The downtown Los Angeles home of the NBA's Lakers and Clippers, the NHL's Kings and the WNBA's Sparks will change its name after 22 years of operation, arena owner AEG announced Tuesday night.
A person with knowledge of the deal tells The Associated Press that Crypto.com is paying $700 million over 20 years to rename the building. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the parties aren't publicly announcing the terms of what's believed to be the richest naming rights deal in sports history.
The 20,000-seat arena has been the Staples Center since it opened in October 1999, with the naming rights owned by the American office-supplies retail company under a 20-year agreement. The name will change when the Lakers host the Brooklyn Nets in the NBA's annual Christmas showcase.
Crypto.com is a cryptocurrency platform and exchange headquartered in Singapore. 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.
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In September, the 76ers announced all four versions of the 76ers uniform will feature a Crypto.com patch this season.
The patch made its official team uniform debut for the regular season when the 76ers faced the New Orleans Pelicans on Oct. 20.
Crypto.com also appears on courtside LED screens at the Wells Fargo Center.
"We are thrilled to launch a long-term partnership with such a progressive team at Crypto.com, a company that shares our drive for greatness," Chris Heck, 76ers President of Business Operations, said in a press release at the time. "These are the types of creative, innovative partnerships that we crave, and we're thrilled to share this with our fans in Philadelphia and around the world for years to come."
Earlier this month, the 76ers launched the team's first-ever Legacy NFT Collection in partnership with Crypto.com. Each custom-designed collectible coincides with a significant moment in Spectrum-era franchise history.
"The 76ers are a storied team with such a rich history at the memorialized Spectrum arena," Crypto.com Executive Vice President and Global Head of NFT Joe Conyers III said in statement. "One of the things that makes these NFTs so exciting is that we get to welcome Sixers fans into our community and immortalize pieces of the team's history in an unprecedented way, introducing their fans to a new technology and medium - and allowing them to collect and trade parts of that story. What better a way to commemorate such a cherished time and place in the team's saga?"
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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 U.S.' 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.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.