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Steve Ballmer’s dream to move the Los Angeles Clippers out of the Staples Center and into their own arena seems to be on the verge of finally becoming reality.
Ballmer reached an agreement to purchase The Forum from Madison Square Garden Co. on Tuesday for $400 million in cash through a new entity, CAPPS LLC, a move that should pave the way for the Clippers’ new arena project. The deal is expected to close in the second calendar quarter of 2020.
“This is an unprecedented time, but we believe in our collective future,” Ballmer said in a statement. “We are committed to our investment in the City of Inglewood, which will be good for the community, the Clippers, and our fans.”
The team announced plans last year for a privately funded 18,500-seat arena in Inglewood that will sit next to SoFi Stadium, the new home of the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers that is set to open for the 2020 season. The new arena ideally would be ready for the 2024 season, which would coincide with the end of the Clippers’ lease at the Staples Center — which they currently share with the Lakers, the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings and the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks.
Public hearings to officially approve the project are expected to be held at some point this summer, per the release.
The Clippers have no plans to demolish The Forum, and say that having both that historic venue and their new arena under the same ownership will allow for better coordination and improve traffic congestion around the area during events.
The deal will resolve litigation brought against the Clippers by MSG and New York Knicks owner James Dolan, The Forum’s previous owners who have attempted multiple times to block Ballmer’s new arena plans.
“We are looking forward to putting the legal issues behind us,” the Clippers said in a statement, via Andrew Grief of the Los Angeles Times. “This will allow us to focus on delivering world-class experiences for music fans and building a new arena that will provide a unique environment and a true home court advantage for Clippers fans.”
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