The new L.A. Stadium & Entertainment District at Hollywood Park might have another tenant in the near future, as the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers have discussed joining the Rams and Chargers.
Inglewood, once home to the 80’s Showtime Lakers, might be getting the “other” L.A. NBA team as a tenant, the Clippers. The Rams and Chargers will be playing in Inglewood at Stan Kroenke’s L.A. Stadium & Entertainment District at Hollywood Park once it’s completed in 2019. Until then, the Chargers will be playing at StubHub Center and the Rams at the L.A. Coliseum.
The Clippers are contractually committed to playing at Staples Center, which they share with the Lakers and Los Angeles Kings for seven more years. However, Steve Ballmer, who purchased the Clippers for a cool $2 billion, made it clear that he does not intend for his team to play second fiddle to anyone.
Playing at Staples must make that a tough sell, as fans can simply look up at the rafters and see purple and gold banner after banner and retired jersey after jersey.
Which is why this move would make sense. Nothing has been signed yet and Ballmer has not committed to anything, but an article in today’s L.A. Times makes it clear he intends to own his team’s arena, not be a tenant in it. How that would work with Kroenke’s property in Inglewood has not yet been discussed.
Per an article in today’s L.A. Times:
Representatives of Steve Ballmer and Stan Kroenke, two of the richest owners in professional sports, have had multiple discussions about the Clippers joining the Rams and Chargers in the sports and entertainment district Kroenke is building in Inglewood.
Ballmer could have his own arena either on Kroenke’s property or just adjacent. Either way, this would be an arena where the Clippers are the main draw, not a consolation prize for those who can’t get tickets to a Lakers or Kings game.
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Fortunes have changed recently for the Clippers now that they have a decent product on the court. Having their own arena would lift the Clippers’ branding and identity, matching Ballmer’s aspirations for his team.
As for the team’s contract with Staples, Ballmer has made it clear that he not only has deep pockets, he has the willingness to use what’s in them.
City of Champions again?
The Clippers have as many championships as the Chargers—none. Inglewood, which once proudly called itself “The City of Champions” due to the Lakers championship runs in the late 70s and 80s, will potentially be home to three professional sports franchises.
As an L.A. fan, let’s hope some of that “magic” rubs off on the Chargers and… why not, the Clippers, too.