After announcing the purchase of The Forum arena from James Dolan and Madison Square Garden in March, the Los Angeles Clippers made the deal official Monday afternoon. Clippers owner Steve Ballmer bought the former home of the Los Angeles Lakers for $400 million in cash, ending a legal standoff with Dolan. Ballmer has long sought a new arena for his team, which will now be built in Inglewood across the way from where the Forum currently stands.
The Forum will remain a music and event venue, with employees answering to the Clippers president of business operations Gillian Zucker. In a statement Monday, Zucker talked about the excitement of continuing the legacy of The Forum in Los Angeles.
"We are excited to welcome The Forum to our family. The talented team at The Forum has created a world-class entertainment venue, and we are committed to building upon that reputation," Zucker said. "Have The Forum just a short distance from the L.A. Clippers' new arena will give us the opportunity to provide the city of Inglewood with a number of benefits, including a collaborative approach to managing traffic and community activities."
Dolan contested Ballmer's plans to build a new arena close to The Forum, claiming that he agreed to give up the land on which the new arena would be built under false pretenses. A new arena in Inglewood stood to vastly cut into The Forum's concert and event business, even with Ballmer planning to continue running The Forum as a music and event venue. In his statement, Ballmer shared his excitement about his team's future in Inglewood.
"This is an unprecedented time, but we believe in our collective future," Ballmer said. "We are committed to our investment in the City of Inglewood, which will be good for the community, the Clippers, and our fans."
This new Clippers arena stands to benefit the team in a variety of ways. Not only will it be a cash cow for the team through gameday and event revenue, but the team plans to build an entire complex on the property that will also house a practice facility and team offices. The arena will hold 18,000 seats, and public hearings for the construction of the arena are expected to happen this summer. The complex will be funded entirely privately by Ballmer, and with Sofi Stadium also coming to Inglewood to house the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers, the area figures to be a major hub for retail and tourism in the near future.
Since 1999, the Clippers shared the Staples Center with the Lakers and NHL's Los Angeles Kings, but have long been treated as the building's third tenant. They receive worse arena dates and less revenue from events taking place in the building, and it's not hard to see why. Staples Center is owned by AEG, which owns the Kings and are minority owners of the Lakers.
The Clippers are currently in the middle of a 10-year lease that expires after the 2023-24 season. They would then move into their new arena for the 2024-25 season, though if construction faced delays, ownership of The Forum would theoretically provide an alternative to Staples Center if one is needed. Whether on schedule or not, the Clippers are finally getting an arena all their own, a major step in Ballmer's plan to turning the Clippers into legitimate rivals for the Lakers both on and off of the court.