Cryptocurrency will soon be inescapable in Los Angeles, at least for a while. AEG has signed a 20-year rights agreement that will rename LA's Staples Center to the Crypto.com Arena. Yes, the Clippers, Lakers, Kings and Sparks will all play in a building named after a crypto platform — more forward-thinking than office supplies, but still a bit strange in 2021. The deal will make Crypto.com the official cryptocurrency partner for the Lakers and Kings, too.
You'll see the internal signage and some other branding when the Lakers play the Brooklyn Nets on Christmas Day, although the arena operators won't fully replace external signs until June 2022. You'll also see "designations" at other properties, such as LA Live and the Microsoft Theater, and there will be Crypto.com experiences at the entrance, main concourse and LA Live campus.
AEG chief Dan Beckerman characterized the deal as focusing on "the future," both for innovation as a whole and the community. That's somewhat ironic when cryptocurrency has been accused of hurting the environment, but Crypto.com has pledged to be carbon negative by late 2022 (if only through offsets).
The 20-year deal makes clear this isn't just a temporary marketing stunt. Even so, this is something of a gamble for both AEG and Crypto.com. They're betting that cryptocurrency is here to stay, and that Crypto.com will play an important role in the long term. Both are distinct possibilities when mainstream companies like AMC and Twitter are exploring uses of digital money, but a lot can change in the space of two decades.