Fans Express Mixed Feelings Over Staples Center Renaming

By Alice Sun
Alice Sun
Alice Sun
November 18, 2021 Updated: November 21, 2021

Sports fans and Angelenos have mixed feelings upon learning about the Staples Center’s becoming the “Crypto.com Arena”—the first name change since the venue’s opening in 1999—which was announced Tuesday, Nov. 16.

On Christmas Day, the Staples Center will officially be renamed Crypto.com Arena, out of a 20-year naming agreement between AEG Worldwide, the owner of the center, and Crypto.com, one of the fastest-growing cryptocurrency platforms.

Hugo Garcia, a Lakers fan and a law school student in Downtown LA, said he is disappointed that the two parties reached the agreement without consulting public opinions.

“It’s ridiculous! Staples Center is such a cultural epicenter of LA … It just sounds kind of abrupt,” Garcia said. “It’s like the Lakers’ game maker. Imagine we change our name.”

Brent Kidwell, a big Lakers fan, considers the renaming as simply a “typical business” arrangement, adding that people will likely stick with “Staples Center” for a long time regardless.

“It’s got a very strange new name. It doesn’t flow off the tongue, so I’ll probably always refer to it as Staples Center,” Kidwell said.

Anthonia Kitchen, a tourist from Michigan, said she prefers the original name over the new one.

“I’ve always known it as the Staples Center, and I love the name of the Staples Center. I’m sure that [Crypto.com] business is wonderful, but it just doesn’t ring to me like the Staples Center,” Kitchen said.

Epoch Times Photo
A digital billboard outside of Staples Center was displaying an announcement of the center’s renaming as Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on Nov. 17, 2021. (Alice Sun/The Epoch Times)

Nevertheless, the change also drew some positive responses.

Julia Miranda, a lifelong Lakers fan and a native of downtown Los Angeles, said the name change, though heartbreaking, can bring new energy to the center and more attention to cryptocurrency.

“We’re heading to a cashless society. We’re the first ones.” Miranda said. “Clippers are finally leaving my stadium. Let’s do a name change.”

Like Miranda, Jeremiah Johnson, a user of Crypto.com, also said the change can introduce cryptocurrency to a wider public.

“The name change is cool … It is a good exposure to the whole crypto community, [Electronic funds transfer], and the new type of currency,” Johnson said.

While the statement did not say how much the Singapore-based Crypto.com had paid for the deal, Bloomberg reported that it is worth more than $700 million over the span of 20 years. In addition, LA Kings and Lakers will also become official partners with Crypto.com.

The Staples Center was originally named in 1997 after Staples Inc., an American office supplies retail company, resulting from a ten-year naming contract of $100 million. Later in 2009, the company purchased the naming right in perpetuity. However, AEG Worldwide bought back the naming right in 2019.

The partnership between AEG Worldwide and Crypto.com has helped the cryptocurrency platform gain more public exposure and influence. The new signage will be unveiled on Christmas Day, Dec. 25, when the Lakers host the Brooklyn Nets, according to the statement released by the Staples Center.

The Staples Center—the official home of the National Basketball Association’s Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers, the National Hockey League’s Los Angeles Kings, and the Women’s National Basketball Association’s Los Angeles Sparks—hosts over 240 events and serves over 4 million guests each year. It has been a venue for the annual Grammy Awards since 2000 as well.

Multiple Staples Center employees declined The Epoch Times’ requests for comment.

Alice Sun