The Los Angeles Clippers have an identity crisis and inferiority complex.
They play in sports crazy Los Angeles, but they’ve always been treated like an unpopular step child by LA sports fans, primarily because they have such a history of ineptness.
Couple that with the fact the most glamorous, successful and beloved NBA franchise, the Los Angeles Lakers not only play in the same city, but the same arena.
But the Clippers are trying to do something about both problems. Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is the team’s owner, and he hasn’t been afraid to tap into his vast fortune of $97.5 billion to try to make the Clippers respectable.
They made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals this past summer, and in 2024 they will move into a brand new, $1.2 billion arena in Inglewood near SoFi Stadium.
To prove that they hope to be taken seriously the Clippers have announced that they have locked in a huge new naming rights agreement with the financial software company Intuit.
The new arena will be called the Intuit Dome, and the ultra-modern new facility will have every conceivable technological bell and whistle, and instantly become the crown jewel of NBA arenas.
Here’s what Ballmer told CNBC about the big moves.
“This stadium is about being optimistic about our team. It’s about being optimistic about our fans — get in the building, pump up, make energy. Your energy can feed our team to greater success.”
Ballmer paid $66.2 million to purchase the land for the new arena, and he also bought the Forum in Inglewood for $400 million in cash. The Forum was the home for the Lakers for 32 years before they moved into the Staples Center.
As for what Intuit paid for the naming rights to the new arena, nothing was officially announced, but CNBC said it was a 23 year deal that will pay over $500 million to the Clippers.
Maybe the sports world and Los Angeles will start to take the Clippers seriously.