After years of lawsuits and negotiations, Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer cleared the way for his long-desired new arena.
The Clippers announced Tuesday that Ballmer’s newly formed CAPSS LLC reached an agreement with The Madison Square Garden Company to purchase The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., for $400 million in cash. The deal brings to an end the years of litigation between the sides over the Clippers’ plans for a new arena in the area.
There have been three lawsuits surrounding the issue, including one addressing the city’s agreement to not promote The Forum’s competition, and another in which Knicks owner and MSG CEO James Dolan accused the city of Inglewood of doing an under-the-table deal with Ballmer.
According to a news release issued by the Clippers on Tuesday, The Forum will remain a music-only venue, even after the team’s new home arena is complete.
“This is an unprecedented time, but we believe in our collective future,” Ballmer said in the release. “We are committed to our investment in the City of Inglewood, which will be good for the community, the Clippers, and our fans.”
Ballmer is looking to build an 18,000-seat arena that will serve as the Clippers’ home arena and team headquarters while also including a community center. The team hopes owning both buildings will ease traffic in the area by coordinating schedules between the two venues.
The area, which once was home to the Lakers and the NHL’s Kings (The Forum) along with Hollywood Park racetrack (now closed) but hasn’t hosted major sports in two decades, will once again be a sporting destination with SoFi Stadium sitting just north of the Clippers’ planned arena.
SoFi Stadium is the new home of the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers, and is scheduled to open later this year. The Clippers’ lease at Staples Center expires in 2023-24, and the team reportedly wants the Inglewood arena to be ready to host games the following season.
Ballmer, who turned 64 on Tuesday, is the league’s wealthiest owner. He has emphasized investing heavily in the franchise and its facilities — a stark contrast to previous owner Donald Sterling — since he bought it for $2 billion in 2014.
The agreement, which is expected to close within the next three months per the release, will extend all MSG employees currently working at The Forum offers to work for the new owner.
According to the press release, the Clippers’ new arena will generate around 7,500 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs after the complex opens. The Clippers also are proposing a $100 million package of “community benefits.”