It is the time of the year when we ponder what to expect as we desperately try to forget the year that is drawing to a close.
On the technical side, some things stayed the same – Microsoft treated its customers badly, for example – and some things were dazzling new dawns.
You sure are into crypto, right? How could you not be It is the future of money and finance. Or at least speculation.
So it was certainly not surprising that the home of a thousand facelifts – and the Los Angeles Lakers – recently decided to set up shop with a crypto company.
If you’ve been too busy creating your next disappearing NFT artwork, you might not have known that the arena currently known as the Staples Center is soon to become the Crypto.com arena.
If this doesn’t signal a bright future for an aging team, I’m not sure what it will do.
Crypto.com is spending $ 700 million over 20 years so its name is unlikely to be pronounced by too many people. When sports venues change sponsors, it’s hard to adapt. Many San Franciscans still know the Giants home as Pac Bell instead of, wait, what is it now, oh, Oracle Park.
However, tech companies seem desperate to associate themselves with exercise because it makes them feel more exciting than they really are.
They also hope that associating their name with sports signals to a wider range of sentiments that their brand is forward-looking.
I was therefore touched to hear some of the more deliberate thoughts emanating from Crypto.com’s CMO Steven Kalifowitz.
In conversation with the Athletic, Kalifowitz offered invigorating realism, sprinkled with a slight insult to the tech’s past.
He claimed it wasn’t too bothersome when people refuse to utter the words “Crypto.com Arena”. In one great moment, he even hinted that this whole naming thing wasn’t that big after all.
“The Staples Center is not that old. The namesake, I don’t know if he’s still in business, ”he mused.
Oh, that’s mean and cutting.
The place where you used to buy your office equipment is still in business, but somehow less relevant than the joys of cryptocurrency, for example. At least, Crypto.com believes.
And really, who can keep up with all the sports arenas that are suddenly taking the names of upstart? Aren’t you almost nostalgic for Enron Field? Or the Jobing.com arena? (The latter was once the name of the NHL’s small hiding place for the Arizona Coyotes.)
Then what on earth is Crypto.com doing this for? “Global consciousness,” it seems, even though people may not pronounce the name right away.
Then there is the idea of solidity. In the words of Kalifowitz: “A big part of the strategy is, ‘How do we communicate that the industry is going nowhere and we are going nowhere? Building.”
It’s a quirky – and right now smart – idea that people would believe your brand is solid and durable by putting your name on something solid and lasting. Even if history suggests that it is actually about fluff, bunkers and bilge.
The crypto folks want you to believe that they are the real future, so what better way than to attach yourself to something that has managed to persist in people’s hearts?
Of course I have thoughts.
Crypto.com Arena is a awkward name. It therefore needs a nickname. What could be nicer than The Crypt?
A moribund team – Disclosure: Golden State Warriors fan – in an aging arena desperately trying to make itself look younger by clinging to the new, the new.
ESPN‘s Sports Center would certainly feel more comfortable if it started the highlights with: “Tonight in the Crypt, LeBron had another tough night of shooting. And moaned a lot.”
I have a major marketing battle, however.
I thought the dotcom era came to an end with the addition of the word dotcom to your brand name. But here is a supposed company of tomorrow that Dotcom beats on itself and a famous building.
Doesn’t that feel like the bubble is back?