Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena
The Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena is a multipurpose sports arena in Downtown Los Angeles, California at Exposition Park. It is located next to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum adjacent to the campus of the University of Southern California.
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 sister facility to the adjacent Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and quickly became the city's top arena. It became the home court to the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA from 1960-1967, the Los Angeles Clippers also of the NBA from 1985-1999, the Los Angeles Kings of the NHL for their inaugural 1967 season, the USC Trojans basketball team of the NCAA from 1959-2006, and the original Los Angeles Stars of the ABA from 1968-1970. Currently high school basketball championships, concerts, and conventions are held in the facility.
The Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena was the city's premier venue for high-profile sports and entertainment events as well as events of national and international distinction. Since its opening day, it has hosted the 1960 Democratic National Convention, the 1968 and 1972 NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four, the 1992 Women's Basketball Final Four, and the 1963 NBA All-Star Game
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.
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 square foot struture, a series of steel braced frames (x-braces) 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 x-braces, portions of the arena floor had to be excavated, then reinforced to provide extra strength. Once the x-braces 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 comprised of 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 EFIS (Exterior Finish Insulation 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.