Everything you need to know as USC football’s 2019 season gets underway

As the team heads into Saturday’s opener against Fresno State, learn about tailgating do’s and don’ts, Coliseum changes and more.

August 27, 2019 David Medzerian

The Trojans make their first stand at the newly renovated United Airlines Field at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Saturday, taking on the Fresno State Bulldogs. The renovation preserved history, made key structural improvements and added state-of-the-art amenities; fans will love the new seats, additional video screens and improved Wi-Fi and cellphone service.

But game day at USC starts well before kickoff. Here’s everything you need to know for the 2019 season, including tailgating rules and parking tips for getting to, in and around the stadium.

Game day at USC: Getting there

How’s the traffic?

If you’re driving, leave early and allow even more time than usual to find parking: Traffic and parking are always a challenge, and although Coliseum construction is wrapping up, work on the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art continues — as do disruptions.

  • Drivers are urged to purchase their parking permit in advance online; a limited number of parking permits are available for the USC Downey Way, Shrine and Grand Avenue parking structures. At the USC Downey Way, Royal Avenue and Flower Street parking structures, parking will not be available for sale on game days. More parking information is available online.
  • Follow USC Transportation on Twitter for live updates during football season.
  • Better yet, take the Metro Expo Line directly to one of the three stations serving USC: Expo/Vermont, Expo Park/USC or Jefferson/USC.

On-campus fun: tailgating rules

Who needs an on-campus tailgate permit?

Anyone can register for a permit and reserve their space. With a reservation, you can arrive any time after 6 a.m. and find your space marked and held for your group. Most on-campus space is taken by fans with tailgate permits. (Reservations are for the campus grounds only and do not include parking or a space for a vehicle.)

Tailgate permits are mandatory for:

  • Large tailgate parties — those with 50 or more people attending.
  • Anyone using USC electricity.
  • Tailgates with a single tent larger than 10-by-20 feet or more than three 10-by-10-foot tents.
  • Additional tailgating rules are online.

When can we be on campus?

To help minimize wear-and-tear on the university (not to mention the fans), on-campus tailgating will begin at 6 a.m. and close at kickoff — 7:30 p.m. this week and next week versus Stanford.

What family-oriented events are on campus?

The free Trojan Family Game Day Experience will again be offered at every Saturday home game. The family-focused space includes games for kids, big-screen TVs tuned to college games, plenty of tables and chairs, and a wide variety of food and beverages including soft drinks, beer and wine available for purchase. The event, open to the public, is in Alumni Park, across from Tommy Trojan in front of Doheny Memorial Library.

What else do I need to know?

  • Glass containers are prohibited.
  • Tailgating and game day parking at USC Village is prohibited. Restaurants and shops are open for dining on all game days; parking is reserved for shoppers and dining patrons only.
  • On-campus tailgating is not permitted during weekday games. This season, USC takes on Utah in a Friday night matchup at 6 p.m. Sept. 20 (the Rams also play a Monday game at 5:15 p.m. Nov. 25 against the Baltimore Ravens).
  • USC is a smoke-free environment. The policy applies to lighted cigarettes, cigars, pipes, electronic cigarettes, hookah or other lit products, and includes the use of any substance including tobacco, cloves or marijuana.
  • Tailgate policies apply to on-campus gatherings. Similar procedures will apply within the Coliseum fences but not at Exposition Park, which is not overseen by the university.
  • USC Department of Public Safety officers may cut you some slack this week, but they’ll be actively enforcing all rules starting with the Stanford game.

Game day at USC: The Coliseum

Are there any changes at the gates?

As part of the $315 million renovation project, 92 new automated turnstiles have been installed at Coliseum entrances. This should mean faster entry and shorter lines — but since this is the first USC game since the work was completed, ticketholders are advised to arrive early and prepare for delays.

What about fans with accessibility challenges? 

USC has also made significant improvements to the Coliseum to enhance the game day experience for guests with a disability. Entering from the parking lots, eight curb ramps near the six public entrance gates were modified or replaced to provide easier access to the stadium. All six gates will have an accessibility priority lane to assist guests who need extra time entering. Inside, new paving makes it easier to get around, and the number of ADA-accessible seats has been greatly increased. Accessibility enhancements have also been made to concession stands and restrooms.

What else do I need to know?

  • The Coliseum has a “clear bag” policy.
  • Fans will again pass through airport-style security stations.
  • Glass items are prohibited.