The Clippers appear to be in the preliminary stages of moving into an arena of their own. According to a report from Nathan Fenno and Sam Farmer of the L.A. Times, representatives of Clippers and Los Angeles Rams ownership have had discussions about the Clippers re-locating to Inglewood. The Clippers would join the Rams and Los Angeles Chargers in the “sports and entertainment district” being targeted for a 2019 release date.
Clippers owner Steve Ballmer “hasn’t hidden his desire for an arena of his own,” Fenno and Farmer write, as the Clippers currently share the Staples Center with the Lakers and Los Angeles Kings of the NHL. The Clippers’ lease at Staples Center runs through 2024.
These aren’t the first rumblings we’ve heard about a change of scenery for the Clippers. According to a July 2016 report from Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN, the Clippers had started to explore the possibility of a move, perhaps to Los Angeles’ west side — at the time, Arnovitz said the club had identified six potential locations in southern California, suggesting that the franchise didn’t love being the Staples Center’s “third tenant.”
Although representatives for Ballmer and Rams owner Stan Kroenke have reportedly had multiple discussions, Fenno and Farmer give no indications that those talks have moved beyond the exploratory stages. Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. was unaware of discussions regarding a new arena, and it remains to be seen whether Ballmer would own- rather than lease- the arena land. What’s more, the Times’ report cites the potential conflict of competing head-to-head with the Lakers in selling suites, club seats, and other products.
An anonymous source explained the motives of the prospective move to the L.A. Times:
“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.”