The Clippers announced today that the team has entered in a three-year exclusive negotiating agreement with the City of Inglewood as both sides explore the possibility of the Clippers constructing a state-of-the-art basketball arena in Inglewood, just south of Century Boulevard and across the street from the new football stadium being built for the L.A. Rams.
There was much excitement yesterday following rumors of this announcement, but the truth is there isn’t much to announce at all. Everything is still very much vague and uncertain—even the Clippers’ own release states that the team will “explore” and “consider” building a new arena.
During the three-year agreement, the Clippers “will develop the details of [the] proposed basketball facility.” Inglewood will conduct an environmental review.
Then, in three years, an actual proposal will be made. This ENA is essentially a three-year-long first date.
Noteworthy is Steve Ballmer’s determination to pick up the tab, pledging to privately fund 100% of the costs to “plan, entitle, and develop” the new arena. The Clippers will also provide $1.5 million to the City of Inglewood to cover the City’s administrative costs relating to this project.
This relatively slow timeline is perhaps a little disappointing for Clippers fans who were riding the high of last night’s news and hoping to get a new stadium as soon as possible, but it’s probably for the best. The Clippers’ lease with STAPLES Center runs through 2024, and we have no idea what the logistics of an early exit would look like for Steve Ballmer. With no rush, it makes sense to get this job done right—and with a three-year planning window, it seems like they’re determined to build something special.