Sales  ·  Commercial

Steve Ballmer Said to Eye LA Arena Purchase Amid Dispute

The Forum, owned by MSG, has been locked in a dispute with Steve Ballmer’s planned new home for the LA Clippers


“Advanced negotiations” are underway for billionaire Steve Ballmer, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, to buy The Forum arena in Inglewood from the Madison Square Garden Company (MSG), ESPN reported

The ESPN report, which cited league sources, noted that the Clippers “would neither confirm nor deny the report.” The report included a statement from the basketball team, stating it was “examining every possible way to resolve our differences with Madison Square Garden Co. regarding our new arena.”

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MSG declined to comment to Commercial Observer. The Clippers did not return a request for comment. 

The sale would likely end the feud between the two companies after the city of Inglewood allowed the Clippers to plan a new $1.1 billion arena near the Forum, the ESPN report said. The future development has been the subject of a handful of lawsuits, including from MSG and community groups supported by MSG.

Property records show MSG acquired the Forum at 3900 West Manchester Boulevard for $23.5 million in 2012. The company claimed the city violated an agreement that bars a competing property so close to the Forum after MSG invested $100 million to renovate it for concerts and performances.

MSG filed a lawsuit in L.A. County Superior Court in January against new legislation approved in December that will fast-track approval for the Clippers’ project through the state’s environmental scrutiny, claiming it violates state law, the ESPN report said.

Murphy’s Bowl LLC, a Clippers-controlled company, hopes to complete the project before the 2024-2025 NBA season after the team’s lease expires with the Staples Center. The 26-acre complex sits about a half-mile from another new development, SoFi Stadium, where the L.A. Rams and the L.A. Chargers will play.

The Forum was the famed home of the L.A. Lakers for more than 30 years until 1999 when both the Lakers and Clippers moved to the Staples Center in Downtown L.A., which is owned by Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), the ESPN report said. However, the Clippers are the “third tenant” to the Lakers and L.A. Kings hockey team, and their lease at the Staples Center ends June 2024, the report said. 

Ballmer, a former CEO for Microsoft, bought the Clippers in 2014 for $2 billion, according to ESPN.