One of the most iconic sports stadiums in the United States, the Staples Center, will be renamed the Crypto.com Arena after a cryptocurrency company signed a multi-million dollar deal to acquire the arena’s naming rights.
A firm based in Singapore will pay approximately £520million for the rights to name the 20,000-seater stadium.
The famous stadium is owned by Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) has had the same name since 1997. It has been the home of the LA Lakers – who won the NBA Championship with LeBron James in 2021 – and the LA Clippers since 1999.
It is also the home of the WNBA franchise Los Angeles Sparks and the Los Angeles Kings of the NHL.
AEG have agreed a 20-year deal with the cryptocurrency company, and the rebrand will be effective from Christmas Day – when the arena’s new logo will be unveiled before the Lakers’ clash with the Brooklyn Nets.
The famous stadium has also hosted a number of enormous boxing events as well as iconic music artists, including Taylor Swift. It has also been used as the venue of funerals for three iconic Los Angeles figures: Michael Jackson (2009), Nipsey Hussle (2019) and five-time NBA champion and Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna (2020).
The Staples Centre signage will not be replaced until June 2022.
The office supply company Staples Inc initially paid just over £74m for the naming rights for a 10-year period – and it signed an indefinite extension in 2009. However, AEG purchased the rights back from Staples Inc for an undisclosed sum.
The new name has led to outrage online, with BT Sport’s head of social James McManus tweeting: “The Crypto.com Arena is genuinely the worst name I’ve ever seen given to anything that needed naming ever.”
Molly Lambert was also confused by the name: “Wow they did it, they came up with a worse name than Staples Centre.”
It is not just fans and journalists that are criticising the move – NBA players are confused by the name change, too.
LA Clippers star Paul George admitted it will be odd for his current home court to have a new name.
“It’ll be weird,” George said after the Clippers’ home win over the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday. “I grew up with Staples being the place to play and the place to be. It will definitely be weird.
“It’s the same location but it‘s kind of like just stripping the history here, calling it something else. From here going forward, I guess it’s a new history to be written.
“Good thing we won’t be here too long. We’ll be at our own place so it is what it is I guess.”
The Clippers will play at their new £1.2billion arena – the Intuit Dome – as they try to separate themselves from their city rivals, the Lakers.
Crypto.com launched in 2016 and reportedly has 10 million users with 3,000 employees.
The company is dedicated to promoting the use of cryptocurrencies on a wider scale, running an online exchange that allows users to trade and store cryptocurrencies. Crypto.com has also recently launched its own token.
Kris Marszalek, the co-founder of Crypto.com, told the Los Angeles Times that ‘in the next few years, people will look back at this moment as the moment when crypto crossed the chasm into the mainstream’.
The move is another example of cryptocurrency companies becoming increasingly involved in sports sponsorship as the industry seeks to obtain mainstream recognition. Crypto.com already has approximately £300 million worth of sports sponsorship deals, including a lucrative shirt partnership with the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA.