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Four straight days of playoff action at Staples Center mean a huge boom in downtown business. Beverly White reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. Thursday, May 8, 2014.
Thursday night kicked off four straight days of playoffs action at the Staples Center, and with it, four straight days of potentially heavy traffic to nearby L.A. Live businesses.
The Staples Center, located across the street from the L.A. Live entertainment complex, is the only arena in North America that is currently hosting both NBA and NHL playoff games – the LA Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder series as well as the LA Kings and Anaheim Ducks series.
"Tonight we have Kings. Tomorrow night we have the Clippers. Saturday night back at 6:30 with the Kings. And then a Mother’s Day matinee with the Clippers at 12:30," Staples Center VP and General Manager Lee Zeidman Sr. said Thursday night.
Immediately after one game, an operations crew works to convert the arena from ice to hardwood, and vice-versa.
According to Zeidman, more than 70,000 fans will fill the arena over the four day period, and more fans and tourists are expected in the surrounding L.A. Live area.
NBC4 spoke with a hockey fan and his niece outside Staples Center Thursday. The Uncle is a Ducks fan and his niece is a Kings fan.
"If I would have been here and not in the Army, I would have raised her right and she would have been a Ducks fan! But, I bring her to as many games as I can," Sam Amerine said.
Both the Kings and Clippers are hosting free pre-game Fan Fests outside Staples Center and at nearby Nokia Plaza, which consist of interactive games, giveaways and a beer garden.
"It's been great," tourist Jannette Montgomery said of the outdoor Kings Fan Fest, which her family considered a pleasant surprise. "This is our first day in Los Angeles."
In addition to more foot traffic and in turn more business for local restaurants, nearby hotels such as the JW Marriott and the Ritz-Carlton could benefit as fans from Oklahoma City are expected to attend the Friday and Sunday games against the Clippers.