Clippers Unveil Plans For Inglewood Arena

After having formally introduced new acquisitions Kawhi Leonard and Paul George earlier this week, the Clippers made another major announcement on Thursday evening, unveiling plans to build a new, 18,500-seat arena in Inglewood. The proposed arena would be completely privately financed.

The Clippers currently share a building with both the Lakers and the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, but team owner Steve Ballmer has long expressed a desire to move out of the Staples Center and into a new arena. The club’s lease at Staples Center is scheduled to expire in 2024, and according to Thursday’s announcement, the goal is to complete the arena project in Inglewood by the fall of 2024.

The renderings and details released by the Clippers on Thursday look impressive — in addition to the court itself, the building would feature the club’s business and basketball offices, a training facility, and community and retail spaces. As Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN details, Ballmer visited 13 to 15 NBA arenas and facilities to get a sense of what he wants the Clips’ new home to feel like.

“I want it to be a noisy building,” Ballmer said, per Youngmisuk. “I really want that kind of energy; think Oracle [Arena] has been that way, Utah, Portland has got good energy. I think our Clipper fan base is a little more tenacious. They’re people decided they’re sticking with us, and now I think we will get new kinds of fans with Paul and Kawhi joining us, but I think it is a hardcore fan base. I think that we can get real noise, real energy in the building.”

The Clippers will have to overcome some legal hurdles before they can move forward on actually building their proposed arena. James Dolan and the Madison Square Garden Company own The Forum in Inglewood, and have been opposed to the idea of the Clips constructing a new building adjacent to the existing arena. MSG Co. has filed multiple lawsuits in an effort to try to protect its investment in The Forum.

Nonetheless, Ballmer is confident that those roadblocks can be overcome and that the Clippers will eventually have an arena to call their own in Inglewood.

“We won’t go into the details of any of the legal things, but we feel good that we will be able to build our building,” Ballmer said, according to Youngmisuk. “Litigation is never a good thing. Madison Square Garden is certainly going to oppose in every way they can. They will continue to oppose us in a variety of different ways, and yet we feel confident that we will be able to get our building built by 2024, which is when our lease ends at Staples.”

Although the proposed arena wasn’t really a factor in Leonard’s decision to join the Clippers in free agency, Ballmer confirmed that it was discussed during the recruiting process as a way to show the franchise’s commitment to building its own identity in Los Angeles.

“I don’t want to say it was a major milestone in the meeting, but we did share because it is another statement that we are really committed,” Ballmer said. “I don’t know how it’s humanly possible, but I still occasionally get a question about it: Will your team move to Seattle? We are building our billion-dollar-plus house here in Inglewood, California.”

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18 thoughts on “Clippers Unveil Plans For Inglewood Arena

  1. Who in their right mind would purposely move to Inglewood? I wouldn’t let my dog live in Inglewood.

    • wakejeff

      You do realize that the Rams just spent 2.5 billion to put their new stadium there?

      • Sports

        It’s still a craphole location regardless of the awful forum & new rams stadium.

        • agentx

          Can you be more specific how it’s a “craphole,” or would you rather not unpack that choice of terms?

    • agentx

      Inglewood and the NFL stadium development in particular may or may not revitalize that area like LA Live and the Staples Center have fueled high-end commercial and real estate development downtown. I believe that it will.

      Inglewood also happens to be a 20- to 30-minute drive from Manhattan Beach, where dozens of world-class athletes from all the major sports leagues currently live. I suspect your dog would like living there.

      • x%sure

        Do stadiums EVER “revitalize” neighborhoods?– defining neighborhoods as separate from downtowns. Downtowns do not depend on sports arenas to be popular.

      • agentx

        x%sure, I agree with your implication and intentionally identified the possibility that the planned sports and entertainment complex could “revitalize that area.”

        And while the recent resurgence of Downtown LA is not solely the result of LA Live and the Staples Center, the South Park neighborhood immediately adjacent to those facilities and the LA Convention Center failed to reach critical mass until LA Live was fully entitled.

        • x%sure

          “until LA Live was fully entitled.”
          Interesting way to put it… built out, or accepted by the nightclub folks? I take it LA Live is an entertainment mecca.

          Critical mass is the critical point… there needs to be multiple sources of reasons-to-exist converging. Columbus Ohio saw a successful arena-based revitalization of an adjacent area now called the arena district… not exactly downtown but I would say the downtown got stretched to include it, once a brownfield site.

          But Inglewood I believe is separate from LA. Ballmer has a city to build to follow these models!

          • agentx

            Used “fully entitled” in the planning and permitting sense of the term. Once it was clear the municipal powers that be had approved the LA Live complex, construction got underway on a 30+ story JW Marriott / Ritz Carlton within the LA Live project area and multiple high-end condominium towers across the street were permitted and constructed.

            Ballmer’s banking on the successful development of 2,500 luxury residences and over 600,000 sf of high-end retail planned for the over $4B NFL stadium, shopping, and entertainment complex on 200+ acres right beside the proposed Clippers arena.

            By targeting 2024, Ballmer will have time to resolve any legal issues surrounding his arena plans and to see that the aforementioned complex is mostly under construction or already built by the time the Clippers break ground on their proposed arena.

  2. Jason Lancaster

    Dolan is pitiful. A fellow owner wants to build a new arena, and Dolan blocks it… Even tho new arenas boost league revenues and as a result help most of the teams in the league earn a little more money.

    I get that the Knicks aren’t one of these teams – they are sharing revenue, not getting it – but this is a stupid move. One more bit of evidence that Dolan is terrible.

    • agentx

      I don’t think it will be much of a downgrade at all once the 2,500 units of housing, 620,000 square feet of retail space, and 300-room luxury hotel planned for the approximately $5B mixed-use development set to surround the NFL stadium and Ballmer’s proposed arena are completed.

    • dimitrios in la

      La Live and Staples Center is a pretty lame Complex and experience actually. Utterly generic. Plus it’s shared with the Lakers. Clips seeking their own brand and identity. This move and the stadium would be conducive to that.

  3. calihoops1

    If you think this is a bad move you obviously were too young to remember downtown LA prior to the Staples Center or LA Live being built. With the Rams/Chargers/and now Lakers going into Inglewood I wish I owned property there.

  4. Dodgethis

    Not sure why the owner of an arena thinks they have a legal right to stop other people from also building an arena on their privately held land. This used to be america….

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