The Los Angeles Clippers are trying to leave the Staples Center and move to Inglewood, California, and billionaire team owner Steve Ballmer is showing he is serious by investing $100 million into the city.
ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk reports the investment “was negotiated with city officials from Inglewood as part of their arena development agreement and is set to be revealed Tuesday at an Inglewood City Council meeting.”
$80 million of the investment will support affordable housing efforts and financial assistance to renters and first time home buyers. An additional $12.75 million will support area school and youth programs.
If successful the arena will be open for the Clippers beginning in 2024. Brittany Martin of the Los Angeles Magazine reports on the 26-acres the arena will occupy will be “a sports medicine clinic, facilities for community sports groups, dining and retail spaces, a solar-panel-clad roof, indoor-outdoor ‘sky gardens,’ team offices, and an outdoor game-viewing area with massive digital screens.”
Ballmer is aiming for the new home of the Clippers to be loud and bring an energy that rivals some of the craziest buildings in the league.
“I really want that kind of energy; think Oracle [Arena] has been that way, Utah, Portland has got good energy. I think our Clipper fan base is a little more tenacious,” Ballmer said. “They’re people [who have] decided they’re sticking with us, and now I think we will get new kinds of fans with Paul [George] and Kawhi [Leonard] joining us, but I think it is a hardcore fan base. I think that we can get real noise, real energy in the building.”
Community groups are opposing the stadium development, citing the possibility of gentrification and a change to what Inglewood is as a community. Ballmer, however, suggests he will be mindful of the area and will be investing in the community by not moving homes and being a good citizen.