Clippers Owner Steve Ballmer Agrees to Buy the Forum from MSG for $400M in Cash

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 24, 2020

From left, Los Angeles Clippers team chairman Steve Ballmer introduces Paul George and Kawhi Leonard at a press conference at the Green Meadows Recreation Center in Los Angeles, Wednesday, July 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Ringo H.W. Chiu/Associated Press

Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer can reportedly count The Forum in Inglewood, California, on his list of assets.

According to Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times, Ballmer reached an agreement with the Madison Square Garden Company to buy the building for $400 million in cash on Tuesday.

"We are looking forward to putting the legal issues behind us," the Clippers said in a statement. "This will allow us to focus on delivering world-class experiences for music fans and building a new arena that will provide a unique environment and a true home court advantage for Clippers fans."

Marc J. Spears of ESPN noted Ballmer and Clippers vice chairman Dennis Wong formed CAPSS LLC and drove the company's purchase of The Forum.

Mark Medina of USA Today shared more details, which revealed Ballmer plans on keeping The Forum in operation as a live music venue and making sure those with jobs at the building will receive an offer following this purchase.

Such a move resolves the litigation concerns that surrounded the Clippers' pursuit of their own stadium and clears the way for a "privately financed, state-of-the-art, 18,000-seat basketball arena, team headquarters complex and community center" in the Inglewood area.

This comes after Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN reported on March 1 that Ballmer was "in advanced negotiations" to complete the purchase from MSG, which also owns the New York Knicks.

Ballmer and the city of Inglewood were in a lengthy legal battle with MSG, which alleged the city promoted competition to The Forum despite an agreement saying it wouldn't. What's more, MSG and executive chairman James Dolan said they were under the impression the land the city convinced them to give up in the area was for a technology park, but Murphy's Bowl LLC, which is owned by Ballmer, intervened.

Once the Clippers complete their own stadium, they will no longer have to share Staples Center with the Los Angeles Lakers and the NHL's Los Angeles Kings.

The Clippers cannot match the Lakers' storied history of championships and all-time great players and often find themselves playing in road-game atmospheres even when they are the designated home team in their head-to-head showdowns.

Considering both teams are well-suited to compete for championships in the immediate future with LeBron James and Anthony Davis in Purple and Gold and Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on the Clippers, this could help the Clippers grow their own fanbase while separating from the established Lakers brand in the Southern California area.