Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Clippers owner Steve Ballmer has reached an agreement with the Madison Square Garden Company to buy The Forum in Inglewood, California, for $400 million in cash.
Why it matters: The purchase removes the biggest hurdle in Ballmer's plan to build a privately financed 18,000-seat arena near The Forum, which will continue to function as a music venue.
- Worth noting: The Clippers are under contract to play at Staples Center, which they share with the Lakers and Kings, through June 2024, so the move to Inglewood is at least four years away.
The big picture: The Forum was home to the Lakers from 1967 to 1999, an era in which the franchise won six NBA titles and built a modern sports dynasty.
- It is now owned by the Clippers, who have the richest owner in American sports and have been determined to build a home of their own since he bought the team from the disgraced Donald Sterling in 2014.
- Though they won't play any games in The Forum, the fact that the Clippers now own the arena and plan to build an entertainment complex and community center on Lakers' hallowed ground symbolizes the shifting tide.
The bottom line: The Lakers still own L.A., but the Clippers are hell-bent on redefining their place in the city — and a new arena will do wonders as they carve out a new identity and stake their claim to a new neighborhood.
P.S. ... James Dolan bought The Forum for $23.5 million in 2012, invested $75 million in renovations and sold it for $400 million eight years later.