States.
  • During an April 15, 2009 performance, Bruce Springsteen called the arena "the joint that don't disappoint." Also during the performance on April 16, he referred to the Sports Arena as "the dump that jumps".
  • In March 2011, the venue hosted auditions for the American version of The X Factor, produced by Simon Cowell.
  • In December of 1968 a large musical festival was held at the arena, the Los Angeles Pop Festival featuring twelve rock and pop bands. It was also called "A Christmas Happening".
  • The arena is mentioned in Paul McCartney's song "Venus and Mars".


References[]

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