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Asia Minute: Staples Center will soon be named Arena for a Singapore company

Staples Center Los Angeles Arena
Mark J. Terrill/AP
The statue of former Los Angeles Lakers Magic Johnson is seen in front of Staples Center following an NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Clippers and the San Antonio Spurs Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, in Los Angeles. The Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles will be renamed Arena on Christmas. The home of the NBA's Lakers and Clippers, the NHL's Kings and the WNBA's Sparks will change its name after 22 years. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

In less than a month, one of the most famous sports arenas in the country will have a new name. The story behind the change involves hundreds of millions of dollars — and a start-up company based in Singapore.

Since it opened in 1999, the biggest sports arena in Los Angeles has been known as the Staples Center.

But not for much longer.

Starting on Christmas Day, it will be known as the Arena — using the name of a Singapore-based exchange platform for cryptocurrency.

In the currency of American dollars, the deal is costing the privately-held company about $700 million for 20 years. sees that as an investment — part of a broader strategy — and pattern.

The Straits Times reports that over the past nine months, the company has spent more than $1.4 billion on sports-related sponsorships — from e-sports and ice hockey to Formula One racing and mixed martial arts.

Stadium-naming rights have been a controversial corporate expenditure — sometimes ending badly for the companies involved.

New England’s Gillette Stadium has worked for the razor blade firm, but it was originally named CMGI Stadium, before that technology company went bankrupt.

And perhaps the most infamous case was the stadium in Houston linked with an energy company whose operations stretched to the Asia Pacific — before collapsing in a massive accounting scandal — selling one of its lingering assets known briefly as Enron Field.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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