Groundbreaking for the 18,000-seat facility, which is the centerpiece of the privately-financed Inglewood Basketball and Entertainment Center, or IBEC, is expected next summer.
The arena is scheduled to open for the 2024-25 NBA season after the expiration of the team’s lease at the downtown Staples Center, which also houses the Lakers and the NHL’s Kings.
Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, a former chief executive officer at Microsoft Corp., has said he intends to build the premier basketball facility in the world.
Inglewood is also home to the stadium that houses the NFL’s Rams and Chargers, and the arena’s proximity to the SoFi Stadium complex will help to boost its value, said Eric Smallwood, president of Detroit-based Apex Marketing Group.
Smallwood and Jeff Knapple, the chief partnership officer at Elevate Sports Ventures, say the new facility, in the No. 2 U.S. media market, might command more than $20 million a year, which would place it among the most lucrative arena naming rights deals.
“The NBA is so strong internationally, and interest could be quite high,” Smallwood said. As a comparable, both mentioned the NHL’s New York Islanders, who recently inked a 20-year, $350 million naming-rights deal with UBS.
Clippers President of Business Operations Gillian Zucker said the facility will be designed with the player- and fan experience foremost in mind, with particular attention being paid to things like increased restrooms and points of sale.
“It’s an experience that’ll be quite different,” she said, declining to offer a specific number for how much money the Clippers may get from a naming rights partner.
“The expectation,'” she said, “is that this is going to be a building quite like no other and it’ll warrant a pretty decent sponsorship.”
Besides the arena, the Clippers’ project includes a practice facility and the team’s corporate offices.
CAA Sports has completed more than $4 billion in new sponsorships, including agreements for Yankee Stadium and naming rights for Levi’s Stadium, home of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, and Chase Center, which houses the NBA’s Golden State Warriors.
Ballmer has a net worth of about $71 billion, according to Forbes, making him the world’s ninth-richest person.