Money can’t buy happiness, but it can change the trajectory of an NBA franchise.
Six years after he bought the Los Angeles Clippers for a record $2 billion, Steve Ballmer has purchased the Forum in Inglewood from Madison Square Garden Company for a whopping $400 million, the Los Angeles Times reported, in an all-cash deal that effectively catapults the Clippers into Inglewood.
The Clippers plan to open the Inglewood Basketball and Entertainment Center, which sits one mile away from the Forum, in time for the 2024 basketball season, which is when their lease at the downtown Staples Center expires.
Ballmer’s acquisition, talks of which were reported earlier this month, would also put an end to multiple lawsuits that MSG has filed to block the new Clippers stadium, the Times reported.
MSG has argued in these lawsuits that the city of Inglewood deceived the New York City-headquartered company about city-owned land being sold to the Clippers for a new basketball arena.
Achieving peace with MSG, which happens to own the New York Knicks, is coming at an eye-popping price. Ballmer is buying The Forum for 18 times as much as the $23.5 million MSG forked over for the facility in 2012.
Formerly known as the Great Western Forum, the facility has a rich local history as home to the “Showtime” Los Angeles Lakers of the 1980s and more recently a hub for major concerts. Whether Ballmer keeps The Forum intact remains to be seen, though Inglewood Mayor James Butts — a staunch Ballmer supporter — has downplayed the venue’s economic importance. -[LAT]- Matthew Blake