Six playoff games over nine days, guaranteed.
Ten potential playoffs games over 14 days, not out of the question.
“This is pretty wild, isn’t it?” asks Lee Zeidman.
The perfect swarm of NBA and NHL playoffs has become the obvious payoff for AEG’s construction of Staples Center built in the first place in 1999. Adding all conglomeration of 19 eateries and hangouts across the street in LA Live doesn’t hurt business right now either.
Once upon a time, there was a threat of no NBA season. Now, it’s Occupy Staples Center.
Zeidman, the Staples Center senior VP and GM who worked for 10 years previously at the Forum, agrees that it’s a good bet no U.S. arena, stadium or bowling alley has ever seen the likes of what this building will endure with having the Lakers, Clippers and Kings converge for elbow room at their designated home arena in the post season — at the same time, nearly night after day after night between this Sunday and Saturday, May 12.
“I don’t think this has ever happened in the history of sports as it relates to two major sports, and I don’t think anyone will ever break this,” said Zeidman.
The reason is: Staples Center is the only place in the country with two NBA teams and one NHL team as its tenants. You’d have to have a city like New York willing to have both the NHL’s Rangers and Islanders join the NBA’s Knicks and Nets in the same converted flat. But the Nets are all ready to move from Jersey to Brooklyn in a new facility soon.
Wheras the Forum only had one instance where there were two games in one night – that was a Kings game followed by a indoor soccer match – Staples Center can handle all the nightly ruckus, Zeidman insists.
“It was built for this,” said Zeidman, noting 19 doubleheaders this season. “This is one of the payoffs. The other would be if we could get the Lakers and Clippers to win their first two rounds and make it to the Western Conference finals. Not only would that guarantee an all-home series, but it would assure us that one of them would be in the NBA Finals.
“Otherwise, this is business as usual; this is normal for us.”
It’s as if Marvel comics got all its superheroes together — Captain America, Ironman and Thor — and combined to form …
Dang, if only that Arena Football League team was still around vying for space rental.
How there isn’t any twin-bills in the upcoming weeks was only avoided when the Clippers didn’t get home court for their first-round series against Memphis, or today would have been the first day-night NBA playoff DH.
“The longer this all goes, the better it is for everyone,” said Zeidman, who says the building will have about 240 events this year, including the start of the WNBA season in late May, mixed in with a few concerts such as Van Halen and Radiohead in the coming weeks. “We’ll just defer a little summer maintenance to June 27.”
Not quite. ESPN’s X Games are coming to Staples Center a month earlier than usual this year because of the Summer Olympics – this time, it’s from June 28 to July 1.
“I don’t get much sleep anyway,” said Zeidman.
But there was no way to cram two Springsteen concerts into the place before this? Of course not. The Boss only plays the dingy Sports Arena. Staples Center is too “sterile” for his tastes, even though he opened the place.