Kings, Lakers, Clippers, Amgen Tour to draw crowds at Staples Center
DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Depending on whether you're a sports fan or not, downtown Los Angeles will either be the place to be, or the place to avoid this weekend. The Lakers, Clippers and Kings all have playoff games. Throw in a bike race and a trade show, and downtown could become paralyzed by gridlock.
It is expected to be an unprecedented busy four days for the Staples Center as six playoff games will take place from Thursday to Sunday.
The final stage of the Amgen Tour of California cycling road race also finishes up in the area on Sunday. The end of the 8-day, 750-mile tour ends right in front of Staples Center. Several streets will be closed. Pedestrian bridges have been set up, and there will be free shuttle service from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to the Staples Center that day.
Also adding to the congestion on the last day of the sporting events is the "Nissan Ride Before the Pros." From 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., anyone in the general public who has a bicycle can participate in a 5-mile bike ride on the same downtown course that the professional riders will be on later.
The thousands of fans expected means a 25 to 35 percent boost for local businesses, which is much needed after the hit from the NBA lockout earlier in the season.
The Kings game starts at noon Sunday, but doors will open to hockey fans as early as 9 a.m. to help ease traffic and crowds. Staples Center General Manager Lee Zeidman said free coffee and donuts will be offered from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. He also advised visitors to park north of the Staples Center to avoid the bike race.
In a twist to the already hectic schedule, if the Kings win on Sunday, an hour-long trophy celebration will take place, and the Clippers game will likely start late.
If the Kings go into overtime, the Clippers game will likely start late. If the Kings go into multiple overtimes, there could be 20,000 hockey fans leaving Staples Center, and 20,000 basketball fans trying to get in.
At a press conference on Thursday, officials encouraged the public to plan ahead, arrive early and use public transportation.
"(Public transportation) is a great alternative to get into downtown Los Angeles this weekend," said MTA official Bruce Shelburne.
But for any fans who do plan on driving, officials are asking those wanting to see the bicycle race to park to the south of the Staples Center. Anyone going to see the King or the Clippers should park to the north. Full Weekend Schedule:
- Thursday, May 17 at 6 p.m. - Kings vs. Phoenix Coyotes (Game 3)
- Friday, May 18 at 7:30 p.m. - Lakers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (Game 3)
- Saturday, May 19 at 12:30 p.m. - Clippers vs. San Antonio Spurs (Game 3)
- Saturday, May 19 at 7:30 p.m. - Lakers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (Game 4)
- Sunday, May 20 (from 10:10 a.m. -11:45 a.m. - Amgen Tour of California (beginning on Rodeo Drive and entering downtown 5-mile circuit at approximately 10:35 a.m.)
- Sunday, May 20 from 8 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. - "Nissan Ride Before the Pros" (taking place on a closed 5-mile course from Temple and Spring streets to Staples Center)
- Sunday, May 20 at 12 p.m. - Kings vs Phoenix Coyotes (Game 4)
- Sunday, May 20 at 7:30 p.m. - Clippers vs. San Antonio Spurs
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