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Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

The Staples Center in Los Angeles will be renamed Crypto.com Arena, the arena's owner announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: Cryptocurrencies are pushing deeper into the American mainstream.

  • It's a 20-year naming rights agreement between Crypto.com, a Singapore-based crypto exchange and mobile wallet provider, and building owner Anschutz Entertainment Group. No financial terms were disclosed, but Axios hears the total value exceeds $700 million.
  • For context, SoFi paid over $600 million for 20-year naming rights to the new NFL stadium in Los Angeles, where the Chargers and Rams play, while Intuit paid over $500 million for 23-year naming rights to a new arena that will house the Los Angeles Clippers.
  • The official transfer will occur on Christmas Day, inclusive of the Staples logo being replaced on the building's iconic roof, just before the Lakers host the Brooklyn Nets.

Behind the scenes: Staples originally paid around $120 million for a 20-year naming rights deal in 1999, when it was riding high as one of America's preeminent retailers. Ten years later, it renegotiated for permanent naming rights for an undisclosed amount.

  • What no one knew, however, was that AEG was eager to bring in a fresher name. In early 2019 it quietly bought back the naming rights from Staples, which by that point was owned by private equity firm Sycamore Partners.
  • Crypto.com this past summer heard that AEG was seeking out a new sponsor, and the two sides began hammering out a deal that involves several experiential and philanthropic components.

Rationale: AEG gets to rebrand its building with something that feels more like the future than the past. For Crypto.com, it's about elevating its brand in the capital of America's entertainment and creator economy.

  • Rival crypto exchange FTX earlier this year paid $135 million for 19-year naming rights to the NBA arena in Miami.
  • If Coinbase.com and Robinhood weren't looking for arena deals yesterday, they probably are today.
  • Yes, there are some echoes of the dot-com boom, when Internet upstarts entered the naming rights game. One of them, CMGI, faltered before its football field even hosted a single game (instead, the New England Patriots play at Gillette Stadium).

The bottom line: Crypto is in. Retail is out.

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Nov 20, 2021 - Economy & Business

A billionaire's crypto win

People take pictures of a copy of the U.S. Constitution during an auction at Sotheby's last night. Photo: Yuki Iwamura/AFP via Getty Images

The story of a group of cryptocurrency traders failing to buy a copy of the Constitution shows just how much of a gulf there still is between the real world and the crypto world.

Driving the news: Hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin outbid a group of 17,437 donors in an auction at Sotheby's last night, promising to pay $47.4 million for the document.

Updated 14 hours ago - Technology

From Malcolm X to "Free Britney," new media shapes the justice system

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

True crime documentaries, podcasts and social media campaigns are bringing new attention to real-world legal proceedings — and are often affecting the outcome.

Why it matters: New media platforms can instantly put a national spotlight on cases that have long been forgotten or buried under red tape.

Updated 17 hours ago - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.