Once home to the Los Angeles Lakers, Inglewood, California will officially become Clippers country in one year when the team’s stunning new $1.2billion Intuit Dome is scheduled to be completed.
Project managers claim the privately funded arena will bring $260 million and 7,000 jobs to the community, 30 percent of which will go to Inglewood residents.
Described as both a ‘basketball mecca’ and ‘basketball palazzo’ by Clippers owner and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, the 18,000-seat Intuit Dome will boast an array of distinguishing features, including power jacks at every seat and twice as many toilets as any other NBA arena.
Furthermore, there will be five basketball courts between the main arena and the practice facility, as well as an 80,000-square foot outdoor plaza, two bars, a restaurant, and a massive new team store.
Every detail — from the huge two-sided halo video screen that will hover over the court, to the triple-wide escalators, to how the bathrooms will be designed to get fans back in their seats as quickly as possible — has a purpose. Naturally, parking, entry, and concessions will all be automated with the help of new technologies to allow for a hassle-free experience so fans can get to their seats with as little trouble as possible.
The $1.2 billion arena will feature an 80,000-sq ft outdoor plaza as well as five full courts
Inglewood will officially become Clippers country in one year when the Intuit Dome opens
The arena will emphasize comfort with added leg room and power jacks at each seat
LA Clippers owner and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer privately funded the arena
The halo will include 44,000 square feet of 4K LED lighting, slightly more than one full acre and roughly six times the average size of other ‘big’ screens in NBA buildings. The roof of the dome was designed to accommodate the halo, not the other way around.
Things the Clippers have seen in play at German soccer stadiums, other NBA buildings, NFL stadiums, even the Amazon Go checkout-free convenience stores all sparked various ideas that will be put into play at Intuit Dome.
‘They’ve all led us here, to this vacant lot that we’re about to transform to the singular best place for fans and players throughout the world,’ Ballmer told The Associated Press in 2021.
To facilitate the deal, Ballmer paid $400 million for The Forum — the former home of the Lakers — to New York Knicks owner James Dolan, who was concerned that the Clippers’ new arena would hurt the 55-year-old stadium’s concert business. Dolan’s Madison Square Garden acquired the Forum in 2012 for $23.5 million.
Opposing teams will face 51 uninterrupted rows of fan seating directly behind the bench
The halo will include 44,000 square feet of 4K LED lighting, slightly more than one full acre
A rendering of the 18,000-seat Intuit Dome is seen in Inglewood, California
The Clippers currently play at Staples Center, also the home of the Los Angeles Lakers and the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings.
Ballmer — who originally didn’t want to build an arena when he bought the team — wound up beginning to plot a Clippers-only home years ago and formally unveiled the project in 2019, saying then that the Clippers would break ground in 2021 and open in 2024.
‘We don’t want to play in anybody’s shadow,’ Ballmer said.
Soon, they’ll have a home of their own, built to what Ballmer says are ideal specifications for basketball and music.
‘Today, a construction site but tomorrow, a global destination for basketball fans, music lovers and anyone who’s ever been moved to stand with 18,000 voices that echo as one,’ Clippers President of Business Operations Gillian Zucker said.
The future arena of the Clippers, The Intuit Dome, under construction on September 10
Clippers guard Russell Westbrook has a player option for 2024-25, when the dome will be open
Technology will be everywhere, such as some that would allow fans to leave their seat, walk to a concession stand in the concourse, grab a beverage or snack and then — if they do as Ballmer hopes — get right back to their seat.
There would be no cashier, nobody to take the order, and the customer’s account would be charged automatically. Other than the paying-for-it part, it would be akin to opening the refrigerator at home, getting a drink and going back to the couch.
Even the best suites won’t have big televisions. The reason is simple: Ballmer wants fans watching the game from their seat and being part of a home-court advantage.
‘It’s about the game of basketball … and we’re trying to get you back in your seat as quickly as we can,’ Ballmer said.
Steve Ballmer speaks at the Intuit Dome in March as the ceremonial final steel beam is raised
He wants them comfortable in those seats, too. The leg room — which will be a constant throughout the arena, from the lowest rows all the way to the very top — is going to far exceed the standard in most buildings.
‘We treated like the upper bowl like the lower bowl,’ Ballmer said. ‘Nobody gets a bad seat, no matter where you sit in the building.’
His favorite feature: It’ll be known as The Wall.
Beyond the end of the court where Clippers’ opponents will have their bench abutting 51 uninterrupted rows of seats, room for about 4,700 fans, with a standing-room-only section in the middle of it all. There’s no upper or lower deck there, just row after row after row of what Ballmer hopes is a bunch of fans that, well, act like he does during games.
Norman Powell (left) and Paul George (center) are pictured at the Intuit Dome construction
Again, it was designed with a purpose. Acoustics experts were brought in to ensure that The Wall generates as much sound as possible.
‘I mean, if we’ve got to do it right, we’ve got to get the fans there activated,’ Ballmer said.
Put simply, one of the league’s best-known fans, and one of the world’s wealthiest men — the former Microsoft CEO is generally believed to be worth around $100 billion — may be building the coolest possible basketball hangout for himself and 18,000 of his closest friends.
‘That’s a very well-put statement,’ Ballmer said.