Alyssa Julya Smith: Hello and welcome to Only in LA,
Alyssa Julya Smith: I'm Alyssa Julya Smith.
Max Godnick: And I am Laker fan, Max Godnick.
Max Godnick: [LAUGHTER] This is the show where we explore
Max Godnick: every corner of LA culture,
Max Godnick: from politics to pop, to pop culture.
Max Godnick: And today, we're focusing on one of
Max Godnick: the biggest perks of living in Los Angeles, sports.
Max Godnick: So let's dive right in.
Alyssa Julya Smith: Let's do it, Max. All right.
Alyssa Julya Smith: Los Angeles may be
Alyssa Julya Smith: synonymous with Hollywood entertainment,
Alyssa Julya Smith: but there's another kind of
Alyssa Julya Smith: entertainment industry here in
Alyssa Julya Smith: the city built around LAs world famous sports teams,
Alyssa Julya Smith: and it's a good time to be an LA sports fan. Right, Max?
Max Godnick: Oh, yes.
Alyssa Julya Smith: We're still not over the Dodgers heartbreaking exit.
Max Godnick: I am not that.
Alyssa Julya Smith: I'm not, and I mean I'm mourning them today in this,
Alyssa Julya Smith: uh, shirt, but they did have a pretty amazing run.
Alyssa Julya Smith: Breaking a franchise record for regular season wins.
Alyssa Julya Smith: Even though, it'd be pretty
Alyssa Julya Smith: nice if we were heading to the World Series today.
Alyssa Julya Smith: Congrats, Nats fans.
Max Godnick: I guess. But, we won't have to
Max Godnick: wait long for better days ahead.
Max Godnick: In just one week,
Max Godnick: basketball will take over the city when
Max Godnick: the NBA season tips off,
Max Godnick: and this year, LA is at the center of it all.
Max Godnick: LeBron James is beginning the second year of
Max Godnick: his $153 million four-year contract,
Max Godnick: and he's hoping it goes a lot better than year one,
Max Godnick: and it probably will.
Max Godnick: The team finally landed
Max Godnick: Anthony Davis in a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans,
Max Godnick: even though they filled up an Uber
Max Godnick: excel with young talent in order to make it happen.
Alyssa Julya Smith: [LAUGHTER]
Max Godnick: Now, the Lakers are
Max Godnick: definitely back in the championship conversation.
Max Godnick: But Alyssa, they may not even be
Max Godnick: the best team in the city or their own arena.
Alyssa Julya Smith: That's right.
Max Godnick: That's because the Clippers shocked fans this summer,
Max Godnick: picking up two massive superstars.
Max Godnick: 2019 finals MVP Kawhi
Max Godnick: Leonard and six-time all star Paul George.
Max Godnick: After all those years of playing
Max Godnick: second fiddle to the team just down the hall,
Max Godnick: the Clippers are going all out for what could be
Max Godnick: their first title in franchise history. Very exciting.
Alyssa Julya Smith: Very exciting time to be an LA.
Alyssa Julya Smith: Plus, we can't forget the Kings.
Alyssa Julya Smith: Those two Stanley Cups
Alyssa Julya Smith: earlier this decade seemed
Alyssa Julya Smith: like a lifetime ago, don't they?
Max Godnick: They feelin' it.
Alyssa Julya Smith: Especially, coming off 2019s
Alyssa Julya Smith: last place finish in the Western Conference.
Alyssa Julya Smith: It'll be a long rebuild ahead,
Alyssa Julya Smith: but there is enough young talent on
Alyssa Julya Smith: the roster to give the team a shot at one day
Alyssa Julya Smith: reclaiming the throne from
Alyssa Julya Smith: the current king of the Staples Center, LeBron James.
Max Godnick: Yeah, that guy. And over- after over two decades,
Max Godnick: two decades without a football team to root for,
Max Godnick: the city's Gridiron glory days are back with two teams,
Max Godnick: the Rams and Chargers.
Max Godnick: But so far, this season hasn't exactly gone to plan.
Max Godnick: The Rams were defending NFC champs coming
Max Godnick: into the season off a brutal Super Bowl loss.
Max Godnick: But things aren't looking too hot so
Max Godnick: far with a 3-3 record.
Max Godnick: But, you know, it's not too bad.
Alyssa Julya Smith: [LAUGHTER]
Max Godnick: And the Chargers, well,
Max Godnick: they have an even worse record this year.
Max Godnick: We won't even go into that.
Max Godnick: But there still, is lots of football left to play.
Max Godnick: So let's, let's keep things optimistic, Alyssa.
Max Godnick: [OVERLAPPING]
Alyssa Julya Smith: We're staying optimistic, because we're rooting
Alyssa Julya Smith: for all the teams in LA, today.
Alyssa Julya Smith: And we could talk all day about
Alyssa Julya Smith: the teams here in LA, we have to celebrate,
Alyssa Julya Smith: would even get to soccer with the Galaxy and
Alyssa Julya Smith: LA FC or the WNBA and the Sparks, Max. But- [OVERLAPPING]
Max Godnick: There is a shortage of teams.
Alyssa Julya Smith: There's a lot of stuff going on.
Alyssa Julya Smith: But when it comes to seeing a game in LA,
Alyssa Julya Smith: including the Sparks, you can't beat the Staples Center.
Alyssa Julya Smith: So home, too, for pro sports fans, franchises,
Alyssa Julya Smith: it hosts the biggest acts in the game
Alyssa Julya Smith: from Beyonce and Jay-Z to Keith Urban,
Alyssa Julya Smith: Paul McCartney, and 2019 marks its 20th anniversary.
Alyssa Julya Smith: So joining us now to look back at two decades in
Alyssa Julya Smith: the spotlight and everything to come is Lee Zeidman,
Alyssa Julya Smith: he's the President of
Alyssa Julya Smith: Staples Center Microsoft Theater in LA Live.
Alyssa Julya Smith: That's a lot of titles, Lee- [OVERLAPPING]
Max Godnick: What a resume.
Alyssa Julya Smith: -thanks so much for joining us today.
Lee Zeidman: It's a big campus that- [OVERLAPPING]
Alyssa Julya Smith: You are the man on campus.
Alyssa Julya Smith: Now, you've been there since the start over two decades,
Alyssa Julya Smith: what's made it so successful in
Alyssa Julya Smith: these past two decades
Alyssa Julya Smith: that you've gotten to see firsthand?
Max Godnick: You were the first full-time employee ever hired.
Lee Zeidman: I was the first full-time employee hired.
Lee Zeidman: I was actually working at The Forum at the time,
Lee Zeidman: working for [inaudible 00:03:59] bus,
Lee Zeidman: and I was a representative on the new committee for
Lee Zeidman: the new arena before I was hired to
Lee Zeidman: be the first employee at Staples Center.
Lee Zeidman: But what makes it, you know,
Lee Zeidman: what makes Staples Center, Staples Center?
Lee Zeidman: Three things. First of all,
Lee Zeidman: it's an iconic design. It's a great venue.
Lee Zeidman: The second thing is, we picked the
Lee Zeidman: best and the biggest systems to operate it,
Lee Zeidman: because we knew we were going to have to do the
Lee Zeidman: biggest and the best events out there.
Lee Zeidman: We were gonna have to flip the arena on a dime,
Lee Zeidman: turn it over from basketball to hockey,
Lee Zeidman: to hockey to basketball,
Lee Zeidman: basketball to basketball to the Grammy's to basketball.
Lee Zeidman: Well, we'd pick the better systems.
Max Godnick: [LAUGHTER]
Lee Zeidman: And the third thing is,
Lee Zeidman: we hired the best people out
Lee Zeidman: there who bought into our vision.
Lee Zeidman: And then, what I tell people that the fourth thing
Lee Zeidman: probably is it doesn't hurt to
Lee Zeidman: have your pride tenant win
Lee Zeidman: three world championships in
Lee Zeidman: the first three years of operation.
Max Godnick: Yeah, that probably helps. Location, too. Uh-
MALE_1: Seems like a great idea now to be in downtown LA,
MALE_1: but at the time 20 years ago,
MALE_1: that was a very controversial decision.
MALE_1: So how have you proved the haters wrong?
Lee Zeidman: Well, first of all you have to understand
Lee Zeidman: that the success of Staples Center was never guaranteed.
Lee Zeidman: We had to get everybody to move from the Forum,
Lee Zeidman: and they had been at the Forum for 31 years now.
Lee Zeidman: The Lakers and the Kings fan,
Lee Zeidman: the Clippers came in, you know,
Lee Zeidman: about six weeks before we opened.
Lee Zeidman: They were already downtown.
Lee Zeidman: Nobody went downtown.
Lee Zeidman: It rolled up its carpet and closed at 5:00 pm.
Lee Zeidman: At that time there were probably
Lee Zeidman: a couple hundred thousand people working there,
Lee Zeidman: maybe 10,000 people living there.
Lee Zeidman: I'd been in Southern California at
Lee Zeidman: that time for probably 40 years,
Lee Zeidman: I never went downtown.
Lee Zeidman: I didn't know how to drive downtown, and when I did,
Lee Zeidman: I could never navigate
Lee Zeidman: those one way streets because I
Lee Zeidman: had no idea where I was going.
Female Speaker: I've driven the wrong way on
Female Speaker: those many a times [LAUGHTER] just
Female Speaker: for the record [LAUGHTER].
Lee Zeidman: We had to clean it up. Working with
Lee Zeidman: the city of Los Angeles,
Lee Zeidman: we cleaned it up and then we
Lee Zeidman: educated, educated, and educated.
Lee Zeidman: We educated the fans on how to get there,
Lee Zeidman: we educated them about all the new amenities of
Lee Zeidman: the new building and why downtown Los Angeles made sense.
Lee Zeidman: And those of you who can remember back then,
Lee Zeidman: we had parking lots all around us.
Lee Zeidman: You know, parking lots everywhere.
Lee Zeidman: All you had to do was drive up,
Lee Zeidman: park, get out, go into the arena.
Lee Zeidman: Now, we have LA Live and
Lee Zeidman: a tremendous amount of
Lee Zeidman: development in and around the campus.
MALE_1: Yeah, we're downtown all the time.
Female Speaker: We love downtown. Now this summer
Female Speaker: LeBron James said Staples was
Female Speaker: the biggest winner of
Female Speaker: the NBA free agency. So why is that?
Lee Zeidman: Well, first of all, I said that before LeBron said that.
Lee Zeidman: It was July 5th when we had a Shawn Mendes concert,
Lee Zeidman: and if you recall back
Lee Zeidman: July fourth and fifth- [OVERLAPPING]
MALE_1: Love Shawn Mendes.
Lee Zeidman: -we had a few earthquakes, we had
Lee Zeidman: a few earthquakes and [OVERLAPPING]
Lee Zeidman: we were all waiting to find
Lee Zeidman: out where Kawhi Leonard was going to go.
Lee Zeidman: I was telling people for me
Lee Zeidman: as a venue operator and for Staples Center,
Lee Zeidman: we didn't really care where he went long
Lee Zeidman: as he went to either the Lakers or the Clippers.
Lee Zeidman: When he went to the Clippers,
Lee Zeidman: we became instant winners.
Lee Zeidman: The reason why Staples Center won was because now we have
Lee Zeidman: 82 games of what we call playoff caliber basketball,
Lee Zeidman: 41 from the Lakers,
Lee Zeidman: 41 from the Clippers,
Lee Zeidman: and we're going to be on national-
Lee Zeidman: the Clippers and the Lakers combined will be on
Lee Zeidman: national TV 58 times
Lee Zeidman: with 27 of those coming out of Staples Center.
Lee Zeidman: So it's a huge advantage to us.
Lee Zeidman: And the last thing is, you know,
Lee Zeidman: in my 20 years there, 21 years there,
Lee Zeidman: I've always hoped for a hallway series.
Lee Zeidman: I believed- and by a hallway series
Lee Zeidman: the Lakers have their locker room in the hallway,
Lee Zeidman: the Clippers two doors down have their locker room.
Lee Zeidman: I hope that one day that they'll play each other.
Lee Zeidman: Now this year, I think that the opportunity to play in
Lee Zeidman: the Western Conference final would be
Lee Zeidman: fantastic and a great possibility.
Lee Zeidman: Staples Center would get all seven games,
Lee Zeidman: and then one team would be
Lee Zeidman: guaranteed going to the NBA finals.
MALE_1: That's pretty good news for Staples. I'm from New York.
Female Speaker: I'm praying for that too.
MALE_1: I've seen a subway series.
MALE_1: I've never seen a hallway series.
MALE_1: So I'm hoping this is the year.
MALE_1: You mentioned LeBron, and LeBron is
MALE_1: obviously in the headlines a lot these days;
MALE_1: the NBA and this controversy with China and Hong Kong.
MALE_1: You are the Lakers landlord.
MALE_1: There's definitely a chance there could be
MALE_1: protests as the season gets underway.
MALE_1: What is Staples doing to prepare?
Lee Zeidman: Well, first and foremost, we take every event seriously.
Lee Zeidman: We do our research, we do our homework,
Lee Zeidman: we're in constant communication with LAPD,
Lee Zeidman: our partners Secret Service,
Lee Zeidman: Department of Homeland Security, and the FBI.
Lee Zeidman: So it doesn't make
Lee Zeidman: a difference if it's a concert, a Laker,
Lee Zeidman: or a Clipper game, we take- we
Lee Zeidman: take security very seriously.
Lee Zeidman: That said, we're monitoring social media.
Lee Zeidman: We know that there may be T-shirts that will be made
Lee Zeidman: that would be passed out in and around LA Live.
Lee Zeidman: We know that there is also a building code of
Lee Zeidman: conduct for fans that
Lee Zeidman: fans know about that's on our web site.
Lee Zeidman: There's also an NBA code of conduct for fans.
Lee Zeidman: And we will abide by that,
Lee Zeidman: and we will gently
Lee Zeidman: and responsibly talk to fans who get out of line,
Lee Zeidman: and we'll take the appropriate action.
Lee Zeidman: That said, I think October 22nd,
Lee Zeidman: we will be the center of
Lee Zeidman: the NBA universe and I think it's one of
Lee Zeidman: the most anticipated opening night games
Lee Zeidman: in the history of modern day NBA.
MALE_1: It's gotta be, I cannot wait.
Female Speaker: I- I cannot either.
Female Speaker: Lee, just to shift into some lighter news.
Female Speaker: The LA Kings covering up
Female Speaker: Taylor Swift's banner saying she's cursing them.
Female Speaker: So what do you make of all of this?
MALE_1: This is the real headline news.
Female Speaker: This is Taylor Swift cursing the games.
Lee Zeidman: Listen, we didn't take the banner down.
Lee Zeidman: Okay? The Kings fans
Lee Zeidman: and the Kings heard them and they want to cover it up.
Lee Zeidman: That said, the Clippers cover it up.
Lee Zeidman: The Lakers don't, you know,
Lee Zeidman: I'm not going to get involved in banner wars,
Lee Zeidman: I'm more interested in great content,
Lee Zeidman: great events, and make it a
Lee Zeidman: safe and secure for you to come there.
Lee Zeidman: That said, they won one and have
Lee Zeidman: lost two since they covered up the banners.
Lee Zeidman: You know, sports people are superstitious; U.S. fans,
Lee Zeidman: the people that come to the building,
Lee Zeidman: the people that work in the building,
Lee Zeidman: I myself, and all the athletes as well.
Lee Zeidman: So we'll see. I think it's- I think
Lee Zeidman: it's very fun to have this happen.
Lee Zeidman: It brings the Kings into the conversation-.
Lee Zeidman: -as it relates to the building and what's going
Lee Zeidman: on and we all know the Kings are in a rebuilding year.
Lee Zeidman: They haven't made any bones about that.
Lee Zeidman: And you have two high profile franchises.
Lee Zeidman: So this allows the Kings to
Lee Zeidman: become in that conversation mix as well, I believe.
Lee Zeidman: And then hopefully they can win some games,
Lee Zeidman: and then people point to that banner and say,
Lee Zeidman: "You know what? Maybe there was a curse." [LAUGHTER]
MALE_1: And maybe the Swifties come back around.
MALE_1: Really quick before we let you go,
MALE_1: we know the Clippers have a proposed new arena
MALE_1: in Inglewood, you know.
MALE_1: What's your pitch to get them to stay at Staples?
Lee Zeidman: Well, first of all, I think that
Lee Zeidman: the reasons why the Clippers want to move, you know,
Lee Zeidman: have been well-documented, and I think
Lee Zeidman: Steve Ballmer has made
Lee Zeidman: a case on why they want their own identity.
Lee Zeidman: That said, they're at
Lee Zeidman: Staples Center for another five years.
Lee Zeidman: We are going to make it the best
Lee Zeidman: experience not only for the franchise,
Lee Zeidman: but the Clipper fans,
Lee Zeidman: and any NBA fan that comes
Lee Zeidman: into the building for the next five years.
Lee Zeidman: As it relates to if they get that
Lee Zeidman: building built, that's out of my hands.
Lee Zeidman: As you've read and have seen in the news,
Lee Zeidman: that's in the court system, they'll figure that out.
Lee Zeidman: The NBA will figure that out with Dolan,
Lee Zeidman: and MSG, and Ballmer and his group.
Lee Zeidman: We will make it the best
Lee Zeidman: five years of the Clippers here and who knows,
Lee Zeidman: maybe they gonna win a couple of championships,
Lee Zeidman: hang a few banners right next to Taylor Swift's banner.
Lee Zeidman: [LAUGHTER]
MALE_1: They definitely have a chance. [LAUGHTER]
Female Speaker: Well, Lee, thank you so
Female Speaker: much for joining us. We really appreciate it.
Lee Zeidman: Thank you guys for having me.
Lee Zeidman: I really appreciate being on.
Female Speaker: Lee Zeidman everyone, President of Staples Center,
Female Speaker: Microsoft Theater, and LA Live,
Female Speaker: basically the big man on campus [LAUGHTER] right here.
MALE_1: Very exciting few months to come for Lee.
MALE_1: And after the break, we continue with
MALE_1: our sports edition of Only in LA.
MALE_1: One of the most famous gymnasts of
MALE_1: her time joins our L.A. studio, that's us.
MALE_1: The top paying college athletes.
MALE_1: You won't want to miss it. Stick around.
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