Steve Ballmer’s brainchild will open this year. Boardroom’s Shlomo Sprung takes you behind the scenes of the first-of-its-kind arena and future home of the LA Clippers.
UPDATE: On Jan. 16, 2024, The NBA announced that the Intuit Dome will host the 2026 NBA All-Star Game.
Steve Ballmer’s $2 billion new arena for the LA Clippers will open its doors this summer. The 18,000-seat Intuit Dome in Inglewood will give the Clips a 1.1 million square foot new home beginning in August that promises to change the sporting and entertainment landscape in Los Angeles.
Last month, Boardroom had the opportunity to tour the sprawling arena site just nine months before its opening. There, I got an inside look at the world’s premier arena opening for 2024.
Let’s take a look.
Since it is Los Angeles, the first major visible structure completed was this 4,200-car parking garage. Security will check fans’ tickets upon exiting the garage. Then, they will proceed across a pedestrian walkway to an escalator, taking them to the arena’s main outdoor entrance plaza.
The Clippers are calling this 80,000-square-foot area in front of the arena The Plaza or The Commons. The escalator from the pedestrian bridge leads down to the bleachers, which will include a concert stage for watch parties and performances, with a view of the largest outdoor 4K LED screen in Los Angeles.
The Plaza will also feature the main security entrance in front, to the right of the Clippers’ retail store. There will also be three bars and restaurants. But the pièce de résistance is an outdoor basketball court that could become one of the city’s most exciting pickup hoop spots, especially on game days.
After walking inside through a wide driveway that leads underground, fans are treated to an expansive arena view. The concrete flooring was recently installed, allowing for accelerated installation for the acre-long halo board scoreboard by some of the 2,000 construction workers actively building Intuit Dome. Halo board parts and panels, each installed piece by piece, will encompass the area.
Like the world’s top soccer supporter sections, The Wall will feature 51 rows of seating uninterrupted by tiers or suites. The bottom section will be removable for concerts or other arena events. The wall of sound will not only allow the fans’ noise levels to be more impactful, but the steep sections will give fans vastly better and closer court views.
Plus, it will provide LA fans with a one-of-a-kind experience. Row 20 in this area will be 45 feet closer to the court than similar seats at Crypto.com Arena.
In addition to 10 bungalow suites near courtside, the baseline opposite The Wall will feature a pair of Courtside Cabanas. The Steps lead to an expansive indoor suite and lounge area leading to rows of exclusive private seating. The seats near the Clippers’ entrance tunnel give fans up-close-and-personal access to their favorite athletes.
This tunnel leads not only to the Clippers’ locker room, but also to their practice facility and team offices. No NBA team will have their headquarters closer than the Clips when Intuit Dome opens.
A walk to the end of the tunnel leads you to the team facilities with practice courts, a weight room, a sports medicine clinic, hot and cold tubs, and the works. The fact that this will all be on the same level as the game court so close to the action will certainly give the Clips a competitive advantage moving forward.
Executive team offices will overlook the practice facility. One I saw lit up on the second floor will be Steve Ballmer’s office.
The view from the top of the upper bowl at center court is better than most good nosebleed seats around the NBA. Intuit Dome will also feature a JBL sound system with low sound reflection and effective sound absorption materials to provide some of the league’s best acoustics.
In addition, the two ends of this halo board will be retractable for improved sightlines during games and concerts.
The upper bowl highlights the stark contrast between how steep the seats are at The Wall. And the first 20 rows of The Wall will be removable to facilitate the arena’s concert setup.
Walking around the upper concourse, the building’s steel-paneled shell gives way to an open-air area that’s there by design. The structure is part of Intuit Dome’s plans to earn LEED Platinum certification by Day 1.
From the jump, the Clippers set a lofty goal of crafting a fully electric venue with zero fossil fuel usage. An estimated 260 solar panels will provide 13 megawatts of battery energy, which the team calls the most of any arena on earth. Because of this, Intuit Dome should be able to sustain itself off the LA area power grid for seven hours, which is enough to fit a couple of NBA games with some time to spare.
The Intuit Dome tour ends outside, in full view of what will become an escalator that leads directly to the upper level shown in one of the above renderings. The glass structure will house the team’s business offices near the practice courts, finally giving the Clippers their own brand-new venue to call home.
The world-class facility for the team and its fans will open a new chapter this summer.
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