By Don Simkovich (Special to LAKings.com) and Doug Ward
Kirk Waldron is a Los Angeles native and lifelong hockey fan who has held season tickets to the Los Angeles Kings for 10 years. He likes the entertainment value and leverages the package for business networking.
"Number one, I use the tickets as a night of entertainment for me and my wife," said Kirk who is the chief financial officer for Classic Party Rentals. "We'll make a night of going to the game with dinner either before or after at STAPLES Center or around LA LIVE. Business networking becomes an added bonus."
Kirk's hockey loyalties extend back to when the Kings competed at the Great Western Forum and he says there's no comparison to STAPLES Center as a venue. "I was back at the Forum for a concert a couple of years ago and I realized how the STAPLES Center has a much better design. It has a superior crowd flow, arrangement of aisles and seating plan."
He's noticed another difference that he says is positive for the Kings and the sport of hockey in Los Angeles.
"At the Forum, you'd almost never see kids at the games. I have three children and the STAPLES Center is a fun venue for them. There's a lot of entertainment going on off the ice. That may seem sacrilegious to the pure hockey fan but it attracts youth and I see that as a positive development."
Waldron is also a Crown Club Season Ticket Member…
Brett Ellen, who serves as President of the Crown Club Advisory Board, would like members to relive the bygone glory of the Forum Club, a place where L.A.’s movers and shakers would mix their love of sports with their drive for success in the business world. When the Kings called Inglewood home, the Forum Club had a reputation as the place to see and be seen. Ellen believes the Crown Club can be all that and more.
“We want to make the Crown Club the most unbelievable experience possible,” said Ellen, whose regular gig is as President and CEO of American Financial Network. “The idea behind the Crown Club is to make it an even better experience than the Forum Club. There is an eliteness that goes with it.”
Before the Kings moved downtown to STAPLES Center, the Forum Club was the only option for pre and post-game meeting, greeting, and eating. The advent of LA LIVE has made every game a happening, and Ellen sees the Crown Club as an extension of that.
“A Kings game is an event,” Ellen said. “People want entertainment value. They want an opportunity to meet other people and do business together and the Crown Club provides that opportunity.”
Crown Club membership features four season seats near the glass, parking adjacent to the arena with the option for valet service, and membership to private areas of STAPLES Center including the Lexus Club. With membership capped at 200, the Crown Club isn’t for everyone. But Ellen said those that do join will find themselves in elite company.
“It’s for people who are affluent and passionate about the Kings,” Ellen said. “People want to work with people who have common interests. There are networking opportunities; there is entertainment value and business value combined.”
The Crown Club also offers entry to the elite enclaves of STAPLES Center, including the four suites that have been converted into an outlet of Hyde Lounge, one of Hollywood’s most exclusive clubs. There are also after-parties following every Saturday game at the Lexus Club and other areas on the LA Live campus. And these are no ordinary meet-and-greets; the get-togethers include visits from Kings players.
“One of the great things about hockey players is that they are down-to-earth and approachable,” Ellen said. “That’s one of the great values of the Crown Club. You can meet players after the game.”
Members can mix business with pleasure by conducting client meetings at STAPLES Center, and a concierge is available to cater to a member’s every whim.
“The concierge service alone is worth what you spend on two seats,” said Ellen. “They take great care of you.”
Ultimately, what the Crown Club offers is access - to people, players, and opportunity.
“The Crown Club is 200 of the most influential people in Los Angeles coming together to enjoy Kings hockey, network and talk business,” Ellen said.