The stage, which is home to NBA teams the Lakers and Clippers, as well as the National Hockey League’s Kings and the National Women’s Basketball Association’s Sparks, has had the same name for 22 years.
But Crypto.com, a website that allows users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies, is reportedly paying $700 million over the next 20 years for the renaming privilege. It is thought to be the most expensive naming rights deal in history.
Staples, the stationery and office supply company, paid $100 million for its name on the 20,000-seat stadium under a 20-year agreement.
“In the next few years, people will look back at this moment as the moment when crypto crossed the chasm into the mainstream,” Crypto.com CEO Kris Marszalek told the LA Times.
“This is just such a brilliant move from the guys at [venue owner] AEG, because the next decade belongs to crypto.”
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 US’ 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.
NBA stars have been testing the waters of crypto and blockchain technology. Shaquille O’Neal recently released his own collection of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which run on the Ethernity chain and feature five choice moments of the player’s career.
The NBA itself also partnered with Dapper Labs, the blockchain game company behind CryptoKitties, in August 2019 to mint ‘Top Shot’ NFTs of video highlights from players histories.
Additional reporting by Associated Press
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