Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is buying the Forum for US$400 million, ending the billionaire’s legal fight with Madison Square Garden Co (MSG) and clearing the way to build a new arena for his NBA team down the street in Inglewood, California.
Ballmer on Tuesday announced his cash purchase of the venerated arena.
Ballmer, a former Microsoft executive, and Clippers vice chairman Dennis Wong are making the transaction through CAPSS LLC, a newly formed entity that would continue to operate the Forum as a live music venue.
“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.”
Apparently fearing competition for concerts and other big events, MSG has been aggressively attempting to thwart Ballmer’s desire to build a state-of-the-art, 18,000-seat home for the Clippers just a few blocks down Prairie Avenue from the Forum. The two arenas would be separated only by the lavish SoFi Stadium complex being built by Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke.
MSG, which bought the Forum for a reported US$23.5 million in 2012, has sued the Inglewood City Government, California Governor Gavin Newsom and the California State Legislature in its various attempts to slow the approval process for Ballmer’s privately financed arena project, which is undergoing an environmental review.
The Forum purchase abruptly wraps up the litigation fight and allows the Clippers to move ahead on their goal to open a new arena when their Staples Center lease expires in 2024. The Clippers share the downtown arena with the Los Angeles Lakers and the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings.
Ballmer wants to build a US$1.2 billion arena on 11.3 hectares of land just south of the SoFi Stadium complex. The addition of the Clippers’ new project would put four significant arenas — SoFi Stadium contains a 6,000-seat performance venue in addition to the main football stadium — within 1.6km of each other on Prairie Avenue.
Ballmer said that the Forum and the Clippers’ new arena would be able to coordinate event schedules while under the same ownership, mitigating the effects of so many people in such a small area of the Los Angeles suburbs.
Chris Meany, a principal in the development company overseeing the Clippers’ new arena project, acknowledged the importance of traffic management in the deal.
“While we have gone to great lengths to provide an unprecedented traffic management plan for the new basketball arena, this acquisition provides a much greater ability to coordinate and avoid scheduling events at the same time at both venues,” Meany said.
MSG revitalized the “Fabulous Forum,” which had fallen into disuse after the Lakers and Kings left for Staples Center in 1999. The building was famously home to the glitzy “Showtime” Lakers, who won five championships and reached eight NBA Finals during the 1980s.
Kobe Bryant began his 20-year Lakers career in the arena.
MSG reportedly spent US$50 million on renovations to the arena and reopened it, as a well-regarded venue primarily used for major concerts and combat sports.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker found himself in need of an assist to help the state fight the COVID-19 pandemic. He called on the New England Patriots. One of the team’s private airplanes on Thursday evening landed in Boston after returning from China carrying more than 1 million masks critical to healthcare providers fighting to control the spread of the coronavirus. Members of the Massachusetts National Guard met the airplane and offloaded the containers of masks onto waiting trucks for transport to warehouses for distribution. Baker secured the N95 masks from Chinese manufacturers, but had no way of getting them to the US. He
WAIT AND SEE: The estimated cost of postponement started at US$2 billion and has kept rising, but the IOC has yet to say whether it would help pay for the extra expenses Postponing the Tokyo Olympics to next year would make the event more costly for all parties, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) acknowledged on Thursday, although it offered few details on what the final bill might be. Four directors of the Olympic body held a conference call three days after Tokyo’s new dates were finalized, with the Games pushed back to July 23 to Aug. 8 next year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the new dates cleared up any uncertainty about the event’s future, there are still plenty of question marks as the committee begins to work with Tokyo organizers and the
DECREASED TENSION: The US players’ lawyers said that the soccer federation no longer disputes that the jobs of the women’s and men’s national teams require equal skill Women players suing the US Soccer Federation (USSF) said in in court documents filed on Tuesday that the federation has acknowledged that the jobs of male and female soccer players require equal skill. The language seemed to signal a decrease in tension between the parties after language in documents filed by the federation’s lawyers earlier last month provoked widespread outrage in saying that playing on the men’s national team required a higher level of skill based on speed and strength and carried greater responsibility. The fierce backlash — not only from the women players, but also from sponsors such as Coca-Cola —
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are planning to play a charity golf match next month with Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, CNBC reported on Wednesday. CNBC, which cited an unnamed person familiar with the negotiations, said that the charity match would be held at an undisclosed location without fans and is being organized by the PGA Tour and AT&T’s WarnerMedia. The negotiations are still being finalized, but the match pitting 15-time major champion Woods and Manning against five-time major winner Mickelson and Brady could be aired on live TV and is unlikely to be featured on pay-per-view, CNBC said. “Discussions