The LA Clippers are officially partnering with CAA Sports, a division of Creative Artists Agency (CAA), to name the team's new Inglewood arena.
Currently, the arena is titled the Inglewood Basketball and Entertainment Center, but the Clippers are looking at CAA to change that. Steve Ballmer is doing everything in his power to make sure their new Inglewood Arena will be the best stadium in sports.
The arena is privately funded, and will include 18,000 seats. The Clippers state it will be "uniquely designed to prioritize fan comfort and ease, player experience, home-court advantage, and community."
The project is expected to break ground in the summer of 2021, and will open for the start of the 2024-25 NBA season. The Clippers believe the arena will provide "the City of Inglewood with the largest community benefits package ever connected to a sports venue."
Here is the official statement from President of CAA Sports, Paul Danforth:
“We are proud to work alongside the visionary ownership and management team of the LA Clippers, to bring to market the naming rights for their new arena in the city of Inglewood,” said Paul Danforth, CAA Board Member and President, CAA Sports. “Steve’s vision for ‘the best home in all of sports,’ combined with the dynamic Clippers franchise and explosive growth of the NBA worldwide, makes this a singular opportunity for a marketer to plant its flag in the sand in the vibrant capital of sports, media, and entertainment.”
Conversely, here is the official statement from Clippers President of Business Operations, Gillian Zucker:
“We are thrilled to partner with CAA on this endeavor, as we work together to identify a corporate partner who shares our values and embraces our vision for what this campus will mean to the Clippers community,” said Gillian Zucker, Clippers President of Business Operations. “We have set an ambitious goal to provide disproportionate value to a naming rights partner by having them in-place before a shovel hits the ground in Inglewood. This aggressive timing will provide a unique opportunity to incorporate our partner's brand into the design of the construction and deliver their own personal touch to this amazing facility.”
Previously, CAA worked on the naming rights for both the San Francisco 49ers Levi's Stadium, and the new Chase Center arena for the Golden State Warriors. The President of CAA Sports, Paul Danforth, gave Sports Illustrated an exclusive Q&A about his new project with the Clippers.
Question: How did this partnership begin?
Danforth: "We just completed the Chase Center project with the Golden State Warriors. We had incredible success there. As soon as the project wrapped up, Gillian and I got together to discuss their plans for a new building. She asked if we would be interested in partnering on it. We got together with myself, her, Dennis, and Steve to really talk about our approach. We couldn’t be more excited to work with a dynamic ownership group, a great management team, and the very first home of the Clippers. Finally they’ll have a home of their own, and it’s going to be in LA."
Question: What goes into the process of naming rights?
Danforth: "It will be the overall naming rights of the facility. Then there will be a number of other partnerships that include potentially naming the practice facility on campus, another basketball court that’s located outside, and a number of unique clubs. We’ll do commercial partnerships for a number of projects."
Question: What do you know about the design?
Danforth: "It is pretty awesome. It’s going to be a dynamite facility with all the bells and whistles. Wide seats, lots of concessions, lots of bathroom, there’s one cool end of the arena that’s hopefully going to give a significant home court advantage. There’s going to be some real cool designs."
Question: What's it like compared to the previous projects you've worked on?
Danforth: "This is going to be very different than anything that we’ve worked on to tell you the truth. Everything from the configuration of the bowl, to other cool features. There are very unique features that have never been seen in an NBA arena before."
Question: When does the campaign start?
Danforth: "We’re starting the process now. Which will go through talking to everyone, from current partners to future prospects all around the world. Our goal is to have the name prior to groundbreaking in summer of 2021."
Question: Do you have any future projects in mind with the Clippers?
Danforth: "We’re going to work together until the building is open. There’s going to be partnerships throughout the building and the campus. Generally a project like this will take three to four years in terms of engagement."
We're still very far away from when the Clippers will own their own arena in Inglewood - four years to be exact. While we don't know exactly what to expect, the expectations are growing higher with every interview. By this time next year, fans will at least know the name of their new home.