Arena to step up your game with renovations, upgrades Arena to step up your game with renovations, upgrades

There’s a new mantra at Arena that has nothing to do with basketball or hockey or rock concerts. The three words appear on small, white signs posted throughout the building.

Excuse our dust

The 23-year-old sports arena formerly known as Staples Center has launched a multimillion-dollar campaign to rejuvenate itself in the off-season, with construction underway at all levels. In such a large place, there is enough work to last the next three summers.

“It’s a million square feet,” said Dan Beckerman, CEO of AEG, which owns the arena. “And you can do a lot with a million square feet.”

Along with the usual changes — new jumbo screens, updated concession stands, a better sound system — the project will follow industry trends that emphasize the “fan experience” over just walking in and finding a seat.

At, that means eliminating the street between the arena and LA Live to create an avenue of music and big tent attractions. That means adding a glass-walled clubhouse so patrons can watch players exit the locker room.

An artist's rendering of the future appearance of Chick Hearn Court

An artist’s rendering of the future appearance of Chick Hearn Court.


An artist's rendering of the future Tunnel Club at the Arena

The “tunnel club” will have tables along a glass wall where guests can sit just a few meters from where the players walk by.


More significantly, crews will blast out the upper seats at one end, creating an indoor/outdoor space where fans can mingle on a terrace overlooking downtown, then stroll inside the bowl to look down on the field.

An artist's rendering of a new terrace being built at the Arena

An artist’s rendering of a new terrace where fans can enjoy scenic views of the city while mingling outside…


A view of the future terrace from inside the building

… then stroll inside the bowl to look down on the action below.


All of this becomes essential in Los Angeles, where the new SoFi Stadium, a renovated Coliseum and the Intuit Dome, the future home of the Clippers, will compete for discretionary sports dollars.

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No longer the new kid in town, Arena “has to keep up with the Joneses,” said Michael Veley, founder of the sport management program at Syracuse University. “In that market, you’re going up against some pretty heavy hitters.”

It was about a year ago that the center premises faced a turning point. When the Clippers announced plans to travel to Inglewood, AEG needed to keep its other marquee tenant, the Lakers. Ownership signed the team to a 20-year lease extension, promising to spend “nine figures” on capital improvements.

“In many ways, the Lakers put the arena on the map,” Beckerman said at the time. “Their success had such an impact on our success.”

“It’s a million square feet. And you can do a lot with a million square meters.”

— Dan Beckerman, CEO of AEG

The promised construction began in May, while the Sparks were still playing, and will continue until the Lakers, Clippers and Kings return in the fall.

The hefty price tag — ownership won’t reveal the actual cost — also coincides with continued volatility in the cryptocurrency market. But Beckerman said AEG has “all the faith and confidence in the world” regarding the arena’s title sponsor, which pays AEG $35 million a year for naming rights.

Additions during this first summer will include two 65-foot video boards at the south end of the building, bracketing the retired Laker jerseys, and more LED strips to give a total of three full rings. The bowl will have new lighting, concession menus will be updated and there will be two checkout-less markets where customers can grab a sandwich and a beer, their purchase recorded by sensors as they exit.

“Our job is to make it easy for the fans,” said arena president Lee Zeidman. “It’s about efficiency.”

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Given the ever-increasing cost of attending professional sports, it should come as no surprise that many of the planned upgrades focus on premium seats and season ticket holders. Workers are redesigning the Impact Sports Bar & Grill adjacent to the main plaza and the private Chairman’s Club downstairs. The hall on the suite level gets new paint, carpets, frosted glass doors and elegant toilets.

An artist's rendering of the redesigned Impact Sports Bar & Grill.

An artist’s rendering of the redesigned Impact Sports Bar & Grill.


An artist's rendering of the Chairman's Club at the Arena

An artist’s rendering of the redesigned Chairman’s Club.


Two things will make the renovation easier. First, AEG convinced two of the three original architects, Dan Meis and Ron Turner, to reunite on the project, even though they now work for competing firms. Second, the original design left room for improvement.

Right from the start, in 1999, the set-up had to be spacious enough to accommodate four teams and a full program of concerts. The crews needed to enter from one end and exit from the other as they made quick changes, switching from basketball courts to rock spikes, from hardwood to ice. There had to be a lot of storage.

Two decades later, the hall is still wide enough to meet new industry standards and the Clippers’ departure in 2024 will create even more room to expand and add features.

“So often, things you want to do, you can’t do because you’re limited by space,” Beckerman said. “We are blessed to have such a significant footprint.”

During the second phase of the renovation next summer, work will begin on a two-story “Tunnel Club” where stairs will lead down to floor level by the third year. This lower bar will have tables along the glass wall where patrons can sit just a few feet from where the players walk by.

An artist's rendering of the future

An artist’s rendering of the future “Tunnel Club”.


In another move to boost the arena’s buzz, several hundred premium seats in the corners of the bowl will be replaced by a new type of luxury suite that will have walls but no roof, leaving them wide open to the stands.

An artist's rendering of the future suite level of the Arena.

An artist’s rendering of the future suite level of the Arena.


Depending on city permits, construction on the outdoor plaza could also begin in 2023, giving the Figueroa corridor a new public gathering place.

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“It’s not just for ticket holders,” Beckerman said. “It’s a shared experience when people want to come here during a Kings playoff game and they’re in the middle of everything.”

Other venues around the country have taken a similar approach, eschewing a sea of ​​parking lots to surround themselves instead with pedestrian malls, shops and restaurants. This trend may foster a sense of community, but it comes at a price.

“Gone are the days when you can park the car and fire up the grill,” said Scott Minto, director of the sports MBA program at San Diego State. “Now you’re surrounded by restaurants and bars … it gets more expensive.”

Fans in the cheapest seats will receive their biggest benefit during the third summer of renovations with the expansion of the City View Terrace. Currently, the terrace offers views of the LA skyline, but is separated from the action.

When exterior walls come down and seats are removed, the new indoor-outdoor area will connect to the bowl, giving people a chance to eat, drink and mingle while watching the game below.

“Younger people who attend sporting events want to have some kind of interactivity with their peers and the people around them,” Minto said. “They’re not interested in just sitting in one place.”

The coming years will bring further changes, including new team changing rooms and highway tents, redesigned entrances and updated clubs.

So far, industry experts say, AEG has done a good job of keeping the arena up to date. Now comes the challenge of staying that way for another two decades.

“The durability can be quite significant,” Minto said. “If you can keep changing with the times, keep investing in it, it can last a very long time.”

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