Staples Center – Los Angeles Clippers
The Clipper Joint
The Staples Center is the center of the LA indoor sports universe, as it serves as the home of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers of the NBA, the LA Kings of the NHL and the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA. The arena opened in 1999 and has a seating capacity of 19,079 for basketball and 18,118 for hockey.
The Clippers have only played in the Staples Center since 1999. Before then, they had led a somewhat gypsy existence. They were founded as the Buffalo Braves in 1970 and relocated to San Diego in 1978, where they picked up the Clipper name due to the city’s long relationship with sailing. In 1984 they moved to LA and split their games between the Los Angeles Sports Arena and the Pond of Anaheim. They then relocated to the Staples Center in 1999.
The team was one of the worse in basketball for a several years. This was due to poor personnel decisions and unstable management up through the 2010’s. Things began to change dramatically in 2014 when new ownership provided a much more stable atmosphere to the franchise. Former Boston Celtic coach Doc Rivers was also brought in and has run the team with a steady hand ever since. In recent years the Clippers have made the playoffs in back to back seasons and have won the season series against the Lakers on two occasions.
Food & Beverage 3
Los Angeles is one of the most diverse cities in the country, and this is reflected in the Staples Center’s concessions offerings. Among the vendors in the arena are Blaze Pizza, BS Taqueria, Cooler by Budweiser, Dave’s Doghouse, EATS, Golden Road Brewhouse, Impact Sports Bar and Grill, Outtakes, Wetzel’s Pretzels and Smokehouse BBQ.
One word of warning… while the food selection is of excellent quality, you may develop indigestion when you see the prices. They are amongst the highest in the NBA… think nearly $7 for a hot dog. You may want to eat somewhere less expensive before or after the game, utilizing the Staples Center for just snacks and beverages.
As you would expect in Hollywood and the home of TV shows, the Staples Center excels in production quality. The sound system and lighting quality in the arena far exceeds what is found at other arenas. One reason for this is the vast number of concerts held at the arena, featuring the top artists in the world, many of whom are local residents as well. They tend to be very demanding of the technical crews, and the Staples Center delivers. You’ll want to make sure to be in your seats prior to the National Anthem, as both the Lakers and the Clippers have very dramatic pregame introductions.
The Staples Center is located in the LA Live sports and entertainment district. LA Live has more than 20 restaurants, including Shaquille’s, Yard House and several of Wolfgang Puck’s brand of restaurants. Also included in the complex are a variety of night clubs, the GRAMMY Museum and even a bowling alley. There are several hotel brands represented in the area, which can save you the hassle of being in traffic trying to get to the arena.
The fan base of the Clippers is very different from the Lakers. As the relatively new “kid on the block” compared to the Lakers long history, rather than try to duplicate the Lakers more celebrity-oriented and corporate fan base, the Clippers tend to draw families, millennials, and fans from LA’s very diverse ethnic population. Perhaps its marketing campaign says it best “LA… Our Way.” The club markets very heavily in the Hispanic communities of LA and are rewarded when two and three generations of a family attend together. The club also hosts fan fests at different points in the season, with a carnival-like setting featuring Clipper branded games, music and appearances by team members.
The game experience has a different feel, as the Clippers use a DJ as their PA announcer and this gets the crowd into the game in a much louder way than you would see from the more reserved Lakers fans. The stands are filled with the Clippers red and blue colors as a show of pride in their team, and they have rewarded their fans with a playoff-level team.
Anyone who has ever driven in the Los Angeles area can tell you that LA stands for “lotta autos.” There are a vast network of interstates in the greater metropolitan area, but the two to keep in mind for the Staples Center are I-110 and I-10, as the arena is located just north of the 110/10 interchange. It is always important to leave yourself plenty of time to make it through traffic to a game. We suggest you download the Staples Center app, as it includes the WAZE app, which provides up to the minute information on accidents, road construction and alternate routes that may get you to the arena faster.
Once you have reached the Staples Center, parking can become an issue. The Center owns 3,300 spaces, but there are more than 16,000 spaces within a 10-minute walk of the arena. If you plan to park in a Staples Center owned lot, you should pre-purchase your parking pass at AXS. Staple Center lots charge $30, but privately-owned lots in the area can be much cheaper.
The Los Angeles Metro public transportation system can provide a less time consuming and less stressful method of reaching the Staples Center. The Metro Rail Pico Station will drop you off at the doorstep of the arena. We suggest you purchase a one-day pass for $7, which gives you unlimited rides within a 24-hour period of purchase and will allow you to visit the many other interesting sites in the Los Angeles area. Go to www.metro.net for detailed information on navigating the Metro system.
The Staples Center itself provides excellent access to each of its seating levels. There are four main entry points for the general public, with many more set aside for season ticket holders and VIP’s. The concession stands are plentiful and typically the same stands have a location on each level of the seating bowl. The Staples Center has more than 60 restrooms.
One word of warning if you are seated in the 300 level of the arena. Like many sports facilities, the Clippers utilize “stage lighting” to spotlight the action on the court. As a result, there is poor lighting in the upper level. This makes it difficult to identify the row you are sitting on or in finding your specific seat. The dim lighting also adds to the difficulty in ascending or descending the steeply inclined steps in this section.
Return on Investment 3
Like most major metropolitan areas such as New York and Chicago, the cost of doing business is much higher. In addition, it is a very competitive market for both the tourists and local’s entertainment dollar. It is therefore not surprising that Los Angeles ranks only behind the Big Apple on the Fan’s Cost Index. Parking, concessions, tickets and traffic congestion can all add up in making a night out at a Clippers game an expensive proposition. The team heavily promotes discounted group outings to keep the costs down for their fans. They also heavily promote on the LA light rail system to reach a different audience as well as to promote the rail system as a less expensive way to reach the games. The Clippers do not have as large a payroll as many NBA teams, but they have a young and talented team. There will definitely be some Clippers banners joining those of the Lakers in the coming years.
The Staples Center has hosted three NBA All Star games, two NHL All Star Games, eighteen Grammy Awards shows, four WTA Tennis Tour Championships, two NCAA Men’s West Regional Finals and eleven X Games competitions.
If you are planning to go to multiple sports events at the Staples Center and purchase a souvenir at each game, you may want to check out the Team LA Store before going into the arena. The store is the licensed seller for goods for all the teams and has stores all over the city, including LA Live. By buying your merchandise before you go into the game, you can avoid lugging your goods up to your seats. You can also avoid paying the extra fee charged for a shopping bag inside the arena, as the Staples Center has adopted several “green” initiatives.
The Staples Center continues to serve as the premiere indoor sports facility in the Los Angeles area. Its mix of teams touch upon almost every demographic in a city known for being very diverse. Its location across the street from the LA Live music, restaurant and entertainment district makes it a very attractive place for a night on the town for your family and friends.
Did you enjoy this content? Help support our work by becoming a supporter of Stadium Journey on Patreon. Supporter levels begin at just $2/month.
Food and Drink Recommendations
Courtyard by Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE
901 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Luxe City Center Hotel
Latest Crowd Reviews
Dec 26, 2016 Meg Minard Though the Clippers have not yet won a national championship, the fans continue to be supportive and encourage their team on to future playoffs and conference finals. Now might be the time to make a visit to the Staples Center to see the Clippers in action.