Crypto.com Buys Naming Rights to Lakers, Clippers Arena: Q&A with Chief Marketing Officer

Crypto.com Buys Naming Rights to Lakers, Clippers Arena: Q&A with Chief Marketing Officer article feature image
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Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images.

Late on Tuesday night, word started circulating that Crypto.com was buying Staples out of its lifetime naming rights deal in Los Angeles.

When a name has been on a venue for more than two decades, there’s normally a discount attributed to the fact that fans will revert to calling it by its former name.

But not here. Crypto.com is reportedly paying $700 million for the next 20 years, which is a record.

So now that the deal is inked, the pressure is on. How is Crypto.com going to make back a rights fee worth $35 million annually?

For that we talked with Steve Kalifowitz, Crypto.com’s chief marketing officer.

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The Action Network: So Steve, the pressure is on. When you looked at what you were willing to pay to rename the Staples Center, how did you calculate it and why, in particular, this venue?

Steve Kalifowitz: It’s hard to think about things from a dollar for dollar perspective, but we’ve had the stated goal of bridging the world into cryptocurrency by taking it mainstream and helping people see we are a trustworthy company and here to stay. We want to connect with communities and connect with people and their passion points.

The Crypto.com Arena will now host the Grammys and the Emmys, the Lakers, the Kings and for a bit longer the Clippers, and we will be part of the Olympic Village when the Olympics come to LA.

TAN: All right. How do you make this work? You have a Crypto.com card, which is an ATM card that enables someone to turn crypto into cash. Will they be around the arena?

SK: We’ve already been working with (venue owner) AEG on that and we’ve been working on products with all of our new partners in sports.

TAN: You guys recently got into the NFT game. Do you see getting involved in digital ticketing?

SK: Absolutely. That space is super exciting. Tickets were made to be put on the blockchain.

TAN: I heard all last night people say this is stupid money because they are just going to call the venue Staples Center anyway. How do you react to that?

SK: It’s a great opportunity to get in front of fans and a community and show that we care about that. I want to earn their trust and they will see pretty soon the steps that we are going to take.

We talked with F1 about the concept of overtaking, because it aligns with what we are doing, and we created a new stat with them — who is the best overtaker in a race? Who passes the most cars? And it’s actually even more fascinating due to the fact that if you start in the back, the way the cars work, you actually are at a disadvantage because the air pushes back and there’s a drag.

We look forward to the chance for people to get to know us. We are not just an app or a Visa card. We are an active investor in the ecosystem that has invested in more than 20 crypto based businesses.

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