Staples Center becomes the Arena under a naming agreement

Staples Center gets a new name for Christmas: Arena.

The downtown Los Angeles venue – home of the Lakers, Clippers, Kings and Sparks – will bear the new name for 20 years under an agreement between the Singapore cryptocurrency exchange and AEG, the owner and operator of the arena, both parties said Tuesday with. paid more than $ 700 million for the naming rights, according to sources familiar with the terms, making it one of the largest naming agreements in sports history.

The arena’s new logo will be unveiled on December 25th, when the Lakers host the Brooklyn Nets, and all signage at the Staples Center will be replaced with the new name by June 2022. CEO Kris Marszalek hopes the new name will be seen as a sign of the times.

“For the next several years, people will look back on this moment as the moment when crypto crossed the divide into the mainstream,” Marszalek said when reached at his Hong Kong home.

“This is just a brilliant move by the guys at AEG because the next decade is crypto,” he said. “And that positions LA and this special venue right in the middle.”

AEG owns a number of sports teams, including the Kings and Galaxy; and venues including LA Live, Oakland Coliseum, and London’s O2 Arena; and is one of the largest event organizers in the country, producing, among other things, Coachella.

Chief Executive Dan Beckerman said a blockchain finance firm was the perfect fit for downtown LA

“When we think of the kind of brands we love to work with, it’s a heavenly match,” said Beckerman. “ is looking for the most unique branding platform to make a statement and drive adoption, and we are looking for an innovative, forward-thinking company to help us set the course for the full future of events, sports and entertainment determine. ”

AEG and are still working on exactly how far the partnership will go beyond the name, but the integration of cryptocurrency payments into the arena and online purchases may be in sight.

Visitors will see a distinct change at the entrance to the LA Live arena, next to the Magic Johnson statue, where 3,300 square feet becomes a special “activation space” with cryptocentric interactive experiences for sports or music fans. has also signed with the Lakers and Kings as the official crypto partner.

The famous venue got its original name in December 1997 when the then booming Staples Inc. paid $ 100 million for the rights for 10 years. Beckerman, who was AEG’s CFO in developing the arena complex, said the name’s value was less certain at the time.

“When we sold the arena, nobody knew what it was, nobody knew what it could be. The city center was very different from today’s city center, ”he said.

But after the Staples Center became the home of the Lakers squad, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal led three consecutive championships in the early 2000s after and after the downtown area around the center became a revitalized tourist and residential area The venue has become a regular venue for major events such as the Grammys, which cemented their place in the city’s cultural landscape.

Staples signed a perpetual naming agreement in 2009 – but AEG repurchased the naming rights in 2019 for an undisclosed amount. The pandemic put the search for a new name sponsor on hold, but the deal came about quickly after talks began late summer.

Staples’ fortunes have declined since the late 1990s, but the office supply company still has 1,000+ stores across the country and has been in the Fortune 500 for 21 is 5 years old and its business is based on a form of money, which has been officially banned in China – although the company says it complies with all relevant regulations in the countries in which it operates. Marszalek has never attended a game at the Staples Center; the Christmas game will be his first visit.

AEG’s Beckerman, however, was impressed with the company’s involvement in the arena. “The long term part of that matters most to us, and they shared that vision,” Beckerman said. He broadly described AEG as “bullish” on cryptocurrency.

With 10 million users and 3,000 employees, is a major player in the crypto world. Its core business is running an exchange that allows users to trade cryptocurrencies, store them in an online account, and access them with a Visa Rewards debit card, but it also has an NFT wing, a cryptocurrency Payment software, its own token and a number of other products in the works. Marszalek declined to release specific numbers, but said the company had reached profitability in early 2021 and had a 2,000% increase in sales last year.

The renaming of Staples Center is the latest stage in a marketing lightning bolt for the crypto company. A new ad the company unveiled in October showed Matt Damon singing the “four simple words whispered by the intrepid since Roman times … fortune favors the brave.” A handful of billboards were displayed with the slogan in cities around the world in November, and the company placed a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal with the slogan.

The company also has partnership agreements with the UFC, Formula 1 racing, the Philadelphia 76ers, the Montreal Canadiens, the Italian Lega Serie A football league, Paris Saint-Germain Football Club and Twitch Rivals, the eSports category of the live streaming service , signed last year.

According to Marszalek, the goal is not only to increase brand awareness and market share, but also to underline the increasing normalization of cryptocurrency in American society.

Marszalek said that “has an ambition to become a top 20 brand alongside names like Nike or Apple in the next 3 or 5 years,” using popular sports as a gateway to mass adoption.

In a Morning Consult poll in September, people who described themselves as avid sports fans were almost three times more likely to be familiar with cryptocurrencies than people who were not interested in sports – 66% of avid fans versus 23% Non-fans – and some sports leagues have been looking at blockchain products in recent years.

In October 2020, the NBA partnered with Canadian crypto firm Dapper Labs to develop NBA Top Shot, a collection of NFTs that enabled fans and speculators to buy and sell crypto tokens that feature NBA highlight clips linked (think of digital trading cards). By March, the top shot market had become one of the hottest corners of the NFT frenzy, generating $ 230 million in sales – mostly in the secondary market.

The top shot market has cooled since then, although the overall NFT market has continued to grow, but the total estimated value of top shot NFTs is still an estimated $ 740 million.

LA isn’t the first NBA arena to receive a crypto rebrand. In March, the cryptocurrency exchange FTX – a company that Forbes claims is run by the “richest man in crypto” and recently relocated its headquarters from Hong Kong to the Bahamas – signed a $ 135 million deal for the 19-year naming rights Miami Heat Arena, formerly named after American Airlines. paid more than five times for the rights to LA’s arena – but Marszalek isn’t worried the investment might fail. “I have no doubt that it was worth it,” he said. “My belief is 100%.”

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