The expansion of L.A. Live next to Staples Center allowed All-Star Weekend events to be concentrated downtown. (Courtesy Staples Center)
Levy posted robust per caps for the 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend at Staples Center. Dates were Feb. 16-18.
Fans spent an average of $45.86 for food and drink for Sunday's NBA All-Star Game, covering general concessions and premium dining, Staples Center President Lee Zeidman said. Gross revenue was $816,364 from an official attendance of 17,801.
The highest per cap of the weekend, $48.03, came on State Farm All-Star Saturday Night, which encompassed the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, the JBL Three-Point Contest and the Verizon Slam Dunk.
Friday night's NBA All-Star Celebrity Game presented by Ruffles, and the Mtn Dew Kickstart Rising Stars produced an average spend of $37.04, Zeidman said.
Staples Center also played host to the NBA All-Star Game in 2011 and 2004.
Levy, in tandem with AEG, partnered with multiple celebrity chefs in Greater Los Angeles to upgrade concessions and premium dining by building temporary stands on the concourses and suite levels.
The pop-ups included:
” Charcoal Venice, the outdoor grill run by Josiah Citrin, whose Dave's Doghouse hot dog concept is already at Staples Center.
” Susan Feniger's Border Grill, a gourmet Mexican restaurant.
” Bludso's Bar & Que, featuring brisket sandwiches and hot links.
” Wurstkutche, a local brand of exotic sausages and brats.
Those four pops-up helped drive revenue for the event, as did variable pricing for NBA All-Star Weekend, which brought a “premium uptick” for higher-end food and drink items in general, Zeidman said.
For retail, AEG Merchandising generated a blended per cap of about $23 over the three days, on par with numbers from the 2010 NBA Finals at Staples Center.
It's the second-highest retail gross for an NBA All-Star Game, behind only the 2010 event, Zeidman said, which drew 108,713 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. It topped the $17.91 per cap for the 2011 game at Staples Center.
AEG Merchandising's record per cap remains $65 for Kobe Bryant's final home game on April 13, 2016.
It took a massive effort among AEG, L.A. Live, the Los Angeles Convention Center, the Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment Commission, city officials and local law enforcement to organize all the activities and protect all the attendees over All-Star Weekend, Zeidman said.
The expansion of L.A. Live, the entertainment district across the street from Staples Center, to include more hotels has resulted in more people staying downtown. In 2004, the first time Staples Center played host to the event, L.A. Live was not open and, in 2011, the district was just four years old and still evolving, Zeidman said.
“This year, 95 percent of all the acts and people attending the events were housed in downtown L.A., plus all of the Turner [Network] activations and the outdoor parties and concerts,” he said. “It was huge to have everything concentrated downtown.”
As part of upgrading security, AEG, in conjunction with LAPD, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, increased canine patrols around the arena and formed a comprehensive plan tied to a secured perimeter around Staples Center.
Inside the arena, the NBA tested facial recognition technology for credentialed media, using a system developed by NEC. AEG plans to look further into using the technology at Staples Center, but at this point no decisions have been made, Zeidman said.
“I couldn't be prouder of our staff,” he said. “We had numerous compliments from other venues and teams, as well as the NBA and Turner.”