Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer wants to buy the Forum in Inglewood from New York Knicks owner James Dolan, whose Madison Square Garden Company has been a persistent obstacle in his development plans.
Ballmer is reportedly in advanced negotiations to purchase the Forum, ESPN reported. In recent years, he has sought to construct a billion-dollar, 18,000-seat venue for his team in Inglewood, a plan that has received considerable pushback from Dolan.
Madison Square Garden filed a lawsuit against Inglewood and its mayor in order to prevent the former Microsoft CEO from building his arena. The lawsuit accuses the city of violating an agreement, and contends the new arena would siphon business from the Forum. The reported purchase would presumably end the legal feud.
The Clippers currently play at the Staples Center, whose owner Los Angeles-based AEG owns both the L.A. Lakers and N.H.L.’s L.A. Kings. Though now among the league’s best teams, Ballmer’s Clippers are something of a third wheel at the Staples Center, receiving a smaller portion of revenues and taking a back seat on scheduling, according to reports.
Madison Square Garden’s lawsuits against the city of Inglewood and Murphy’s Bowl LLC, a limited liability company created by Ballmer, allege that the new arena would violate an agreement it has with the City of Inglewood not to allow a rival to build nearby.
A separate lawsuit contends that the state’s decision to allow Ballmer to streamline the environmental review process for the new arena violates California’s constitution and alleges the project would be harmful to the environment.
The Clippers would not comment on ESPN’s report, but in a statement, told the outlet it is “examining every possible way to resolve our differences with Madison Square Garden Co. regarding our new arena.” [ESPN] — Tina Daunt