Sitting in the heart of downtown Los Angeles adjacent to LA Live, Staples Center – now known as Crypto.com Arena – is a fixture of sports and entertainment. While it hosts year-round concerts, and is home to the Los Angeles Clippers, Kings and Sparks, easily their most famous tenants are the Los Angeles Lakers.
The iconic Staples Center in Los Angeles has been the home of the Lakers since the arena’s opening in 1999. They’ve hoisted six championship banners and have won eight Western Conference championships during 23 seasons playing in downtown L.A.
Staples Center has been called home by some of the NBA’s biggest stars during this time, like Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Pau Gasol, and LeBron James. As Dr. Jerry Buss envisioned when he bought the team in the late-1970s, the Lakers are the best show in town, and Staples Center has been the nightly venue for that show.
Staples Center History
When Staples Center was originally built, no one knew that this building would host some of the greatest moments in NBA history.
In 1995, real-estate developers Edward P. Roski, of Majestic Realty, and Philip Anschutz, of AEG, began searching for a new arena to house their recently-purchased Kings hockey team. Eventually, they landed on a plot of land adjacent to the Convention Center in downtown L.A.
After two years of fierce negotiations, they broke ground on a $375 million arena in March of 1997. Staples Center took more than two years to construct, but on October 17, 1999, the arena opened to the public with a Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band as the inaugural event.
In that time, office supply company Staples purchased the naming rights for the arena, agreeing to a deal worth over $100 million that would last 20 years. In total, Staples paid $116 million over the 23 years they held naming rights.
The Lakers found immediate success in their new home. Behind Bryant and O’Neal, the Lakers won three championships in their first three seasons at Staples Center, completing a three-peat from 2000-02.
Bryant would go on to lead the team to two more championships in 2009 and 2010. The 2010 championship – won in Game 7 against the Boston Celtics – was played on the Staples Center court and is perhaps one of the most important games in Lakers franchise history.
The Lakers also won the 2020 NBA Finals as tenants of the Staples Center, behind James and Anthony Davis as their superstar duo. Although they were Staples Center tenants during this run, they actually won the championship in the Walt Disney World bubble in Orlando, Florida due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Anschutz’s company AEG are the owners of the newly named Crypto.com Arena, with the Kings being the technical host team of the stadium. The Lakers, Clippers, and Sparks all play there under long-term lease agreement, with the Clippers slated to leave for their own arena by the 2024-25 season.
Staples Center Becomes Crypto.com Arena
On November 16, 2021, a shocking announcement was made that Staples Center would be undergoing a name change to Crypto.com Arena, named after the Singapore-based cryptocurrency company.
Crypto.com reportedly paid a whopping $700 million in the form of a 20-year deal to receive the naming rights, which currently stands as the largest naming rights deal in sports history. Crypto.com paid almost double the cost of the arena’s construction in its entirety.
The name change took place on Christmas Day 2021, when the Lakers hosted the Brooklyn Nets in a nationally televised home game. Sadly, due to a team-wide COVID outbreak, the Lakers were severely shorthanded, ultimately losing the inaugural event of Crypto.com Arena.
On December 23, 2021, during a Lakers game against the San Antonio Spurs, the team put together a game-long tribute to the arena’s former name. The arena gave Lakers fans a t-shirt and a printed version of the game ticket with the Staples Center name on it
Prior to tip-off, the team played a video tribute to Staples Center and all of the team’s historic achievements during their 23 seasons playing under that arena name. Then, throughout the game, they played videos of fan testimonies revealing their favorite moments of the past 23 seasons.
The start to the Lakers’ Crypto.com Arena tenure has not gone the way fans had hoped. And it has been significantly worse than the start to their Staples Center tenure, when they won three consecutive championships.
In the first 40 games of L.A.’s Crypto.com Arena tenure, the Lakers went 15-25 and have faced significant turmoil over the state of their organization. Hopefully, L.A. can come together to restore order and success to one of the NBA’s best franchises.