Staples Center in Los Angeles is soon to be rechristened Crypto.com Arena, in a 20-year deal worth more than $700 million, according to a person familiar with the agreement. The new name becomes official on Christmas Day, when the venue plays host to the L.A. Lakers-Brooklyn Nets NBA contest.
The arena is owned by AEG, which also owns and operates the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, and for the long-term is home to the Lakers, who announced last May they had signed a lease to remain there through 2041. The deal makes Crypto.com an official cryptocurrency platform partner for the Lakers and Kings.
The other major current tenants, the L.A. Clippers, are constructing a new arena in nearby Inglewood and are expected to leave by 2024.
Staples Inc. purchased the naming rights when the building opened in 1999 for $116 million over 20 years, and in 2009 extended that agreement into a lifetime deal. But shortly before the pandemic in 2019, AEG reacquired the rights to resell the name on the building.
Crypto.com is a company dedicated to converting assets into cryptocurrency and is beginning to spread its influence into sports, signing a recent 10-year fight kit deal with Endeavor-owned Ultimate Fighting Championship reported to be worth $175 million. The crypto company will have a branding presence on all UFC fighting apparel worn by athletes and training staff during competitions. It also owns the rights to UFC’s cryptocurrency platform.
Crypto.com’s name on the arena puts it at the epicenter of the L.A. Live campus downtown.
“It’s the perfect match,” said Dan Beckerman, president and CEO of AEG, in a phone interview. “They were looking for a one-of-a-kind branding platform. We were looking for an innovative progressive company to help us chart the course of the arena. L.A. is always about what’s next.”
Crypto.com did not return a phone call seeking comment on the naming-rights deal Tuesday night. In a press release, Crypto.com co-founder and CEO Kris Marszalek said, “We’re very excited about partnering with AEG and investing long-term in this city, starting with Crypto.com Arena in the heart of downtown.”
FTX, another cryptocurrency company, recently bought the naming rights on American Airlines Arena in Miami, home to the NBA’s Heat for 19 years, at $136 million. FTX also bought the naming rights on the football stadium at Cal Berkeley for 10 years at $17.5 million.
Both changes were instituted in time for the current season.
Staples, an office supply retailer, has been in peril since 2016, but as of now is relatively stable. In 2017, well before the pandemic, Staples closed 4.5% of its 1,700 stores.
The Lakers have won six of their 17 NBA titles while playing in an arena that cost $375 million to build when it opened on Oct. 17, 1999, and the Kings have won both of their Stanley Cups playing there.
Scott Soshnick contributed to this report.