Steve Ballmer, Stan Kroenke Reportedly Discussed Moving Clippers to Inglewood

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 24, 2017

SHENZHEN, CHINA - OCTOBER 11: Steve Ballmer, owner of Los Angeles Clippers speaks to media during the press conference before the match between Charlotte Hornets and Los Angeles Clippers as part of the 2015 NBA Global Games China at Universiade Centre on October 11, 2015 in Shenzhen, China. (Photo by Zhong Zhi/Getty Images)
Zhong Zhi/Getty Images

Representatives for Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer and Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke have reportedly engaged in conversations about moving the Clippers to Inglewood, California, alongside the Rams and the newly minted Los Angeles Chargers.

Nathan Fenno and Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times reported Friday the idea would be to create an arena to become an attraction for mainstream events when it's not being used for basketball, thus driving business toward the area where the $2.6 billion NFL stadium is currently being constructed.

The report noted the option is one of several being considered by the Clippers, even though their lease with the Staples Center doesn't end until 2024. A source told the Los Angeles Times a new arena adjacent to the stadium would be a win-win result for everybody involved.

"It's too soon to say it would be L.A. Live lite," a person familiar with the discussions said, "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."

Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN reported last July the Clippers' status as the "third tenant" of Staples Center behind the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Kings had become "tiresome." Moving to their own facility would allow for greater freedom to generate financial revenue.

At the time, Arnovitz pointed out the franchise was considering an alternative on Los Angeles' west side, and any move wouldn't occur until the lease ran out in 2024. It's unclear whether that stance remains in place amid interest from the NFL franchises to create a sports mecca.

Dan Woike of the Orange County Register passed along comments Ballmer made about the situation during an appearance at the Sports Business Journal's Media and Technology Conference in October. He stressed the importance of having choices, even when there's time left on a lease.

"When you have seven or eight years left on your lease...you'd better have an option than just going back to your current landlord hat in hand, saying, 'Please, please sir, please give me the chance to play in your building again," Ballmer said. "So, yeah, we're going to have real options. We're sort of putting those options together today."

He added: "If you want to build a new building, you can’t come up with that idea six months before the start of the season and sign a contract. There's a long period that would be required to put a site together, get it permitted et cetera. So, we're out now evaluating options."

Financial details concerning the possibility of building a new facility in Inglewood were not included. The Golden 1 Center, the home of the Sacramento Kings and the NBA's newest arena, cost an estimated $558.2 million, per Dale Kasler of the Sacramento Bee.

The Clippers have called Staples Center home since it opened in 1999.

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