By Barry Janoff
July 13, 2016: New Era caps, already found on MLB, NFL and NBA fields and courts, is expanding its entertainment presence, signing a multi-year deal to become a founding partner and exclusive headwear provider for L.A. Live, the four-million sq. ft., $3 billion downtown Los Angeles sports, residential and entertainment district that includes Staples Center, the Grammy Museum and the L.A. broadcast center for ESPN.
As part of the deal, handled under the auspices of L.A. Live owner AEG (Anschutz Entertainment Group), New Era also becomes the exclusive headwear supplier for the NHL's Los Angeles Kings (which play in Staples Center), Microsoft Theater and The Novo by Microsoft, the latter two of which are also part of L.A. Live.
In addition, New Era is building its own permanent retail space in L.A. Live, a 3,160 sq. ft. New Era D-Lab, inside Staples Center.
New Era already has an alliance with Staples Center, which also is home to the NBA's Lakers and Clippers and WNBA Sparks.
Financial terms of the deal were not released.
"Working with AEG provides us an unparalleled opportunity to showcase and activate New Era's brand within the L.A. Live campus," Chris Koch, president and CEO for Buffalo, NY-based New Era, said in a statement. "AEG has created a state-of-the-art facility in L.A. Live.
"As the only brand in sports history to have the exclusive MLB on-field, NFL sideline and NBA on-court headwear rights for all three major U.S. leagues at the same time, New Era is looking forward to showcasing our extensive product collection in a one-of-a-kind retail experience to everyone in attendance at this wonderful venue created by AEG," said Koch.
L.A. Live partners also include American Express, Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser), Coca-Cola, Microsoft, StubHub, Target, Toyota and Wells Fargo.
The New Era D-Lab, scheduled to open Dec. 1, will be located in the front of Staples Center on the corner of Chick Hearn Court and Figueroa, looking onto Microsoft Square.
To support the founding partnership, New Era will have traditional and LED signage throughout the L.A. Live campus.
With the Kings, which are owned by AEG, New Era will have signage throughout Staples Center on Kings' game days. New Era signage will also be featured throughout Microsoft Theater and The Novo by Microsoft.
AEG said it would support The New Era D-Lab and partnership through digital and social media campaigns, and would work with New Era on a "customized in-game feature to further enhance the New Era brand and portfolio as well as provide digital and social media support ahead of and during game days."
The retail space, co-owned by AEG and New Era, will "serve as a hub for fans, celebrities, athletes and visiting NHL and NBA teams to design their own custom headwear."
Visitors to The New Era D-Lab will be able to design "one-of-a-kind creations for their favorite teams across New Era's portfolio with the D-Lab's enhanced technology," according to New Era.
"Working with AEG provides us an unparalleled opportunity to showcase and activate New Era's brand within the L.A. Live campus."
In addition, The New Era D-Lab will host private tastemaker, celebrity and athlete endorsement events throughout the year.
According to Sean Ryan, vp-merchandise for AEG, "Since the inception of Staples Center, we have had a long-standing relationship with New Era, who has helped us commemorate such iconic moments as Kobe's last game and the L.A. Kings' Stanley Cup wins in 2012 and 2014.
"The ability for us to expand our relationship with New Era and partner with them across some of our most iconic assets provides us with the flexibility to meet the needs of our visitors and speaks to our mutual commitment to not only provide fans with the best selection of headwear in sports, but also one of the best experiences," said Ryan.
AEG is affiliated with or owns, manages or consults with more than 120 arenas, stadiums, theaters, clubs and convention centers worldwide, including The O2 Arena (London), AT&T Center (San Antonio), Barclays Center (Brooklyn, NY), AmericanAirlines Arena (Miami), Oracle Arena (Oakland) and BBVA Compass Stadium (Houston, which will host Super Bowl LI in February).