L.A. pro teams pull postseason hat trick

Eve Troeh May 17, 2012

David Brancaccio: Los Angeles sports fans are flying high. Three of the city’s pro teams are in the playoffs — Count ’em: Lakers, Clippers, the Kings for hockey. All playing this weekend in one arena, the Staples Center.

Marketplace’s Eve Troeh reports.

Eve Troeh: When the Lakers play at Staples…

Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, game seven goes to the Los Angeles Lakers!

No one thinks: this is a hockey rink.

Chris Lamberth: That in fact, underneath the hardwood, they still have the ice down for the Kings.

Chris Lamberth designs sports arenas at 360 Architecture. He says the basketball floor and the best rows of seats sit on top of the ice. You know the walls hockey players crash into, the dasher boards?

Lamberth: Look down towards those last 10 rows, you’ll still see those dasher boards.

They stay in place. That helps Staples flip from wood to ice in about two hours. So two sports can play the same day — as they’ll do this weekend. Even when it’s two basketball teams back-to-back, it’d be a squeeze to swap the signs and clean the arena in time. But two sold out crowds a day? Stadium owners worldwide salivate at the prospect.

Lamberth: An ability to host many events in a tight turn will really maximize the profits for these venues.

The trend has been one team, one arena. Then, in the off season, cities use the stadium for conventions or monster truck rallies.

Sports economist Dan Rascher says pro sports bring in way more than those one-off events.

Dan Rascher: That’s been part of the push of the local governments, to say: Hey, why do we want to build two different facilities? Let’s build one.

Sports arenas are getting more expensive — all those luxury boxes. Two games a day can help pay for a new stadium twice as fast.

I’m Eve Troeh for Marketplace.

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