He’s not the Los Angeles Clippers new owner yet–technically. However, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer already has major plans for his residence in Los Angeles. One of which reportedly includes a purchase of the Los Angeles Kings and Staples Center from business and multi-media empire AEG.
Nothing has been made official.
However, there’s speculation surrounding Ballmer and AEG that suggests Ballmer is currently in negotiations to purchase the Staples Center from AEG and the L.A. Arena Company for a hefty price of $1 billion. Sources also say that the sale of Staples Center would include the Los Angeles Kings which would drive the price up to as high as $1.5 billion–making Ballmer’s move to Los Angeles a whopping total of $3.5 billion.
It’s a sensible option for Ballmer who grossly overpaid for the Clippers. Purchasing Staples Center allows greater resource to recoup that over-payment and turn a profit much faster. With ownership of the Kings and Clippers, in addition to revenue from other tenants and events, Ballmer could come out far ahead in the long run.
So what does that mean for the Clippers?
For the first time since moving out of the Los Angeles Sports Arena and into Staples Center, they might have their first “home” in 15 years (the Clippers moved to Staples in 1999). In fact, from 1994 to 1998, the Clippers played a number of contests at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim. Sharing the revenue with the NHL’s Mighty Ducks and Splash indoor soccer team. Soon-to-be official former Clippers owner Donald Sterling refused a deal to relocate the team to Anaheim that would’ve paid the organization $95 million over their first six-years.
To compete with the Pond’s offer, the Coliseum Commission set up a bid to upgrade the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. At the cost of $94 million, 1.100 new club seats would’ve been included, in addition to 84 luxury suites and an on-site practice facility. Both ideas to either stay in the Sports Arena or relocate to the Pond were scrapped once the Staples Center stepped on the downtown Los Angeles scene.
It’s long overdue, and perhaps Ballmer is truly the guy to sit at the Clippers throne. Purchasing their venue and truly making it the Clippers house rides the same line of autonomy, class and competitiveness that head coach Doc Rivers had when he pushed to cover the Lakers’ banners during home games.
It makes sense money wise, and although it may rub the Los Angeles Lakers organization the wrong way, it seems there’s a new “Mister Moneybags” in LA, and he’s not too shy to show how deep his pockets are.