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Swift’s banner down, but not out
Taylor Swift’s banner will be displayed again at Staples Center in 2021.
Lakers fans used to tease Clippers fans that Taylor Swift had more banners – one – hanging at Staples Center than the Clippers did. Now the star-crossed franchise and pop star singer have the same amount – zero.
While the Clippers are one of the favorites to win the NBA title this season and could hang their own banner one day, Swift’s banner is not totally gone and will be displayed next year in a different location.
To make room for the Lakers’ most recent championship banner – the franchise’s 17th title – Staples Center removed Swift’s banner commemorating her having the arena’s most sold out performances.
Swift’s banner, which was presented to her by Kobe Bryant on Aug. 21, 2015 after her 16th sold out show, is currently folded up and sitting in a storage unit inside of Staples Center. It could one day hang in the arena bowl again but will most likely be displayed in the concourse of Staples Center next year before it is safe for fans to come back.
“We took the Taylor Swift banner temporarily down and we are actively looking for a place to put it within the arena,” Lee Zeidman, president of Staples Center, Microsoft Theater and L.A. Live exclusively told The Morning Column. “I can’t tell you if it’s going to be in the bowl of the arena or in the concourse of the arena where people can actually pony up to it and take photos of themselves with the banner but we will display it again somewhere, at some point when fans can return”
Multiples sources have told The Morning Column that the hope is to create an interactive display for fans on the concourse of Staples Center that not only includes Swift’s banner but also celebrates her 16 sold out shows and the night Bryant joined her on stage to unveil her banner.
“Our goal is to honor Taylor and give the fans of Taylor Swift an opportunity to take photos with that banner and take photos with some kind of display within the building moving forward,” Zeidman said. “She’s a big part of the building’s history.”
Swift’s banner was not universally welcome by all the teams that play at Staples Center after it was unveiled. While it was visible during Lakers and Sparks games, the Clippers hung up photos that covered the entire south end while the Kings began covering her banner last season. Many Kings fans viewed the banner as a jinx. After winning the Stanley Cup in 2012 and 2014 and playing in three straight conference finals, the Kings have failed to win a playoff series since Swift’s banner went up and were one of the worst teams in the league the last two seasons.
“The connection to our fans is our highest priority and through our engagement they have made it clear that the banner shouldn’t be a part of their Kings game experience,” Michael Altieri, senior vice president of marketing, communications and content for the Kings and AEG Sports said last year. “We didn’t see an issue in covering it for our games and in fact see it as an opportunity to show our fans that we hear them.”
After the Lakers won their most recent championship in October, Zeidman contacted Lakers president of business operations Tim Harris and sent him photos of the south end of Staples Center where the Lakers and Sparks’ championship banners and retired jerseys, as well as Swift’s banner, hung.
“As we looked at the south end of the building, we knew we needed to come up with another place to put a Lakers championship banner so we shifted everything over,” Zeidman said. “I said, I understand there’s another banner that needs to be added and we believe there’s another opportunity for a banner or two after that.
“Here’s our plan: We are willing to move the Taylor Swift banner. We don’t know where we’re going to put it yet but we believe it’s going to go somewhere in the bowl or in the concourse where we will make a special display for Taylor. We’re going to move the Sparks banners and jerseys over one bay, which would allow you to determine how you want to put up the championship banners. The Lakers came back and said they would like to move the Minneapolis banner over and put the most recent banner below the last one but they did not want to unveil it until fans can come back.”
Zeidman said he is open to hearing from fans on Twitter on what will be the future home of Swift’s banner. He’s even willing to listen to Kings fans, who never warmed up to sharing the rafters with her.
“As it relates to any kind of jinx, everybody’s superstitious,” he said. “I get it but Taylor Swift is still an integral part of our building, our history and we’re going to look for a place to honor her within Staples Center next year.”