The Staples Center - our experience here evokes some of our best.. and worst stories, as we shall explain.
This facility was built at a cost of over $400 million, and no expense was spared into making this arena a
place with zest and pizzazz, a typical showcase for the world's entertainment capital. The arena is built in the
downtown core, and with it comes hope for a rebirth of the area by designating a 30 acre "entertainment
zone", anchored by the Staples Center and the adjacent convention center.

We arrived via the light rail line, which deposited us about a block away, and we found surface lots around
the arena in abundance. Some of the adjoining neighborhood looked pretty seedy, but the potential is there,
and once you arrive at the building itself, you are overwhelmed at its sheer size and imposing architecture.
Step inside, and you are immersed in a sweeping lobby with glass rising to the ceiling and gigantic video
boards, sculptures, plants and glass lined escalators to take you upstairs.

The concourse
Bright, roomy, and high tech advertising boards, impressively designed kiosks, concession stands and
vending carts everywhere. The Team LA  merchandise store and the FOX sports cafe are off the main
concourse. The upper concourses have outdoor balconies, where fans can step up to an outdoor bar, order
a drink and enjoy the warm California weather.

The bowl
Pretty big and imposing, the levels are broken down into 100 level, 200 level with Premier Seating, THREE
levels of suites, and then the 300 level way way up high. In the end zone above the 200 level is a restaurant
for Premier Seat holders with a view of the playing surface. An 8 sided scoreboard hangs in the center, and
among the many ad panels and message boards are three out of town scrolling scores - one for NHL, one
for NBA, and the third for NCAA. Pretty cool!

Great selection at boxcar prices, but somebody has to pay for all this! Best of show here is the mexican stand
- with the fajitas and the nachos grande.

Banners/retired numbers
The Los Angeles Lakers have had the greatest success here, with their six NBA championships. Their
retired numbers include the names Chamberlain, Jabbar, West, Baylor, Johnson, Goodrich and Worthy. The
Kings have hung the names of Rogie Vachon and Marcel Dionne. The Clippers???? movin on..

Now the bad news..
We walk in the building for the Lakers game, and start snapping photos. Immediately we are confronted by a
security guard (skinny kid, about 19 years old, 120 lbs impeccably dressed) who insists that we turn over our
camera. When we balked, he "escorted" us to guest relations, leading Andrew by the arm until Andrew told
him that he was perfectly able bodied and did not require assistance. We were forced to surrender the
camera, even though we identified ourselves as visitors, told them about our project and pleaded with them
to take even one inside photo. Nothing doing.
It doesn't end there... ushers, vendors, security people and concession workers all had this mean and surly
attitude about them. Maybe it's a SOCAL thing, but we were treated very shabbily. And no, there is no inside
photo on this profile, because we had no camera.

Amazing building, lots to see and do, and we are hoping that our Clippers experience in 2001 will make up
for the rough time we had with the Lakers and the Kings. We will sneak in the camera, and post an update,
hopefully with a lot of cool pics!

Architecture 8.5
Food and team store 7
Scoreboard and electronics 8
Ushers 0
Fan support 7
Location and neighborhood 7
Banners and history 6
In game entertainment 6
Concourses/fan comfort 6
Bonus: 0
Total points: 55.5
Staples Center


Los Angeles,

January 17,

Seattle Supersonics
at Los Angeles


January 18,


Return visit:

December 2,

Los Angeles

Los Angeles


Los Angeles


April 13,

The road trippers venue profile is pretty much covered in our first Staples Center report, so basically we want
to share a little bit about our return visit, this time to see the Los Angeles Clippers play.

The Clippers have a tie to our home in Buffalo, New York, since this franchise was born as the Buffalo
Braves back in 1970. The Braves thrilled and dazzled us during their time in Buffalo, and great players such
as Randy Smith, Ernie DiGregorio and Hall of Famer Bob McAdoo led this team to heights that have never
been achieved since they left Buffalo.

The City of Buffalo never embraced the Braves, and once the team was sold, new owner John Y. Brown went
through a series of deals and maneuvers which landed the team in San Diego, where they became the
Clippers. Well, the team did even worse there, and a few years later they moved to Los Angeles, where they
became the Los Angeles Clippers.

This franchise never had too much success, and even today is regarded as the poor cousin of L.A.'s glitzy
team - the Lakers. Nevertheless, this team does have its following here in Los Angeles, and finally are
showing signs of life on the court.

Now they are really a fun team to watch, and have a stable of young talent which bodes well for their future if
they can keep these guys together. Our assessment of the Clippers is similar to that of the '95-'96 Sabres,
who weren't playoff bound but hard working and entertaining. Judging from the sellout crowd on hand and on
their feet cheering a Clippers win, this team is clearly winning the hearts of the fans.

The arena
Glad to report no problems with security this time. We were quite paranoid about taking in the camera, and
concealed it well, even as we passed the harsh "no cameras or video equipment allowed" signs at each
entrance. Maybe it was our imagination, but people seemed friendlier this time around. We enjoyed a nice
dinner at the FOX sky sports cafe in the Staples Center, and caught some of the earlier games on the
monitors (remember this is the west coast, so things start up here around 4-4:30 on television!)

The game
A sellout crowd! A franchise record 10th sellout! What is going on here? The Clippers actually are selling out
games to folks who want to see THEM play! On this night, the Clippers pretty much manhandled the playoff
bound Timberwolves. Best quote of the night was from Clippers forward Eric Piatkowski, who gleefully said
"we don't want this season to end!"

Staples Center gets a high rating,, but that distinction is made on behalf of the Los Angeles Clippers. We tip
our hat to the folks who once called themselves the Buffalo Braves, and we recommend that when you visit
the Staples Center, you skip the Lakers, you skip the Kings, and buy tickets to the Clippers. You will save a
lot of money on your tickets, and the Clippers people will treat you right.

Scoring (Los Angeles Clippers):

Architecture 8.5
Food and team store 7
Scoreboard and electronics 8
Ushers 6
Fan support 6
Location and neighborhood 7
Banners and history 2
In game entertainment 5
Concourses/fan comfort 6
Bonus: Former Buffalo Braves 3; They're not the Lakers, 3

Total 61.5