This month’s NBA and NHL playoffs have been a gold mine for AEG, owner of Los Angeles’ Crypto.com Arena, which has hosted postseason runs from all three tenants — the NBA’s Clippers and Lakers and the NHL’s Kings.
“Historically, April is always a very productive month for us, probably our busiest month,” Nick Baker, COO of AEG Global Partnerships, told Front Office Sports. “But this year in particular has been historic in terms of the amount of business we’ve been able to conduct, as well as the events schedule being maximized.”
Over the course of six playoff games and five nights, Crypto.com Arena’s premium seating sales team — which encompasses multi-year leases for suites, seats, tables, and lounges — secured $5 million in contractually obligated income. Nightly sellouts for the venue at large have drawn 120,000 total attendees during this multi-sport playoff run. This month’s Southern California music festivals Coachella and Stagecoach are also operated by AEG.
The sports and entertainment giant has been able to leverage the influx of activity across industries to secure a new wave of sponsorship sales.
“Just last weekend in a 48-hour span we had signatures on three new contracts that exceed $160 million in contractually obligated income,” Baker said, though he would not yet disclose the companies behind those deals. “Two of those are current partners who are extending for the next five to six years, the other partner is a brand new partner.”
Between the L.A. teams’ playoff games and AEG’s musical festivals, the company facilitated sponsorships with more than 150 brands, including Coachella activations with Adidas, YouTube, Heineken, Discord, and Epic Games. A combined 330,000 fans bought tickets for Coachella and Stagecoach, which begins this weekend. MLS’ L.A. Galaxy, also owned by AEG, has reached 96% of its 2023 revenue goal, according to the company, despite underwhelming on-field performance this season.
Baker says that three years after COVID-19 shut down sports, the live events industry has surpassed pre-pandemic levels.
“The new normal is bigger than the old normal,” Baker said. “If you think about what we have done this month, there is no question that we are out of a pandemic, but in my mind we are further than we were prior to the pandemic.”
Since Crypto.com paid $700 million in a 20-year deal for naming rights to the arena formerly known as Staples Center, the market went through a painful “crypto winter” that included the collapse of fellow exchange FTX, which lost its stadium naming rights deal with the Miami Heat among other terminated sponsorships.
Amid skepticism from some corners about the sustainability of its business, Crypto.com is committed to its long-term plans for the arena.
A nine-figure renovation project was announced last August, and a representative for the platform told Front Office Sports that the company is “95% finished” adding permanent signage to the building.
The Lakers host the Memphis Grizzlies for Game 6 of their first-round playoff series at Crypto.com Arena on Friday. The Kings will do the same against the Edmonton Oilers the following night.