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Clippers gain final approval for new arena

The Los Angeles Clippers have targeted next summer to begin work on the Inglewood Basketball and Entertainment Center (IBEC) after receiving final approval for the project, with the NBA team opening their waitlist for season tickets and other selected arena experiences.

Inglewood City Council has granted final approval for the campus that will include an 18,000-seat basketball arena, team practice facility and corporate offices for the Clippers. The City Council’s unanimous approval of the Disposition and Development Agreement (DDA) provides the terms for Murphy’s Bowl, the entity developing IBEC, to purchase the publicly-owned property within the arena site for $66.25m (£51.1m/€56.2m).

The total purchase price will be shared among the City, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Los Angeles World Airports and other local entities, including the Inglewood Unified School District. The DDA contains long-term commitments from Murphy’s Bowl, following acquisition of the site, to develop and operate the arena and related facilities, which are set to be privately financed at a cost of $1.8bn.

“Today is a new chapter for the Inglewood Basketball and Entertainment Center, as we move from the land use entitlement process and look toward construction,” said Gillian Zucker, Clippers president of business operations.

“Every part of IBEC is being designed with purpose – with an unapologetic intensity that will define the experience together for players, musical talent and fans alike. This arena will prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there is no replacement for live basketball and entertainment.”

The Clippers have shared Staples Center with the Los Angeles Lakers and NHL ice hockey team Los Angeles Kings since it opened in 1999, but have long been seeking a home of their own. The new facility will be set within an open, indoor-outdoor atmosphere and the project, expected to break ground in summer of 2021, will open for the start of the 2024-25 NBA season.

In August, the Clippers announced a global partnership with the CAA Sports agency to bring to market the naming rights for the arena, and the team is targeting a record-breaking deal for the contract.

In July, the Clippers took another step towards the development of the new arena after Inglewood City Council voted unanimously to approve the environmental impact report for the project. The approval of the environment report came after another major hurdle was cleared in May. Steve Ballmer, owner of the Clippers, completed his purchase of The Forum, a multi-purpose arena in Inglewood, from Madison Square Garden Entertainment. As part of this deal, MSG agreed to end its long-running legal battle against the proposed Clippers arena.

The Clippers claim IBEC will create more than 7,000 full and part-time construction jobs and up to 1,500 permanent full and part-time jobs when the complex opens. Local hire goals are in place to help fill 30% of the construction jobs and 35% of arena operation jobs with local area residents.

IBEC is projected to generate an estimated $260m in annual economic activity for Inglewood and approximately $100m in tax revenue over the first 15 years of operation. The Clippers have also committed to provide the City of Inglewood with the largest community benefits package ever connected to a sports venue at $100m.

When the Clippers’ new home opens, four arenas will be located within a one mile radius, with SoFi Stadium, the new home of the NFL’s Rams and Chargers, including a 6,000-seat performance venue.

Image: LA Clippers