Business Play: Pepperdine’s new Staples Center outpost.

Business Play: Pepperdine’s new Staples Center outpost.

The newest classroom for Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management will be in an unusual location that nevertheless makes a lot of sense.

A converted conference room once used by the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center arena downtown is set to officially open next month as part of partnership between Pepperdine and Staples Center owner Anschutz Entertainment Group.

The newly outfitted classroom will host up to 50 Graziadio students participating in the business school’s newest area of focus: entertainment, sports and media management.

The subjects currently make up a concentration in the Graziadio School’s Master of Business Administration program. They’ll be spun off into a separate Master of Science degree program, either in fall 2019 or fall 2020, according to school administrators.

“Having a classroom inside the Staples Center offers some great advantages for this program,” said Amanda Karr, executive director of student enrollment services at the Graziadio School. “It’s one of the few places where you can study sports management and then have the likes of LeBron James walk in moments before or after a game.”

The plan for a classroom at Staples in partnership with AEG has been two years in the making. Rick Gibson, chief marketing officer and vice president for Public Affairs at Pepperdine, said the total cost of converting the former conference room into a classroom was in the “low six figures” since the plan was announced in 2016, with the cost being split between the university and AEG. Among the expenses: installing more multimedia equipment and upgrading the live feed to the arena floor.

Gibson said the classroom and the partnership with AEG is part of the university’s strategy to have more of a presence in downtown.