Shocking the city of Los Angeles and the sports and entertainment landscape, the era of the Staples Center is coming to an end.
Since opening its doors on October 17, 1999, the Staples Center has been home to the Los Angeles Lakers, Clippers, Kings, and Sparks, while accommodating the most influential concerts, awards ceremonies, and even Michael Jackson’s memorial service, watched by more than two billion people.
Beginning on Christmas Day, 2021, the iconic venue will be renamed Crypto.com Arena, which bought the naming rights to “The House That Kobe Built” for a whopping $700 million over the next 20 years.
Although the signage for the Crypto.com Arena isn’t expected to materialize until June 2022, the monumental transition already commenced as the Staples Center signage was removed on December 6, just weeks after the stunning announcement.
With the dramatic rise of cryptocurrencies and NFTs, Crypto.com has become an industry leader and harbors the resources to pursue the moniker transformation, especially with the anticipated revenue from the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles on the horizon.
With giant corporate entities paying massive sums of money to garner eyes for their respective companies, only a few stadiums have stayed true to their roots, including Yankee Stadium, Madison Square Garden, and Lambeau Field.
A Brief Account of Naming Rights
As stadiums’ naming rights deals are embedded in the sports landscape supplying teams with their third-largest stream of revenue, owners have long relied on partnerships that provide the most generous bids to streamline their income to create a positive direction for their franchise. The corporate sponsor for venues is not just the placeholder of the stadium but plays a considerable role in driving brand loyalty.
The first corporate sponsor for a stadium dates back to 1912 when the Fenway Realty Company became the sponsor for Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. After Fenway Park opened on April 20, 1912, the Red Sox went on to win the pennant and their 2nd World Series championship, cultivating both the Fenway neighborhood and the Fenway Realty Company as a byproduct.
Then in 1953, Anheuser-Busch purchased the formerly named Sportsman’s Park, home to the St. Louis Cardinals, for $800,000. After opening on May 12, 1966, Anheuser-Busch immediately began marketing their products around the stadium and city, ultimately becoming the number one overall brewing company in the US. The St. Louis Cardinals played 40 seasons at the original Busch Stadium, capturing six World Series titles.
Staples Center Timeline
In 1999, Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), one of the most renowned leaders in live entertainment and sports, signed an agreement with Staples worth $116 million over 20 years for the venue’s naming rights.
Then in 2009, AEG and Staples declared a lifetime naming rights agreement for the Staples Center, basically ensuring that the arena would remain the Staples Center as long as the venue stands.
Although the lifetime naming rights agreement was in place, AEG received offers for the stadium moniker for years, including Netflix, which ultimately lost the bid to Crypto.com. At the same time, AEG purchased the naming rights to the arena back from Staples in 2019, though they postponed the renaming due to the coronavirus pandemic.
As the Staples Center has been one of the most iconic arenas for more than two decades, the removal of the Staples Center became one of the most shocking revelations in recent memory.
How Naming Rights Affects Morale
As stadiums become synonymous with a city, like the Staples Center, it creates a sense of community, enabling brands to flourish and produce memorable experiences for players and fans. However, franchise and business owners view corporate sponsorships in a different light, understanding how much revenue is at stake.
The Future of Stadium Sponsorships
While there is money to be made in stadium naming rights, teams and owners must remain selective about who represents their stadium.
Should Yankee Stadium, home to the 27-time World Series champion Yankees, Madison Square Garden, “The World’s Most Famous Arena,” or Lambeau Field, honoring the Green Bay Packers founder Earl Louis “Curly” Lambeau, wish to delve into the volatile world of corporate sponsorship for their iconic stadiums, they ought to do their due diligence.