Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer has reaffirmed the the NBA basketball team’s ambition to leave their current Staples Center home and build a new arena in Inglewood.
The Clippers currently share Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles, with rival NBA team the LA Lakers and NHL ice hockey franchise the Los Angeles Kings and have played at the venue since 1999. Their lease at the Staples Centre expires in 2024.
Ballmer (pictured) feels that having exclusive control of an arena would help the team to maximise their commercial potential. “We’re moving to Inglewood come hell or high water,” he told a meeting of Clippers fans and season ticket holders. “So we’re working on a plan to get our own house. We want to get our own house. It turns out the way this works in LA, which is much beloved to me, that if you start now you might be done in six years.”
Ballmer urged fans to contact their Assembly representative and state senator to urge approval of legislation that would speed up the process to allow the team to build their own arena.
The arena would have a capacity of 18,000 and would be built close to the new stadium currently under construction for Los Angeles’ two NFL American football teams, the Rams and Chargers.
Fellow NBA team the Milwaukee Bucks have proven the commercial value of moving into an arena that they own exclusively. The team’s sponsorship revenues have doubled in the two years since they started work on their new Fiserv Forum home, while the new stadium will generate 35 per cent more ticketing revenue than their former Bradley Center home when it opens on 26 August.