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Clippers sign up CAA Sports to bring in record naming rights deal

The Los Angeles Clippers has signed up leading talent and sports agency CAA Sports to sell naming rights for its new arena some four years before it is set to open.

The NBA team has retained the division of CAA – which brought JPMorgan Chase to Golden State Warriors’ Chase Center in 2016 on a 20-year deal thought to be worth up to $20m per year – to secure a partner before work begins on Inglewood Basketball and Entertainment Center (IBEC) next year.

“We have set an ambitious goal to provide disproportionate value to a naming rights partner by having them in-place before a shovel hits the ground in Inglewood,” said Gillian Zucker, Clippers’ president of business.

“This aggressive timing will provide a unique opportunity to incorporate our partner’s brand into the design of the construction and deliver their own personal touch to this amazing facility.”

Paul Danforth, CAA board member and president of CAA Sports, admitted the Clippers expect a record-breaking deal for the 18,500-seat arena, which is part of a privately financed project that also includes a full-time corporate Clippers headquarters building, the team training facility, a sports medicine clinic, community courts, park spaces, educational facilities, restaurants and shops.

“We’ll do our best to achieve that [record-breaking deal], but they also want the right partner who is going to grow with them and shares similar values,” Danforth told reporters.

Located just south of Hollywood Park, home of the new SoFi Stadium, IBEC is a public/private partnership between Murphy’s Bowl LLC, a Clippers-controlled company, and the City of Inglewood. Its cost has been estimated at $1bn.

Murphy’s Bowl hopes to begin construction on the project by mid-2021, with the arena projected to open in time for the 2024-25 NBA season. The Clippers’ lease at Staples Center, its current home, is due to expire in 2024.

The project is being developed by Wilson Meany, with the Inglewood Basketball & Entertainment Center designed by AECOM. It is estimated the complex will generate an estimated $268m in economic activity for Inglewood annually, and more than $190m in new tax revenue from 2020-2045.

Former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer bought the Clippers in 2014 for $2bn and recently acquired the Forum venue in Inglewood from MSG for $400m to avoid legal battles over the development of IBEC.

Images: LA Clippers