The Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers are a rarity — playing in the same league and sharing the same stadium. How did it happen?
It’s not entirely unusual to have two professional teams of the same sport located in the same city — the Chicago White Sox and Cubs, the New York Islanders and Rangers, Mets and Yankees, Knicks and Nets. But even among that group, the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers are something of an oddity. They don’t just share a city, they share a stadium.
Since 1999, the Lakers and Clippers have played in the same stadium (which, incidentally, is also home to the NHL’s L.A. Kings and the WNBA’s L.A. Sparks).
Why do the Lakers and Clippers share an arena?
The Lakers and Clippers both moved into the Staples Center at the beginning of the 1999-00 season. Before that, the Lakers played at the Forum and the Clippers played at Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. The Los Angeles Kings of the NHL also played at the Forum with the Lakers.
Real estate developers Philip Anschutz and Edward P. Roski were minority owners in the Los Angeles Kings and, in 1998, “exercised an option to buy 25% of the Lakers, with the Lakers agreeing to become a tenant” in the new arena they were planning to build for the Kings.
The company that managed the Memorial Sports Arena, home of the Clippers, was looking to build a new arena around the same time and both companies were looking at land just a few miles apart. The Clippers decided to leave and become tenants at the Staples Center instead of continuing to help back the rival project. Given his lengthy and questionable history, once can assume there were some considerable financial incentives for then-Clippers owner Donald Sterling behind the decision.
The Staples Center was renamed Crypto.com Arena in December 2021.
How do the Lakers and Clippers share an arena?
Sharing an arena involves plenty of work by the NBA’s scheduling office but also a lot of work by the game-day operations crew and arena staff. The teams have separate home locker rooms so their physical space doesn’t overlap. But t few years ago an ESPN photo essay covered some of the changes that are made, including
- The Lakers championship banners are covered for Clippers’ games
- Team signage on the outside of the stadium is change
- All the merchandise in the arena stores is changed over (for example, you can’t buy Lakers’ gear at a Clippers game)
- Team signage and bleacher wraps inside the stadium and along visible tunnels are swapped out
- Each team uses different sets of lights for their pre-game introductions
- The court itself is changed to feature the logos of whichever home team is playing
Who is the home team when the Lakers play the Clippers?
When the two teams play each other they follow the home team designated in the league schedule. All the signage and branding on the arena is set to feature whichever team is designated as home.
What other sports teams share an arena?
Currently, there are only, three stadiums or arenas that host teams who play in the same league — the Lakers and Clippers in Crypto.com Arena, the New York Giants and Jets in MetLife Stadium and the Los Angeles Chargers and Rams in SoFi Stadium.
There are 10 venues that are home to both NBA and NHL teams:
- American Airlines Center for the Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Stars
- Ball Arena for the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche
- Capital One Arena for the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals
- Crypto.com Arena for the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Kings
- Little Caesars Arena for the Detroit Pistons and Detroit Red Wings
- Madison Square Garden for the New York Knicks and New York Rangers
- Scotiabank Arena for the Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs
- TD Garden for the Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins
- United Center for the Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks
- Wells Fargo Center for the Philadelphia 76ers and Philadelphia Flyers
There are five venues that are home to both NBA and WNBA teams:
- Barclays Center for the Brooklyn Nets and New York Liberty
- Crypto.com Arena for the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Sparks
- Footprint Center for the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury
- Gainbridge Fieldhouse for the Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever
- Target Center for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Lynx
And then there is Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, which is home to the WNBA’s Storm and the NHL’s Kraken.
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