NBA basketball franchise the Los Angeles Lakers has committed its future to STAPLES Center by agreeing a long-term lease extension with the arena’s owner and operator, AEG.

The deal means the defending NBA champions will remain in their downtown Los Angeles home through the 2041 season. The Lakers moved in as STAPLES Center opened in October 1999, with AEG and the team confirming plans to make a “wide array of significant capital improvements and upgrades” as part of the new deal.

Jeanie Buss, governor of the Los Angeles Lakers, said: “STAPLES Center ranks as one of the best arenas in the world to play and watch basketball and we are thrilled to be able to call it home for another two decades.

“The decision was made first and foremost with our fans and players in mind and AEG’s commitment to investing significant capital in the arena means that the Lakers will continue to play in one of the world’s premier venues. 

“From the very beginning, AEG proved to be more than just the best arena operators in our industry, and on a daily basis they continue demonstrating why they are the best partner an organisation could ask for.”

The Lakers currently share STAPLES Center with fellow NBA team the Los Angeles Clippers, NHL ice hockey franchise the Los Angeles Kings and the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks. However, the Clippers are due to move to the new Inglewood Basketball and Entertainment Center (IBEC) in 2024.

While no details have been announced about the planned improvements, the Los Angeles Times said the project will be overseen by STAPLES Center’s original designers, NBBJ, and could begin within several years. The focus will reportedly be on creating spaces where people can gather away from their seats.

The Lakers said the renovations were key to the contract extension, along with a desire to retain a downtown home. “Location, location, location,” said Tim Harris, president of business operations for the Lakers. “We’re in the heart of L.A. and the infrastructure is building up all around us.”

Commenting on the new deal, AEG president and CEO, Dan Beckerman, said in a statement: “When we began developing STAPLES Center, AEG had a singular goal – to create a showplace venue that would become the heart of sports in Los Angeles, home to the best franchises, events and fans.

“There is no doubt that our partnership with the Buss Family and the Lakers solidified the arena’s legendary status from the beginning and brought some of the most memorable moments in sports and entertainment history to fans.

“We look forward to another 20 years of our successful partnership with the Lakers and believe that the investments we are making will ensure that STAPLES Center remains the epicentre for sports and entertainment, delivering the most exciting events in the world.”

Lee Zeidman, president of STAPLES Center, shared his views on how the fan experience should be reinvented in the COVID-19 era during TheStadiumBusiness Summit 2020.

Image: STAPLES Center