It is fitting that a place built and owned by conservative billionaire Phil Anschutz should be renamed to something intended to separate poor people from their money.
Anschutz, not satisfied with the wealth he already has, sold a 20-year naming rights deal for $700 million to -- drum roll, please -- CRYPTO.COM.
Yes, that's right, on Christmas Day 2021, the home to the Lakers and Clippers and Kings and WWE and concerts and all sorts of events will become the "Crypto.Com Arena," because a billionaire and his money are all that matters, I guess?
Crypto.com is a cryptocurrency platform and exchange headquartered in Singapore. Founded in 2016, Crypto.com has been on a spending spree across the global sports landscape over the past year. The platform has inked high-visibility sponsorship deals with Formula One, the UFC, Italy's Serie A, Paris St-Germain and the NHL's Montreal Canadiens, while also purchasing the Philadelphia 76ers' uniform sponsorship patch.
AEG, the sports and entertainment conglomerate that has majority ownership of the Kings and had a stake in the Lakers until last summer, built the arena that quickly became a famous setting for major events in the United States' second-largest metropolitan area.
It was convenient of ESPN to leave out the fact that AEG is American Entertainment Group, a conglomerate in which Anschutz owns a majority interest. And billionaires LOVE crypto, because it's a largely unregulated and unsecured way to liberate cash from small investors and put it in the hands of large ones.
Don't @ me, crypto geeks. I've hated crypto since Bitcoin because it invites organized crime and billionaires to live their libertarian fantasies while moving money from one pocket to the next, using data centers, power, and a strand of letters and numbers that no one else has. I won't get started on what I think of NFTs here, but honestly, you should look askance at anything billionaires try to sell as a way to help the poor.
So there you have it. One of the most prestigious sports and entertainment venues in Southern California is now going to invite everyone to ask, "What's Crypto.com???"
Which is, of course, why they paid mega-millions to do just that.