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.
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 —
A businessman who received millions of dollars for his work on Tokyo’s successful campaign to host the 2020 Olympic Games has said that he played a key role in securing the support of a former Olympics powerbroker suspected by French prosecutors of taking bribes to help Japan’s bid. Haruyuki Takahashi, a former executive at the advertising agency Dentsu, was paid US$8.2 million by the committee that spearheaded Tokyo’s bid for the 2020 Games, financial records showed. Takahashi said the work included lobbying International Olympic Committee (IOC) members such as Lamine Diack, the ex-Olympics powerbroker, and that he gave Diack gifts, including digital
If British industry succeeds in saving lives during the COVID-19 pandemic, it would in part be thanks to the pioneering role played by Formula One (F1) racing teams in the country. Seven of F1’s 10 teams have joined forces with leading aerospace and engineering firms to ramp up production of ventilators, while Mercedes has also worked with medics and academics to produce an alternative breathing aid. Normally obsessed with improving the performance of cars that race at more than 320kph, the teams are stripping back lifesaving devices and using computer simulation to test whether more simplified models can be mass produced. The seven
BITING THE BULLET: Barcelona’s Lionel Messi said that top players would make contributions so that the club’s employees can collect 100 percent of their salary Three-quarters of Rugby Australia’s staff were temporarily laid off yesterday amid huge financial losses from the sport’s coronavirus-enforced shutdown, while Lionel Messi confirmed on Monday that Barcelona’s players would take a 70 percent pay cut to ensure that the club’s other employees are paid. The cuts to rugby staff were “the toughest decision in the game’s history,” governing body CEO Raelene Castle said. “Although extremely painful, they are necessary to ensure ... we are able to come out the other side of this global crisis, fully operational and ready to throw everything into the rebuild.” The sport has been hit hard by