By Greg Beacham
Staples Center is getting a new name. Starting Christmas Day, it will be Crypto.com Arena.
The downtown Los Angeles home of the NBA's Lakers and Clippers, the NHL's Kings and the WNBA's Sparks will change its name after 22 years of operation, arena owner AEG announced Tuesday night.
A person with knowledge of the deal tells The Associated Press that Crypto.com is paying $700 million over 20 years to rename the building. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the parties aren't publicly announcing the terms of what’s believed to be the richest naming rights deal in sports history.
The 20,000-seat arena has been the Staples Center since it opened in October 1999, with the naming rights owned by the American office-supplies retail company under a 20-year agreement. The name will change when the Lakers host the Brooklyn Nets in the NBA's annual Christmas showcase.
Crypto.com is a cryptocurrency platform and exchange headquartered in Singapore. Founded in 2016, Crypto.com has been on a spending spree across the global sports landscape over the past year. The platform has inked high-visibility sponsorship deals with Formula One, the UFC, Italy's Serie A, Paris St-Germain and the NHL's Montreal Canadiens — while also purchasing the Philadelphia 76ers' uniform sponsorship patch.
AEG, the sports and entertainment conglomerate that has majority ownership of the Kings and had a stake in the Lakers until last summer, built the arena that quickly became a famous setting for major events in the U.S.' second-largest metropolitan area.
Along with its sports tenants, the arena has hosted 19 Grammy Awards ceremonies, three NBA All-Star Games, two NHL All-Star Games and countless high-profile concerts, performances and important public events, including memorials for Michael Jackson, Nipsey Hussle and Kobe Bryant.
The Lakers have won six NBA championships during their tenure in the cavernous arena, including three straight in its first three years of operation. Banners commemorating the Lakers' 17 NBA titles hang high on the walls above the playing floor, providing what might be the most distinctive interior feature of the building.
The Sparks have won three WNBA titles while at the Staples Center, and the Kings won their first two Stanley Cup championships in 2012 and 2014 there, clinching both on home ice.
The Clippers will be short-timers at Crypto.com Arena. They're scheduled to open owner Steve Ballmer's $1 billion, 18,000-seat Intuit Dome in Inglewood in 2024 when their Staples Center lease expires. The Sparks also could leave downtown then, although nothing has been decided.