NBA Rumor: New Clippers Arena

70 rumors in this storyline

The Los Angeles Clippers added another paying partner for the franchise’s planned Inglewood arena, helping to offset its expected $1.2 billion cost. The National Basketball Association team owned by former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced Monday it has agreed to a deal with “green” financial services company Aspiration. Under the agreement, Aspiration becomes a founding partner of the team’s new arena — Intuit Dome — which broke ground earlier this month with a $500 million-plus naming rights deal with the owner of TurboTax.

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The Clippers owner also paid the town of Inglewood $66.2 million for the land where Intuit Dome will sit. The Clippers will get some of that back, though. Intuit, the software company that makes Turbo Tax, will pay the team more than $500 million for a 23-year naming rights slot. That deal only enhanced Ballmer’s optimism. “This stadium is about being optimistic about our team,” Ballmer said. “It’s about being optimistic about our fans. Get in the building, pump up, make energy,” Ballmer added, clapping his hands. “Your energy can feed our team to greater success.”

The Clippers estimate the Intuit Dome will generate roughly $260 million in annual economic activity for Inglewood, including over 7,000 full-time and part-time jobs. The Clippers also committed to a $100 million community benefits package. “It’s a big market,” Ballmer said. “There’s plenty of fans that can be fans of the Clippers and Lakers. But we want to tell you who we are. I think there are many folks in LA who identify with this notion of being the underdog, the person who strides. It’s almost two LA’s. It’s not all showtime and movie business. Our fans are grinders.”

Ballmer, 65, entered a conference room at the Clippers downtown LA office, having conducted over four interviews, with more on his schedule. The discussion with CNBC lasted a little over 15 minutes, covering various topics from the arena and his previous life in business. Powell’s words helped explain the optimism around Ballmer’s vision for the Clippers, starting with the Intuit Dome. “You have to be optimistic to take on a huge project when you don’t start with land,” Ballmer said. “Putting the land together is quite the circus of legal issues, resolutions. We had to buy the Forum as part of that process. You have to keep your optimism.”

The LA Clippers and Intuit Inc. (Nasdaq: INTU), a global technology platform that makes TurboTax, QuickBooks, Credit Karma and Mint, announced today that they have entered a 23-year strategic partnership. Intuit is the exclusive naming rights partner of the Intuit Dome, the future home of the Clippers, which is scheduled to open in Inglewood, California for the 2024-2025 NBA season. The Clippers, Intuit and community leaders will break ground this morning. The Intuit Dome will deliver an innovative fan and consumer experience, and it will become a hub for programs that power economic prosperity and benefit the community. “When we began the search for a partner for the LA Clippers and our new dome, we looked for one that shares our passion for technology, the pursuit of innovation and our commitment to customers, fans and community,” said Steve Ballmer, LA Clippers Chairman. “Intuit is a perfect fit and we’re excited to be calling our future home the Intuit Dome.”

The Clippers also hope to construct the NBA’s loudest arena. They plan to construct “The Wall,” which will be 51 uninterrupted rows of seats that can host 5,000 fans behind the opponent’s basket. The Clippers plan to have 60 suites that include 14 on court level and 46 located in a horseshoe formation on a single level above the lower bowl. And the Clippers will have 10 bungalows located along the sideline opposite the benches as well as four cabanas located directly behind the courtside baseline seats. “If you are a total fan, this is the best arena,” Ballmer said while pounding his fists again on the conference table. “We will have you as close to the game as absolutely anyone in the league with possibly with the exception of Utah. But we have more people in the lower bowl and we have fewer breaks in the bowl.”

The Clippers will break ground on their new $1 billion arena on Sept. 17 with a ceremony at the corner of Century Boulevard and Prairie Avenue, where Church’s Chicken currently is. The groundbreaking ceremony will be attended by Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, Clippers players, including Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue, Clippers President of Business Operations Gillian Zucker and Inglewood Mayor, James T. Butts.

I sat down with Inglewood mayor James T. Butts before this Saturday’s first preseason game at SoFi Stadium between the Rams and Chargers. It will be the first game at SoFi Stadium for both teams in front of a capacity crowd as there were no fans at games last season. Butts said he hopes the Clippers will break ground on their new $1 billion arena by the end of the summer in time for the team to move into their new home in three years. “We hope to have them break ground before the end of August for the venue to be open for the first season in 2024,” Butts said. “The Clippers arena will be done in time for the 2024-25 NBA season.”

Clippers' new arena closer

The LA Clippers’ proposed new basketball arena cleared a critical hurdle Tuesday, when the Inglewood (California) City Council unanimously approved the environmental impact report for the Inglewood Basketball and Entertainment Center. The vote is a major milestone in the approval process for the Clippers’ arena. The franchise’s project to build a sprawling campus that will include the team’s corporate office, practice facility and outdoor plaza plans to break ground in the summer of 2021. The arena is slated to open for the start of the 2024-25 season after the Clippers’ lease at Staples Center expires. “We’re so excited to get our new arena project across the finish line in Inglewood,” Clippers owner Steve Ballmer said in a video presentation to the City Council. “… I want to boldly tell you our vision for this arena: We want to simply make it the single greatest place in the world for basketball, a basketball palace with no peer. We want to make sure that we are giving back to our community and to being great citizens here in Inglewood.”

The Clippers would neither confirm nor deny the report, but issued the following statement to ESPN: “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. “We are examining every possible way to resolve our differences with Madison Square Garden Co. regarding our new arena.”

The current owner of The Forum, MSG, which also owns the New York Knicks, has been locked in a protracted legal battle with the city of Inglewood and Ballmer for the better part of two years over Ballmer’s parcel, which sits a mile from The Forum. MSG, whose executive chairman and chief executive officer is embattled Knicks governor James L. Dolan, alleged that the city violated an agreement not to promote competition to The Forum by working with the Clippers to develop an arena nearby. MSG also claimed the city deceived MSG by convincing it to cede land near The Forum for a technology park that was ultimately sold to Ballmer, in what MSG characterized as a back-room deal. Murphy’s Bowl LLC, the entity owned by Ballmer to advance the Clippers project, intervened in the proceedings to represent the Clippers’ interests in their arena project.

There are three current active suits in the battle, including two by community groups, including IRATE (Inglewood Residents Against Takings and Evictions), an organization bankrolled in part by MSG. The Environmental Impact Report for the project was submitted by Inglewood to the court on Dec. 27, with a 30-day window for community groups and interested parties to respond with concerns, a timeline that was extended another 30 days on Feb. 10. After the most recent torrent of lawsuits, the two sides began engaging in substantive discussions to resolve the stalemate. Sources say that a potential sale of The Forum proved to be the path of least resistance for both sides, which have collectively spent tens of millions of dollars on litigation, with more actions to adjudicate. Sources say an agreement is imminent.

The California Air Resources Board has granted fast-track approval to a proposed $1.2 billion Los Angeles Clippers arena in Inglewood that should allow the project to be finished in time for a 2024 basketball season. After nearly a year of back-and-forth negotiations, CARB determined last week that the project will not result in a net increase in greenhouse gases and, thus, qualifies for special protections from environmental lawsuits that could otherwise stall construction for years.

“CARB staff conducted an evaluation of the GHG emission estimates and reduction measures submitted by the applicant, and confirmed that the applicant’s methodology, calculations and documentation are adequate,” wrote Richard Corey, CARB’s executive director, in a letter to the governor’s Office of Planning and Research. Assembly Bill 987, a law passed specifically to move the Clippers project forward, required the Inglewood Basketball and Entertainment Center to be net neutral and reduce 50 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions through local measures.

Pressing a legal challenge to a proposed Clippers arena in Inglewood, attorneys for a residents’ group told a judge on Tuesday, Nov, 5, that the city violated the California Surplus Land Act by failing to give first priority to a possible affordable housing development on the property. But lawyers for the city and developers argued the property does not qualify as surplus land. The also argued the property — which sits in the flight path of Los Angeles International Airport — is unsuitable for housing.

Uplift Inglewood members maintain that public land should be used for the public good and access to housing is central to building strong communities. Their lead attorney, Thomas Casparian, said the land should have been offered first for an affordable housing development before being offered to the Clippers. At one point, in discussing the potential economic benefits to Inglewood of using the land to build an arena for the Clippers, the judge said he assumed that other cities would be happy to have the NBA team in their communities.

The Clippers and Inglewood officials did not give the public enough notice about a deal to build an NBA arena in the city, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office determined in a letter released today. When the City Council voted to enter into an “exclusive negotiating agreement” with the owners of the Clippers in June 2017, it did not include in its meeting agenda a description about the location of the proposed arena or the scope of the project, according to Deputy District Attorney Bjorn Dodd.

Inglewood residents say they’ve scored a victory in their efforts to stop the construction of a Clippers arena on public land. A Los Angeles County Superior judge issued a ruling today that will allow their lawsuit over the arena to proceed to trial. Residents are trying to stop construction by arguing that under the California Surplus Land Act, the land should have been shopped around as an affordable housing development site before it was ever eyed for an NBA arena.

The day before the Clippers announced plans to explore building an arena in Inglewood, business mogul Irving Azoff floated an idea to Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and top advisor Linda Rambis about a move that could undercut the Clippers and prompt a seismic shift in the Los Angeles sports landscape. “Heres my dream,” Azoff emailed Buss and Rambis on June 14, 2017. “Rebuild the forum from scratch. Lakers plus music. boom.” The Lakers now say that vision won’t be realized, and they are believed to be discussing an extension to their Staples Center lease that runs through the 2024-25 season. “MSG approached the Lakers about the possibility of returning to the Forum following the end of our Lease at Staples Center in 2025, but nothing came from the discussions,” the team said Wednesday in a statement.

After discussing former Lakers player, coach and executive Jerry West joining the Clippers front office, Buss savaged the potential arena. “They are all crazy,” she wrote. “This is a joke. Why would Adam let this happen?” “Adam” is presumably NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “He has no vote unfortunately,” Azoff responded. “It will be a long legal fight.” Buss used a nickname for Azoff when she wrote back. “We need to see you Nugget!!” she wrote. “Didn’t Ballz see what we did to my brother?? He will have nothing but Clippers basketball. Whoopee.”

The Clippers wanted to use 22 acres of vacant, city-owned land across West Century Boulevard from the NFL stadium development — parcels that had been leased to the Madison Square Garden Co., the New York-based sports and entertainment giant that owns the nearby Forum, for overflow parking. A year and a half later, the land is the subject of a bitter legal fight pitting Inglewood and Ballmer, the former Microsoft chief executive estimated by Forbes to be worth more than $42 billion, against MSG, whose holdings include the NBA’s New York Knicks, the NHL’s New York Rangers, esports teams and entertainment venues across the country, along with a stake in the Tribeca Film Festival. At the center of the case — and the negotiations that could further Inglewood’s metamorphosis into a sports mecca — is Butts.

Clippers management, which is eager to build a new arena for its team and move from its current hub at Staples Center, hailed the Legislative approvals even though it remains unclear whether the governor will sign the bill into law. “We are now one step closer to bringing the world’s best basketball arena to a community that deserves the best,” Clippers owner Steve Ballmer said in a statement late Friday. “… with the passage of this bill, we are proudly setting a new standard for environmental responsibility. AB 987 puts into writing the promise we’ve made to Inglewood from the start: to be exceptional neighbors who care passionately about the Inglewood community and its citizens.”

3 years ago via ESPN

The latest lawsuit argues that that land should have been made available for affordable housing development before it was offered to the Clippers, as over 80 percent of Inglewood’s population qualifies for some form of subsidized housing. “We don’t know why they continue to push in the face of such strong residential opposition,” said Dr. D’Artagnan Scorza, a local resident, school board member and member of Uplift Inglewood. “It doesn’t make any sense to us except that they’re facing a $17 million budget deficit as a result of financial mismanagement and they’re probably trying to figure out a way to shore up the city’s finances utilizing these projects.”

An attorney representing Inglewood officials, including the city’s mayor, called a lawsuit filed by Madison Square Garden a “sham” in court documents filed Monday. Madison Square Garden Co., owners of The Forum, sued Inglewood and Murphy’s Bowl LLC — a Clippers-controlled company — over plans to explore a new arena in the city for the team. The lawsuit alleges fraud and breach of contract, claims attorney Skip Miller vigorously denied in the filing. “By its lawsuit, Madison Square Garden is trying to block the Clippers’ move and construction of the arena, to impede competition and stifle the economic growth of Inglewood,” the filing says.

Steve Ballmer: Today, we are expanding that investment by entering into an agreement to explore an opportunity to build a new arena for the Clippers in the City of Inglewood. I have said from day one that we need to plan for the future. This agreement helps us do that by expanding our options. The prospect of a new state-of-the-art NBA arena would allow us greater latitude to influence our game schedule, particularly as it relates to weekend games that are so important to our fans. We also want to offer our fans premium experiences in terms of technology, club spaces and other amenities; that’s easier to realize in a new arena.
4 years ago via ESPN

The agreement calls for a three-year negotiating period, including a six-month extension, with a developer to build a state-of-the-art basketball arena with 18,000 to 20,000 seats. It requires the Clippers to pay a nonrefundable $1.5 million deposit to cover costs associated with the planning. The proposed arena would be on a 20-acre parcel of land located across the street from the under-construction, $2.6 billion NFL stadium that is set to open in 2020. The Clippers’ complex would include team offices, parking and a practice facility.

You don’t have to confirm or deny any of this, but I’ve heard rumors about you looking on the West Side for an arena, [or] you’re maybe gonna be involved with the [Stan] Kroenke thing in Inglewood. What is the ideal size of an NBA arena for you if you were building one from scratch? Did you study the Sacramento one? Have you looked at that? Because I think that’s the best one anyone’s built so far. Ballmer: There’s multiple ways to think about an arena.

Inglewood is one of multiple sites the Clippers are exploring in a process that started more than a year ago. The Clippers aren’t settled on a course of action — staying at Staples Center or building a new arena — but the Inglewood discussions are part of their ongoing evaluation of potential options, according to the five people. “It’s too soon to say it would be L.A. Live lite, but if an arena were to bring 200 nights a year, that’s a tremendous amount of foot traffic that would benefit all the ancillary properties,” said a person familiar with the discussions who asked not to be identified in order to speak frankly about the situation.
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