Clippers owner Steve Ballmer announces new $ 1.2 billion Intuit dome

Clippers owner Steve Ballmer announces new $ 1.2 billion Intuit dome

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer speaks on stage at the New York Times Dealbook event on November 1, 2018 in New York City.

Michael Cohen | Getty Images | the New York Times

“Constant optimism is a force multiplier. “

That’s a famous quote hailed by Steve Ballmer, the former Microsoft CEO turned pro gaming.

“Colin Powell taught us that,” Ballmer said in an interview with CNBC. Powell’s words relate entirely to Ballmer’s new mission: to take a more substantial share of the revenue in the basketball and entertainment market in Los Angeles.

Ballmer opened its new $ 1.2 billion arena, the Intuit Dome, on Friday. The 18,000-seat complex will be crucial in helping to catch up with underserved sports fans in Los Angeles. Ballmer called him the city’s “grinder”, a term used to describe working-class sports fans.

Before turning specifically to Intuit Dome, the former Ballmer reflected on his time in his post-retirement role as a professional sports owner. Here’s what Ballmer said he learned about owning the Clippers and how it relates to his trading past.

It starts with Powell, the former Secretary of State under President George W.

Ballmer’s optimism shines through

Ballmer, 65, walked into a conference room in the Clippers’ office in downtown Los Angeles where he conducted four interviews, including more on his schedule. The discussion with CNBC lasted over 15 minutes, covering various topics from the arena and his life in business. Powell’s words helped explain the optimism about Ballmer’s vision for the Clippers, starting with Intuit Dome.

“When you’re not starting from scratch, you have to be optimistic about the idea of ​​taking on a big project,” Ballmer said. “Gathering the earth is a circus of legal questions, of proposals. We had to purchase the forum as part of this process. You have to keep your optimism.

Ballmer was referring to the $ 400 million in cash he paid to the Madison Square Garden Company, the former owner of the Forum. The Lakers played there from 1967 to 1999, and the building now mainly hosts concerts. Ballmer needed to sort out legal issues with MSG, who complained that Ballmer’s new area would hurt Forum revenue. MSG bought Forum for $ 23.5 million in 2012 and cashed in 2020 thanks to Ballmer.

The Clippers owner paid the town of Inglewood $ 66.2 million for the land where the Intuit Dome would be located. However, the Clippers will recover some of it. Intuit, the software company that makes Turbo Tax, will pay the team more than $ 500 million for a 23-year naming rights window.

This deal only increased Ballmer’s optimism.

“This stage is all about being optimistic for our team,” Ballmer said.

“It’s about our fans to be optimistic. Enter the building, refuel, accumulate energy, ”Ballmer said with an applause. May your energy bring more success to our team. “

Then he laughed as he discussed “Weird, Little World” and an important relationship that may have helped the Clippers land the record naming rights deal. Ballmer returned in 1977, while working at Procter & Gamble. The man who helped her get settled was Scott Cook, who later co-founded Intuit.

Asked about a lesson he learned at P&G, which he still uses as the NBA owner today, Ballmer said, “It’s good to have consistent long-term bets. level taken.

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in 2012.

Microsoft

make the right choices

Ballmer’s story as CEO of Microsoft has had mixed results. But, while some would point out that Microsoft has missed out on important technological breakthroughs like the modern smartphone and search engine, Ballmer has helped triple Microsoft’s sales during his 14 years as CEO.

Discussing his time at Microsoft, Ballmer noted the long-term bets that have positioned the company for its current market cap of $ 2.2 trillion.

“There’s a reason Microsoft is the second most valuable company in the world,” Ballmer said. “We understood Windows and Office well. Our back-end technology is perfectly suited to servers. We got the Xbox, and I got my replacement [Satya Nadella] Rights. Succession is a big part of it, and I left my heir with the infrastructure to build a cloud business.

Ballmer’s optimism returned to the Intuit Dome, which compared the construction of the arena to the birth of Apple’s flagship.

“When I think of this product – our new building – in a way, I compare it to how I think of Apple phones,” Ballmer said. “They haven’t tried to design the cheapest phone. They didn’t say, “Let’s make something cheaper because it can sell more for a lower price.”

“They came up with a premium approach,” he said. “They were thinking about new ways of doing things. This is what we are doing here. It’s an upscale building, and our fans won’t have to suffer for it.

The new arena inside the LA Clippers.

Source: LA shears

Inside Ballmer’s last estate

Throughout the game, teams were drawn to a new way to leverage their product, especially after the pandemic damage. Premium experiences never hurt, and Intuit Dome will deliver a one-of-a-kind experience in the NBA.

The 18,000-seat arena will feature 44,000 square feet of LED light for its halo-shaped video board, along with technology that allows fans to purchase concessions and be billed automatically without using any money or money. Cards. In addition, the Clippers will enjoy four court sheds, a concept Ballmer borrowed from the National Football League.

“We are advancing the endpoint suite experience,” Ballmer said of the luxury offering.

The Intuit Dome will not host hockey games, so the building has a “basketball geometry,” meaning it was built specifically to watch basketball games. Clippers’ business operations will move to the Intuit Dome, and the team will also keep their training center in the area.

The Clippers estimate that the Intuit Dome will generate about $ 260 million in annual economic activity for Inglewood, which includes more than 7,000 full-time and part-time jobs. The Clippers also engaged a $ 100 million community benefits program.

“It’s a big market,” Ballmer said. “There are a lot of fans who can be Clippers and Lakers fans. But we want to tell you who we are. I think there are a lot of people in LA who identify with this notion of being the underdog, the person who keeps going. He’s almost two there. It’s all hours and not the cinema. Our fans will cringe.

“I am optimistic for my team,” said Ballmer. “I am optimistic about the success of my team, and that optimism is a force multiplier. In many ways, the reason we did this aligns with that optimism in the form of a force multiplier approach. “

Paul George # 13 of the LA Clippers chats with LA Clippers owner Steve Ballmer after their game against the Utah Jazz in Round 2, Game 5 of the 2021 NBA Playoffs on June 16, 2021 at Vivint. Smarthome Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Adam Pantozzi | National Basketball Association | Getty Images

basic lesson

As the interview drew to a close, Ballmer shared what he learned in his last leadership role. After announcing his retirement from Microsoft in 2013, he bought the NBA’s second-team LA in 2014 for a record $ 2 billion. The team hit the market after the NBA banned former boss Donald Sterling from making racist comments that were made public.

Victory and defeat are important in this world. A new arena will only help Mowers for a while. Ballmer is approaching his eighth season as owner of the Clippers, and the team has 346-208, including their sixth playoff appearance and a conference final appearance during that time.

Team President Gillian Zucker heads the business unit. Ballmer changed coaches on the basketball side when the team split from Doc Rivers last September, replacing him with Tyrone Lew. Ballmer also outclassed executive Lawrence Frank to oversee basketball operations.

Ballmer has also demonstrated his willingness to spend on talent. Next season, the Clippers will spend $ 166 million per season on player contracts, the third highest in the NBA. This adds up to a luxury tax bill of $ 88 million and includes the median annual value of $ 44 million per season that stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will pay by 2025. Both of these agreements will expire one year after the opening of the Intuit Dome.

When asked to reveal the hardest thing to deal with as a game owner, Ballmer replied, “Injuries – they happen. We had an injury to Kavi, and with that injury we’re not sure. That’s how long he’ll be away this year.

Ballmer went on to point out improvements in “the decision and understanding of where and how I should join the basketball team.” I’m not going to decide who is the 12th player on the list. I’m not involved, and for me It was important to know. I am not involved. It’s not my way of adding value. I add value by asking questions.

When asked if he would like to own another team because the NFL could open in Denver, Ballmer replied, “No – and my wife says, ‘You spend enough time on games already. . ‘ It’s in the game for me.

Ballmer is three years away from opening the future-proof Intuit Dome, allowing Clippers to add functionality as technology improves. This should align more revenue streams with sports betting and augmented and virtual reality experiences.

As Ballmer learned at P&G and applied to Microsoft, he said the plan was to continue betting for the long haul as a professional sports owner.

“And you don’t blink,” he said. “We won’t blink at the Clippers. We will continue to invest and make our team as good as possible. And in this new building, we are going to invest.

Ballmer then left for another media interview, showing glimpses of his enduring optimism.

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