The hockey world will converge in downtown this week as the puck drops at Staples Center for the National Hockey League’s All-Star Game.
Weekend festivities will begin on Jan. 26 and conclude on Jan. 29 with the Sunday afternoon game.
The league, which is also celebrating its centennial, will commemorate its long history over the course of the four-day event that has been sponsored by Honda. The highlight of the weekend is expected to be the NHL100 celebration at Microsoft Theater on Friday night, where the league will honor the 100 greatest players in its history. As many as 77 of the players honored are expected to attend, including Wayne Gretzky, a one-time member of the Los Angeles Kings. Tickets for the event, priced between $79 and $300, are available to the public. Musician John Legend is scheduled to perform at the show, which will be hosted by actor Jon Hamm and air live on NBCSN.
“We built this building to attract the best events out there,” said Lee Zeidman, president of Staples Center and Microsoft Theater. “This event is on par with the Grammys and other special events,” he added, noting the arena previously hosted the NHL All-Star Game in 2002.
Anschutz Entertainment Group, which owns Staples Center and L.A. Live, spent $5 million renovating and upgrading all of its 154 private and 16 event suites before the 2016-17 season. The company, which is also majority owner of the Kings, worked with architect Dan Meis, founder and managing principal of Venice’s Meis Architects, to provide a contemporary look to the premium spaces. Concession stands on the suite level also received upgrades, including the food menus. Staples Center will host the NBA All-Star Game next year.
Last year’s NHL All-Star Game was held in Nashville, Tenn., which is home to the Nashville Predators. Warren Woo, founding partner of L.A.-based Breakaway Capital and minority owner of the Predators, said the event is an effective marketing tool for the home arena and team because it draws owners, executives, and fans from across the league.
“It was a showcase and coming-out party for Nashville,” said Woo. “It’s a great opportunity to build our brand. It gave us credibility as a hockey town.”
The public will have plenty of opportunities to participate in the weekend’s festivities. The Los Angeles Convention Center will host a fan festival on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, with tickets priced at $20. In addition, the annual winter ice rink at L.A. Live will remain open through the weekend all-star festivities, with the Kings hosting various events throughout the weekend. Merchandise stands will also be set up throughout L.A. Live.
Zeidman noted that he expects the weekend to be profitable for both the Kings and the entertainment complex.
While Woo described last year’s all-star weekend as a success from a branding perspective, he said the costs associated with event made it a wash financially for the Predators.
“To be honest, you don’t make money,” he said.
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