Staples Center employees are working overtime to remove the advertising banners of the corporate sponsors that the Los Angeles Clippers have lost in the wake of owner Donald Sterling’s racist remarks, with the sponsors demanding that their names and logos be taken down and out of sight prior to the team’s Tuesday night home playoff game. We’ve been told by a source that arena employees were informed today that they must put in whatever extra hours required in order to make the transformation happen before attendees are allowed into the game-five matchup between the Clippers and the Golden State Warriors.
In the past forty-eight hours the Clippers have lost longtime sponsors ranging from State Farm to Amtrak and others, all of whom have cited Sterling’s remarks as the reason for their decision to distance themselves from the team. But the decision to immediately remove all sponsor logos from the Staples Center suggests that the brands involved are so concerned about being associated with Sterling that they don’t want their logos anywhere near Tuesday’s game. That’s a more severe reaction than if sponsors had simply decided to end their relationship and have their banners taken down at the end of the playoffs.
It’s not yet clear how players or fans will respond at Tuesday’s game, which will be the first Clippers home game since the remarks went public. The Clippers did play a road game in Oakland over the weekend, and every Clippers player declined to wear the team logo while going through warm-ups. The players could be planning for further protest at their home arena, while fans could either organize a protest of their own or decline to show up at all. In any case, those fans who do show up won’t be seeing the usual corporate sponsor banners around the building.