Galen Center

Galen Center

The arena's north corner in November 2006
Location 3400 S. Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, California
Coordinates 34°01′16″N 118°16′48″W / 34.021°N 118.280°W / 34.021; -118.280Coordinates: 34°01′16″N 118°16′48″W / 34.021°N 118.280°W / 34.021; -118.280
Public transit

Owner University of Southern California
Capacity Basketball: 10,258
Broke ground October 30, 2004[1]
Opened October 12, 2006
Construction cost $147 million
($173 million in 2016 dollars[2])
Architect HNTB
Structural engineer John A. Martin & Associates[3]
Services engineer M-E Engineers, Inc.[4]
General contractor Clark Construction Group[5]
USC Trojans (NCAA)

The Galen Center is a multipurpose indoor arena and athletic facility owned and operated by the University of Southern California. Located at the southeast corner of Jefferson Boulevard and Figueroa Street in the Exposition Park area of Los Angeles, California, United States, it is right across the street from the campus and near the Shrine Auditorium and is the home of the USC Trojans basketball and USC volleyball teams. The architectural firm behind the design of the Galen Center is HNTB. In addition to basketball and volleyball events, the Galen Center hosts concerts, pageants and theatrical performances. Local high school graduation ceremonies as well as CIF championships and the Academic Decathlon are held at the Galen Center. The annual Kids' Choice Awards were held there from 2011 to 2014.


Interior during an exhibition basketball game against Cal Poly Pomona

USC had planned to build an on-campus indoor arena for more than 100 years. Before the Galen Center, USC basketball had been played at a variety of locations, including the neighboring Shrine Auditorium stage, the old Pan-Pacific Auditorium in the Fairfax District, and from 1959 onward at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena.

The final push to build the new facility began in 2002, when Louis Galen, a successful banker and longtime Trojan fan, and his wife Helene donated $10 million to the new center immediately after USC football quarterback Carson Palmer won the 2002 Heisman Trophy. The Galens donated an additional $25 million to the project to have the building named after them and later upped their donation an additional $15 million to make sure that a connected practice facility would also bear their name, bringing the total donation to $50 million. Previously, the USC men's and women's basketball teams practiced at the smaller, on-campus North Gym. The Galen Center replaced the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena as the home for USC men's and women's basketball.

Galen Center construction cost an estimated $147 million, which includes the arena, team offices, and a state-of-the-art practice facility. The largest tax revenue would be generated by the city of Los Angeles' 10% parking tax. Other sources of tax revenue will include sales tax, utility users tax, business license tax, and income from advertising. In addition, two new parking structures were built: a 1,200-space structure located between the Radisson Hotel and the arena, with access from Flower Street, and a second structure at the southeast corner of Figueroa Street and Exposition Boulevard. The additional parking structures also increased the available parking for both the USC campus and the nearby Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

View of Downtown Los Angeles from the Galen Center's unique window
Building exterior

Construction officially began on October 31, 2004, with a groundbreaking ceremony including Los Angeles City Council members Bernard Parks and Jan Perry along with Helene and Louis Galen, longtime USC fans for whom the facility is named.

The first event, a women's volleyball game between USC and Stanford University, took place on October 12, 2006. The first concert at the center was October 21, 2006 and featured Al Green. The first men's basketball was held on November 16 against the University of South Carolina.[6][7] The first sellout crowd was the men's basketball game against the UCLA Bruins on January 12, 2007 with an attendance of 9,682.[8] The highest attendance in the first year was for the Cal Bears men's basketball game on February 24, 2007 at 10,027.[9][10]

On January 31, 2008 the USC men's basketball game against the Arizona Wildcats set the arena's attendance record with crowd of 10,258 in attendance.[11]

On May 10, 2014 the arena hosted a heavyweight title boxing fight between Chris Arreola and Bermane Stiverne for the vacant World Boxing Council Heavyweight Title. Stiverne won the title after a sixth-round knockout of Arreola, becoming the first Haitian-born boxer to win a world heavyweight championship, as well as the first out of the province of Quebec, to win the WBC world heavyweight championship.[12][13][14]

Jim Sterkel Court

Interior, with premium seating on third Level

The Galen Center's basketball court was named after former USC basketball player Jim Sterkel, who played for the Trojans for two seasons in the 1950s, averaging 10 points a game. Two unique factors in the naming rights were the obscurity of the name choice and that the Sterkel family was not aware that the court was named after the late Jim Sterkel until after the facility had already opened. A longtime friend of Sterkel's made the $5 million donation under the agreement that his name never be revealed. In an interview with Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke, who tracked down the person, 'Anonymous' said that he grew up with Sterkel: both attended Mark Keppel High School, both began at USC in 1955 and were roommates. 'Anonymous' later hired Sterkel and helped pay for his treatment when Sterkel was diagnosed with cancer. When the son of the anonymous donor contracted leukemia, Sterkel wrote a poem and sealed it to be read only when the son had died. Sterkel later died in 1997, with the son dying two years later. Inspired by the poem and his friendship with Sterkel, 'Anonymous' made the donation and named the court after his friend, saying, "Some people don't deserve to be forgotten."[15]

Facility information

The facility is 255,000 square feet (23,700 m2), with a 45,000 square feet (4,200 m2) pavilion, and has three practice courts and offices. The seating capacity is 10,258, and there are 22 private suites. The rights to purchase tickets for approximately ⅓ of the seats are being sold through lifetime personal seat licenses, ranging from $2,500–$10,000 per seat.

The full arena in concert configuration


Series Number Date
1 Sunday May 8 and Monday May 9 of 2011
3 Wednesday July 10 to Friday July 12 of 2013


  1. "USC Hoops, Volleyball Set to Open Long-Awaited Arena". ESPN. Associated Press. October 11, 2006. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  2. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved October 21, 2016.
  3. "USC Galen Center". John A. Martin & Associates. Archived from the original on April 2, 2012. Retrieved February 14, 2012.
  4. "USC Galen Event Center - Los Angeles, CA". M-E Engineers, Inc. Archived from the original on April 25, 2012. Retrieved February 14, 2012.
  5. "Galen Event Center". Clark Construction Group. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  6. "2006-07 USC Men's Basketball Schedule Announced". USC Athletics. July 14, 2006. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  7. "South Carolina 80, USC 74 (OT)". ESPN. Associated Press. November 16, 2006. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  8. Harris, Beth (January 13, 2007). "No. 4 UCLA 65, Southern California 64". Yahoo! Sports. Associated Press. Retrieved January 13, 2007.
  9. "USC 84, California 66". USA Today. Associated Press. February 25, 2007. Retrieved February 25, 2007.
  10. "Afflalo, No. 3 UCLA Rally, Avoid USC's Upset Bid". ESPN. Associated Press. January 13, 2007. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  11. Bolch, Ben (February 1, 2008). "Trojans Are Banged Up in Loss". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  12. Fight News editor (12 January 2015). "Stiverne: I represent the country I was born in, Haiti, and then Quebec, but I also love the United States". Retrieved 11 April 2015.
  13. Dan, Rafael (12 May 2014). "Bermane Stiverne drops Arreola". ESPN. Retrieved 11 April 2015.
  14. Simmon, Stev (14 May 2014). "Bermane Stiverne is Canada's mystery world boxing champ". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  15. Plaschke, Bill (November 5, 2006). "Floored". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 24, 2013.
  16. Yuan, Annie (February 11, 2011). "Jack Black to Host Kids' Choice Awards for Third Time". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 11, 2011.
  17. Pitcher, Jenna (September 2, 2013). "League Of Legends Finals a Sell Out at Staples Center, North American Regionals Conclude". Polygon. Retrieved October 3, 2013.
  18. "Galen Center :: Teen Choice Awards 2015". Galen Center official website. Retrieved August 14, 2015.


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