Tag Archives: Staples Center

Populous Moves to the West Coast

26 Sep

Deal: Populous and Dan Meis Architects

Date: Sept. 22

Comments: Architecture giant Populous is opening a West Coast office and has hired Dan Meis to helm the operation.

While with firm NBBJ, Meis designed the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and his practice, Meis Architects, is responsible for designing a yet-to-be-built $600 million stadium in Eastern Los Angeles that could potentially serve as the home of a relocated NFL franchise (or two).

He brings that project to Populous, where he joins the firm as senior principal, along with a soccer stadium in Doha, Qatar, that will be built in hopes of luring the World Cup in 2022.

“I’ve competed with HOK (the company’s former name) for a long time and I was really intrigued by its repositioning” 18 months ago, he said. “They understand that it’s really about creating places where people want to be and focusing on environments that people want to visit. It puts a new meaning on what it means to be a designer of these facilities.”

He plans to open the L.A. office in either Santa Monica or Venice Beach, and retain his practice’s “funky, West Coast vibe” with surfboards on the wall and the occasional dog hanging out in the office.

X-Games 16 Takes Downtown L.A. Center Stage

4 Aug

Vert Ramp inside of the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live (Photo Credit: Samantha Le)

Downtown Los Angeles was the site of a more-compact, event-centric X-Games, with the weeklong extreme sports showcase taking place at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, and the L.A. Live campus, which includes the Staples Center and the Nokia Theatre.

Unlike past games, with racing events near Long Beach, Calif., at the Home Depot Center, this year’s motocross event was moved to the much larger coliseum. The event drew 25,680 on Thursday for motocross, and 32,100 on Saturday for a rally car event — successful draws according to ESPN Michael Pandolfo, who coordinates the network’s dirt events.

“The Coliseum is a huge facility with 90,000 seats, so even though 30,000 is a huge crowd for us, they kind of get swallowed up in there,” he said.

Crews began their move-in July 12 with scaffolding, and the dirt started coming in  July 20. It took four days to unload the dirt, and it will likely take a week to pack it out. Pandolfo said that the Coliseum’s field was actually smaller than the soccer pitch at the Home Depot Center. Because of space considerations, the ESPN crew had to build part of the Big Air Ramp into the seating section, which gave their field architects less room to work the rally car course.

“One of the biggest challenges was having a non-dirt competition on dirt,” he said. “That ramp has to be cleaned and protected against dust and outdoor elements.”

Pandolfo said his office has a team of 30 full-time staff, but credentialed 17,000 people for the event, many working in hospitality.

“There were a lot of people working that thing,” he said. “My office has 1,000 radios and we quickly ran out.”

Going from the 27,000-cap Home Depot center to the Coliseum meant that Saturday’s event could be upgraded from mini-rally to super rally. Another first was building a vert-ramp inside the Nokia Theatre for skateboarding and BMX half-pipe competitions with fans enjoying a straight-ahead view. L.A. Live’s parking garage was converted into a concrete street course for free-style skateboarding and BMX riding. Athletes from both events requested that both courses be changed to a more realistic surface — for years the skaters competed on a wood course. Inside the Staples Center were freestyle motocross events like Step Up and Best Trick.

“Our goal was to get it to fit in one spot as much as possible,” said Lee Zeidman, Senior VP and General Manager for Staples Center and Nokia Theatre L.A. Live.

Zeidman said this year AEG did a co-promote with ESPN on many of the ticketed events and was still running the numbers to see if the X-Games were a break-even proposition. In 2008, ESPN opened their West Coast Studios at L.A. Live.

“Regardless, the payoff is that for 26 of the 31 hours the event was on TV, we got to showcase both L.A. Live and downtown L.A.”

Next year, he said he hopes to tie in more entertainment around the X-Games, including post event concerts and after parties. — Dave Brooks

Interviewed for this article: Mike Pandolfo, (213) 276-2706; Lee Zeidman, (213) 742-7255

5 Lessons from today’s NBA Finals Media Day

3 Jun

By Dave Brooks

The international media descended on the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Wednesday, subjecting players from both the Lakers and the Celtics to a frenzied search for deeper meaning and easily compressible story-lines.

For a newcomer, Media Day can be scary and nerve-wrecking for the newbie reporter. Yes, this was my first year attending a pro sports media day, but I quickly picked up a few rules and bits of advice to help future journalists. Help me, to help you help yourself.

Tip 1: Learn the narrative

Every series has its own dramatic undertones. Lakers versus Celtics basically explains itself. So when you’re sitting there, interviewing Jordan Farmer or Nate Robinson, you can always rely on a generic question like “What’s it like to be participating in such a famous championship rivalry?” They will undoubtedly tell you that they don’t worry about past series, “and they’re just focused on winning right now.” That’s just an invitation to ask the same question, just worded differently. Pause, then say something like “What’s the history of these two teams mean to you?”

Tip 2: Avoid being part of the comedy show

At all one of these events, there’s some idiot trying to ask ridiculous questions for his TV show. In this case, it was Guillermo from Jimmy Kimmel asking Ron Artest if he wanted to go see Sex and the City II with him. Ok, yes, that is pretty funny. But try not to have any part of this freak show. Smile politely, even awkwardly, when Guillermo asks Rasheed Wallace to hold his microphone because his hand is getting tired. Nothing good can come from this for you.

Tip 3: Identify the good guys and the bad guys

By bad guys, we mean the players who outwardly hate reporters for a whole swath of reasons. By good guys, we mean players like Big Baby Davis and Derek Fisher, who can’t help but be nice, even though they probably secretly hate you too. Well not you in particular. Just the idea of you. Ron Artest really has nothing nice to say to the media, while Kevin Garnett likes to answer complex questions with as few words as possible. Here’s how most of Garnett’s interview went:

Reporter 1: Do you think you guys need to out muscle the Lakers in this series?

Garnett: I think we need to beat them in the series.

Reporter 2: What’s the hardest part of the Finals?

Garnett: Doing these interviews.

Reporter 3: How do your big men stack up against the Laker’s big men?

Garnett: They’re both tall.

Reporter 4: What’s your strategy going in to Game 1, knowing that you’re on the road?

Garnett: Our strategy is to win.

That’s a lot of material there in those four answers. Maybe a long feature, maybe a series of romance novels.

Tip 4: Reporters are treated equal, but some are just more equal

Media Day is the one time when the LA Time’s Bill Plaschke is treated the same as a reporter from a coupon book. All the reporters are unleashed at the same time, and on media days, contacts and networking doesn’t really matter. If you can shove your way to the front of the booth and stick a microphone in Lamar Odom’s face and ask (for the 10th time) if Khloe Kardashian is pregnant, then you might as well call yourself J.A. Adande and book a spot on Pardon the Interruption.

Tip 5 Associate with foreign media

Ok, I’m not going to give away all the secrets to scoring a press pass to the Finals, but if you’re associated with a foreign news agency, especially one from a giant Asian country, then you’re golden. NBA Commissioner David Stern is obsessed with making basketball an international game, so really any foreign media outlet will get an approval. The kid next to me was a student at Devry, but he had some family ties to a newspaper in Indonesia. That’s at least worth a spot in the press box.