If you’re headed to a Kings, Lakers, Clippers or Sparks game or concert at Crypto.com Arena (formerly Staples Center) in downtown Los Angeles, you may notice a few changes.
The venue, which officially changed its name last Christmas after announcing Crypto.com as its new naming partner in a 20-year deal reportedly worth more than $700 million, has committed to upgrading its nearly 24-year old facility in various phases while remaining open for public events.
The first phase is now complete, Lee Zeidman, president of Crypto.com Arena, Microsoft Theater and L.A. Live, said Monday as he gave members of the press a tour of the newly upgraded spaces. The construction lasted 131 days all while 45 sports and live entertainment events took place at the venue, he noted.
Outside, fans will notice that the old red signage has crisp blue paint and they’re still putting the finishing touches on replacing the old logo with the new one atop the building as well.
Inside, the amenities include improvements to the main concourse, where guests will find new food offerings like L.A.’s own Dirt Dog concession stands, located in the 102 and 112 sections. The eatery, which got its start just blocks away on Figueroa Street, offers the House Dog with onions, peppers, mayo and bacon bits and the Elote Dog with corn, mayo, cotija cheese, chili powder, cilantro and bacon ($13.50), as well the more simple Bacon Wrapped Dog and ($12.50) and Plain Dog ($10.50). Korean fried chicken sandwiches, Korean fried orange chicken and Korean spiced tofu have also been added to the menus in the suites and at concessions in the building.
The all-new Impact Sports Bar & Grill is now open in the main concourse for Kings and Lakers season ticket holders and has a cozy, exclusive feel with large wooden doors, numerous television screens for premium game viewing and a massive bar with its own menu and a nice selection of craft beer from breweries like Stone Brewing Co., Elysian Brewing and Golden Road.
“We curated the menu specifically for our season ticket members and we asked them what they’d like to see in this space and it’s basically higher end bar food,” Danielle Snyder, senior vice president of arena services at Crypto.com Arena said during a tour. Some of those items include Pork Belly Confit Tacos with red cabbage slaw, aji sauce, garlic puree and pickled red onions ($14.99) and Coca Cola Braised Beef Sliders with crispy onions and pickle chips served on a brioche bun ($12.49).
Snyder said one of the main things Crypto.com wanted to do with the venue as its new naming partner, was introduce more technology into the building. The venue is the first NBA arena to use the new grab-and-go concessions experience with Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology.
“One of the things that no guest ever likes doing is waiting in line,” Snyder said as she demonstrated how to use the new concessions. Guests can walk up to either the Bud Light Seltzer Market or the Michelob Ultra Market, located on the main concourse between sections 105 and 108, insert a credit card at the gate and simply grab any snacks and beverages they want and they’ll be automatically charged on the way out. There are hundreds of cameras throughout the small stores that carefully track the purchases of soda, water, candy, chips and alcoholic beverages. There will be staff located outside of the stores to help with any issues and they’ll also be checking that guests purchasing alcohol are 21 or older with valid ID.
Inside the arena, they’ve installed two new 21-foot by 65-foot wide LED wall video displays and three levels of ribbon boards that are more than 3,000 linear feet of display screen that can be programmed for each team or concert event. VIP spaces have been upgraded as well, including the exclusive Chairman’s Club, which is available to ice or court side ticket holders during games and VIP guests during concert events. It’s a gorgeous room with top-notch amenities that will also serve premium food and beverage options.
The next phases of development, Zeidman said, don’t have a start date as officials are waiting to see how the various teams end their seasons this year, but the projected completion of phase two is Sept. 30, ahead of the preseason games next year. In that phase, he said the main concourse will be gutted and updated and some special suites will be added. They’ll be putting in a new sound system and move forward with what they’re calling “vacate Chick Hearn Court.”
The street, which is often shut down to traffic due to events, will be completely closed off and filled in between Figueroa and Georgia and the venue will flow seamlessly over to L.A. Live. Zeidman said he sees it as being an opportunity to bring even more large-scale events to the outdoor area and hopes that work on that will be done just after the BET Awards in June and before the Emmy Awards, which are typically held in September at the venue.
Since the Clippers are leaving the venue for their own new Intuit Dome indoor arena in Inglewood, just south of SoFi Stadium, in 2024, Zeidman said they plan on turning the locker rooms into yet another club space with premium views of the ice or court, during phase three of the construction.