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Ballmer buys Forum, ends MSG legal dispute

Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is buying the Forum from Madison Square Garden Company for $400 million, ending his legal battle to build a new home for his NBA team in Inglewood, Cal.

It’s a nice return on investment for MSG, which purchased the former home of the Los Angeles Lakers (NBA) and Los Angeles Kings (NHL) for $23.5 million in 2012 and spent $50 million in upgrades to convert it into a concert facility. The plan, Ballmer said, is to keep the Forum as a live music venue. The all-cash transaction is being funded by Ballmer and Clippers vice chairman Dennis Wong via a newly formed LLC, CAPSS.

New L.A. Clippers arena

The move clears the path for a new Clippers arena close to the Forum. 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. It also makes for a significant cluster of facilities in a rather small area: besides the Forum and the new Clippers arena, SoFi Stadium and an associated 6,000-capacity venue. Throughout their pursuit, the Clippers have encountered opposition from MSG, which has filed multiple lawsuits seeking to prevent the proposed complex from being built. With the sale, the lawsuits will end, and the Clippers will be clear to pursue the project. From the New York Post:

“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.”…

Ballmer said the Forum and the Clippers’ new arena will be able to coordinate event schedules while under the same ownership, mitigating the impact 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,” he said.

Photo of the Forum courtesy Madison Square Garden. Rendering of the new Los Angeles Clippers arena courtesy LA Clippers.

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