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Report: Steve Ballmer Negotiating to Buy the Forum

New L.A. Clippers arena

Amidst his pursuit of a new arena in Inglewood, Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is negotiating to buy the Forum from Madison Square Garden Co., according to a Los Angeles Times report.

The Clippers are seeking to construct a new arena in Inglewood, with the privately financed venue to anchor the larger The Inglewood Basketball & Entertainment Center–a 26-acre development on West Century Boulevard between South Prairie Avenue and South Yukon Avenue that would also include the team’s business and basketball offices, training facility, community and retail spaces. Throughout their pursuit, the Clippers have encountered opposition from MSG, which has filed multiple lawsuits seeking to prevent the proposed complex from being built. MSG owns Inglewood’s Forum, a venue primarily used for concerts and other non-sporting events that is located near the proposed Clippers arena site.

Ballmer is in discussions about purchasing the Forum, according to a Los Angeles Times report citing “a person familiar with the talks who is not authorized to speak publicly.” In a statement, the Clippers neither confirmed nor denied the reported discussions, while emphasizing that they continue to work on the proposed Inglewood arena. More from the Los Angeles Times:

Ballmer is in the process of trying to build a $1-billion arena for the Clippers near the Forum that triggered multiple lawsuits, including three by Forum owner Madison Square Garden Co. Purchasing the Forum would remove one big obstacle in Ballmer’s pursuit of his proposed arena.

“The Clippers continue to pursue plans to build a state-of-the-art, 18,000-seat basketball arena and entertainment complex in Inglewood and are currently working with the city to successfully complete the comprehensive Environmental Impact Report,” the team said in a statement. “We are examining every possible way to resolve our differences with Madison Square Garden Co. regarding our new arena.”

MSG has two additional pending lawsuits in relation to the arena — dozens of key figures from the Clippers, MSG and Inglewood have been deposed — and has paid the legal fees for a community group that’s also suing.

The Clippers are working to begin construction on the arena by July 2021, with the intention of opening it in time for the 2024-25 NBA season. It would serve as the team’s replacement for downtown Los Angeles’s Staples Center, where its lease expires in 2024.

Home to the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers and NHL’s Los Angeles Kings from 1967-1999, the Forum has seen a revival in recent years under the ownership of MSG, which purchased the venue from Faithful Central Bible Church in 2012 for $25 million and invested in subsequent renovations.

Rendering courtesy L.A. Clippers.

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