Madison Square Garden (MSG) announced at the end of June that they had finalized the purchase of “The Forum,” the former home of the Los Angeles Lakers and Kings, located in Inglewood, CA.
MSG’s interest in purchasing the once iconic arena was first mentioned in December of 2010, with Billboard reporting that the company was “in the process of finalizing the purchase” of The Forum. However, the deal was not finalized until the final week of June 27, 2012, with MSG purchasing the venue for $23.2 million from owner Faithful Central Bible Church, which had owned the building since 2000.
Prior to 1999, when the Staples Center opened as the new home of the Los Angeles NBA and NHL teams, both the Los Angeles Lakers and Kings had played their home basketball and hockey games at The Forum since the arena was constructed in 1967. In addition to housing two of Los Angeles’ premiere athletic teams, The Forum was also the site of numerous high profile concerts over the years as well, playing host to concert tours from the Jackson 5 and the Bee Gees in the venue’s early years to shows from Janet Jackson and Nirvana in the 1990s.
When The Forum was sold to the Faithful Central Bible Church in 2000, the new owners planned on continuing the rich tradition of presenting concert tours and other high profile events at the venue. Unfortunately, The Forum was never able to reach the heights it once enjoyed prior to the Church’s ownership. Among the reasons cited for The Forum’s failure to maintain a steady stream of concert bookings includes the less-than-friendly reputation of Inglewood as a city and the success of the Staples Center, which holds roughly 2,000 more seats than The Forum, in taking the mantle as the premiere arena in the Los Angeles area.
However, MSG is confident that its purchase of The Forum will restore the venue to its past glory. The company has already announced plans for a $50 million renovation of the venue. While specifics relating to the renovations remain unknown, the money is expected to go towards modernizing the interior and helping The Forum to complete with the Staples Center.
According to MSG Entertainment’s President, Melissa Ormond, the company is expecting The Forum to offer more options for concert and entertainment bookings, rather than seeing the new acquisition as a means of directly competing with the Staples Center.
“It’s not about going head-to-head with the Staples Center, it’s about serving the market and serving the artist community. It’s a beloved venue and it’s a different type of venue. It’s in the category of arena and it’s a very different offering. It’s about filling a niche and not about competition,” Ormond told Venues Today.
MSG, which owns the venue by the same name in New York City, NY, will be using The Forum as its first foothold in the West Coast concert market. The Los Angeles area, which has been dominated of late by AEG- the owners of the Staples Center and the Nokia Theatre- is ultra-competitive and will be a challenge for the East Coast powerhouse company to crack. But if any company could compete alongside AEG for control of the market, MSG is certainly a contender.