Where were you when Staples Center transformed into the Crypto.com Arena? December marked the end of an era for sports fans used to watching broadcasts from the famed Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. Home to the Lakers and Clippers from 1999 to 2021, the iconic Staples Center has been given a name upgrade that may be hard for fans to roll off their tongues for the foreseeable future. The official transition date for the arena was Christmas Day.
Why Did Staples Center Change Its Name?
The 20,000-seat Staples Center has been a staple in the Los Angeles sports scene for nearly 22 years. However, the change is being welcomed by many who feel that the arena is trading in an outdated name for a very current, forward-looking one. However, that doesn’t erase some of the surprise that’s being felt by fans.
The change was sudden. AEG only announced publicly in November of 2021 that its iconic arena would be undergoing a name change on Christmas Day. This only gave fans a few weeks to come to grips with the fact that the home of the Lakers and Clippers is now under the moniker of a cryptocurrency platform.
What Exactly Is Crypto.com?
Understanding why Staples Center underwent a name change really comes down to understanding the players involved. Founded in 2016, Crypto.com is a fast-growing cryptocurrency platform and exchange that has its headquarters in Singapore. The company currently supports 10 million users around the world using a support staff consisting of 3,000 employees. Crypto.com’s core business model revolves around operating an exchange that allows platform users to trade, store and access cryptocurrencies. What makes the platform unique is that users are able to store cryptocurrencies in online accounts that allow them to access their funds using Visa rewards debit cards or cryptocurrency payment software. The company also has a separate NFT wing. Crypto.com reportedly reached profitability during 2001. Its annual year-over-year revenue growth for 2020 to 2021 reportedly hit 2000%.
Crypto.com is no stranger to the sports world. The platform already has sponsorship deals with the UFC, Formula One, Italy’s Serie A and the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens. The Philadelphia 76ers also sport uniform patches sponsored by Crypto.com. However, the new deal with AEG seems to be Crypto.com’s most ambitious move yet.
The deal is a big one. Reports estimate that Crypto.com is shelling out $700 million to gain naming rights to the building. It appears that Crypto.com is in it for the long haul when it comes to making its mark on the arena. The $700 million deal reportedly gives naming rights to Crypto.com for the next 20 years. The price tag on the deal makes it one of the most lucrative naming-rights deals in all of sports history. Fans may remember the original terms of the deal between AEG and Staples that made headlines back when it was finalized in December of 1997. Staples paid $100 million for the naming rights to the arena for 10 years when the deal was closed two decades ago. While the price was considered high for the time, the ink was signed during a time when the sports complex was only just being developed. The actual value of having naming rights was not yet established. The new record-breaking $700 million deal involving Crypto.com is proof that the arena’s visibility offers powerful access to millions of viewers around the world.
A Deal That Goes Beyond the World of Sports
While the name transformation of the former Staples Center is big news in the sports world, the impact doesn’t end there. The building is an integral part of both life in Los Angeles and the broadcasting world. Staples Center has hosted 19 Grammy Awards ceremonies over the years. It is also a host of countless high-profile concerts and events throughout the year. This means that the Crypto.com moniker will be seen in millions of homes across the globe whenever an important event from the worlds of sports, music, and entertainment takes place.
What Can Visitors Expect When They Visit the Newly Named Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles?
Many of the details of the new partnership between Crypto.com and AEG are still being worked out at the start of 2022 even though the deal formally closed at the end of 2021. Details are a little fuzzy right now when it comes to how the partnership will work out beyond just the highly visible name change. There is one big piece of information that has been revealed already.
It’s been leaked that a big part of the partnership between AEG and Crypto.com hinges on the fact that cryptocurrency payments will be integrated into both in-arena and online purchases related to the arena. This move could play a big role in “normalizing” the use of cryptocurrency in sports and entertainment purchases. What’s more, it opens up the world of cryptocurrency to sports fans in a very personal, intimate way that has never been done before.
The new partnership between AEG and Cryto.com won’t just impact how visitors and sports fans make purchases at the arena. It will change the entire experience of entering the arena as a visitor. The first visible change is a new Crypto.com “activation space” that will greet visitors as soon as they arrive at the arena. What’s known so far is that a space spanning 3,300 square feet that’s adjacent to the highly recognizable statue of Magic Johnson has been designated as a special interactive zone for sports and music fans. Visitors will be able to participate in what Crypto.com and AEG are calling “crypto-centric” activities prior to entering the arena to watch games or performances.
There’s also one more big update shaking things up. It has been announced that Crypto.com has also signed agreements with both the Lakers and Kings to serve as the official crypto partner for the teams. This is yet another move that is boldly integrating crypto payments into the experience of how fans interact with their favorite sports teams.
More Backstory on the Evolution of Staples Center
Many sports fans assumed that Staples Center would be a permanent fixture in Los Angeles for the foreseeable future. In fact, Staples Center played an integral role in helping to revive downtown Los Angeles during the early 2000s. Considered a heyday for downtown, the period between 1999 and 2019 saw the downtown district grow into a commercial and residential hub. Staples Center was also the place were the Lakers won three consecutive championships under the leadership of Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant.
It did appear that Staples would always be the occupant of the arena for a while. Following the big deal that was signed back in 1997, Staples went on to sign a deal that gave the company naming rights “in perpetuity” back in 2009. That deal sealed the fate of downtown Los Angeles as being Staples territory. However, AEG bought back the naming rights to the venue for an undisclosed sum back in 2019 as part of a move that shocked many insiders. It was clear that AEG was ready to welcome a new name. However, it appeared that the pandemic put the brakes on any searches for a naming suitor back in 2020. That all changed with the announcement in November of 2021 that Crypto.com was moving in!
The Beginning of a Crypto Trend in the Sports World
Crypto.com’s acquisition of naming rights for the former Staples Center isn’t an isolated endeavor. Sports fans may already know that the former American Airlines Arena in Miami was recently renamed after a cryptocurrency firm called FTX. The new FTX Arena is now the home of the Miami Heat.
Be Among the First Sports Fans to Visit the New Crypto.com Arena
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