AEG says LA Live visitors should not gather outside during the Kings' Stanley Cup games
Kings fans leave Staples Center after Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday. (Tony Pierce/Blogdowntown)
DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES — An AEG official told Kings fans today that if they plan to come to L.A. Live during any future Stanley Cup games, they should either watch inside one of the complex’s 13 restaurants or have a ticket to Game 6, should the series go that far.
AEG Vice President of Communications, Michael Roth, told Blogdowntown that the plaza will have “some spots to socialize,” but he encouraged hockey fans to either watch the game at home, or patronize one of the eateries at L.A. Live.
“This is such an exciting moment for L.A. sports that if you’re not in one of the restaurants, no matter what you’re coming Downtown for – you shouldn’t. You should go home and watch the game,” Roth said.
KPCC spoke with Kings fans at L.A. Live last night who were upset that there was no area in the plaza for them to watch the game and subsequently told to leave by LAPD officers.
Police Chief Charlie Beck told reporters Wednesday that the game would not be shown on the giant L.A. Live screens, nor would crowds be allowed to gather outdoors.
LAPD Public Information Officer, Cleon Joseph, would not discuss when the decision to vacate the plaza was made, but he said such actions are only made “if there’s a safety issue” taking place.
Roth explained why he thought the decision to vacate the open-air space was necessary.
“As we were nearing the end of the first period and all the restaurants were full and had lines … anyone else in the plaza would not have been able to watch the game … There was never an opportunity for them to watch in the plaza,” Roth said. “We also had to clear some of the elements in the street in the plaza from the fan fest and it was a safer way of doing it.”
In addition to the Kings game at Staples Center, both the L.A. Convention Center and Nokia Theatre were hosting events affiliated with the massive E3 Video Game Conference, which ends Thursday. Roth said AEG was concerned about the safety and comfort of fans leaving those three venues.
“When the game is over, you have 20,000 people coming outside of Staples Center, 5,000 people coming out of Nokia Theatre, a full Convention Center and conference going on, and we felt for the comfort of fans it was better that we have all that space available for them to come out and continue to celebrate a Kings victory,” Roth said.
AEG also organized a beer garden as part of the pre-game festival, but Roth said the company didn’t feel it was a suitable location for fans without tickets to watch the games.
“We didn’t feel that it was appropriate for people just to sit in the beer garden and drink all night,” Roth said.
Roth said that NBC and the NHL would have to approve mass viewing parties, such as those thrown at Staples Center for past Lakers' road playoff games, and said he didn't know if Kings officials are trying to organize such an event at Club Nokia, which currently has no events listed on its website’s calendar on Saturday or Monday. Staples Center would be unavailable for Saturday's game due to a Van Halen concert.
Representatives from the Kings and NBC Sports could not be reached to answer whether or not such permission was sought for Game 4 or for any future Finals games.
If AEG achieves its goal of building Farmers Field and bringing NFL football to Downtown L.A. in 2016, it is promising a redesigned space ready to accommodate 15,000 tailgaters. Roth said he expected the area to work differently in terms of crowd control in the future but noted it was too early to provide specifics.
“There will be other areas where people are enjoying their afternoons … It’s hard to really speculate right now, because we don’t know what the policies are going to be for any of the spaces Downtown for football,” Roth said.