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.
SWEEP THE LEG: Poirier, determined to best McGregor, after losing to him in 2014, used low calf kicks to throw ‘Notorious’ off his stand-up game, before dropping him American underdog Dustin Poirier yesterday shook up the world of mixed martial arts, beating up the legs of Irish superstar Conor McGregor before knocking him out at UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi. “I’m happy, but I’m not surprised. I put in the work,” Poirier said, after the referee stepped in after 2 minutes, 32 seconds of the second round to save McGregor from further damage, after he was dropped by a fierce combination of punches. The 32-year-old Poirier was ranked second in the flyweight division going into the fight, but still rated a heavy underdog by bookmakers to beat his fourth-ranked opponent,
World No. 1 Tai Tzu-ying yesterday eased past her Thai opponent to advance to the second round of the Toyota Thailand Open. The Taiwanese star toppled world No. 46 Supanida Katethong 21-16, 21-11 in 29 minutes at the Impact Arena in Bangkok. “I think I played OK today. I am feeling a little better than last week,” Tai said. Tomorrow, Tai faces Indonesia’s Gregoria Mariska Tunjung. The two have faced each other six times, with Tai beating the world No. 21 in all six matches. Tai on Sunday reached the final of the Yonex Thailand Open before losing decisively against Carolina Marin of Spain.
LOOKING TO REPEAT: World No. 7 Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin advanced to the round-of-16 at the Toyota Thailand Open, after winning the Yonex Thailand Open on Sunday Taiwan’s world No. 7 duo yesterday eased past the US’ world No. 37 pairing at the Toyota Thailand Open to reach the round-of-16 in Bangkok. Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin beat Phillip Chew and Ryan Chew 21-14, 21-11 in just 24 minutes. Lee and Wang, who won the men’s doubles title at the Yonex Thailand Open on Sunday, next face the world No. 34 pairing, Canada’s Jason Anthony Ho-Shue and Nyl Yakura. In men’s singles, Taiwan’s world No. 2 Chou Tien-chen again beat Thailand’s world No. 45 Suppanyu Avihingsanon, after edging past the Thai player in the opening round of the Yonex
Three new COVID-19 cases yesterday hit the Australian Open’s troubled buildup as a backlash grew against international tennis players flown in during a raging pandemic. Two of the new cases were players, state health officials said, taking the total infections to seven since more than 1,000 people arrived in largely COVID-19-free Australia on charter flights last week. The Victoria Department of Health and Human Services said that the two players and a third person associated with the tournament — a woman in her 20s, and two men in their 30s — had returned positive results. The year’s first Grand Slam, delayed three weeks,