The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Will New Intuit Dome Release the Clippers from the Lakers’ Shadow?

Since their inception in 1978 in San Diego and especially after their move to Los Angeles in 1984, the Clippers have always been little brother to their in-state counterparts, the Los Angeles Lakers. The “Clips” have played second fiddle to the historic Lakers franchise, this having much to do with their lack of success in the NBA compared to the “Lakeshow,” who house 17 Larry O’Brien trophies. 

The competition between the Lakers and the Clippers was never that close, especially financially. Sharing a market, even one as big as Los Angeles, with one of the most famous franchises on the planet will do that to you. Yet, as of late, money hasn’t been an issue for the Clippers, thanks to billionaire owner and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. His deep pockets — $126.4 billion, as reported by Forbes — have allowed for the team to splash the cash and sign their own all-stars. Since the beginning of his ownership tenure, NBA stars like Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan have all worn the Clippers jersey. 

Ballmer has also been able to lure hometown players to the Clippers, such as the likes of Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and James Harden. These stars have led to improved performance on the floor for the Clippers. But even though they have been as good, if not better than the Lakers, the team has remained dwarfed by their next-door neighbors because they’ve shared an arena. Well, maybe share is not the right word. The Clippers have been playing in the Lakers’ arena. The team has never been a priority in an arena where two other major franchises play. The Clippers always defer to the Los Angeles Kings and Lakers for scheduling and other conflicts.

Yet, reaching again into Steve Ballmer’s deep pockets may allow the Clippers to escape this current predicament. The Clippers will be moving into a new area in 2024 that will dwarf any other stadium, arena or building not in just the NBA, but the world. The Intuit Dome, as it will be known, will be one of the most advanced projects in terms of innovation. The $2 billion building located in Inglewood, Calif., will feature a top-class experience for not only players, but also any fans in attendance.

One of the most exciting aspects of the Clippers’ new home will be “The Wall,” an idea designed to replicate and capture the famed atmosphere present at many European soccer matches. “The Wall” will be a 51-rowed section with seats only sold to Clippers fans exclusively on their fan marketplace. Seat-holders will supposedly be measured on how often they stand up to cheer, how loud they are in their seats and other indicators of their engagement with the game. Many of these advancements are being driven by modern analytics that will provide information about different fans. A tremendous amount of data will be collected in this section, which will fuel these statistics, including how often one goes to the bathroom. 

On the other hand, ticket holders of “The Wall” will be subject to a set of rules that are supposed to ensure the top-tier atmosphere Ballmer is striving for. Those seated at “The Wall” not be allowed to cheer for the opposing team, wear opposing team gear or resell tickets not on the fan-specific marketplace. There are ethical questions associated with this sort of data collection in terms of privacy rights, but regardless, this type of information will no doubt push the Clippers to the forefront of advancement within the league.

The dome is supposed to be Ballmer’s grand vision for what a stadium or arena should be. Many new state-of-the-art areas feature spaces for mingling and enjoyment beyond the game at hand, but Ballmer has strayed away from this trend. Ballmer wants the venue experience to mirror someone watching at home in their living room, perfectly comfortable with everything in reach at a moment’s notice. Every seat in the arena has restroom access less than 60 seconds away and concession stands that sell exactly the same food, ensuring that individuals do not need to go seek out the specific food they are craving.

The idea is to create a frictionless experience with regard to the non-game-related aspects of the arena. For Ballmer, the game should be the central experience for the fan and he wants to limit distractions that can take away from said presentation.

This vast effort by Ballmer keeps focus on the central goal of the franchise: winning a championship. Every decision has been made with the game and game-viewing experience in mind. Long gone are the days of fighting for attention with another franchise.

Ballmer believes this team has the ingredients to win a championship, and he will do everything in his power to make that a reality, including spending any amount possible to provide the best basketball experience for the player, the fan and, honestly, himself. Ballmer seemingly cannot wait to watch his Clippers play in their new arena, and he wants everyone to watch with him. 

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About the Contributor
Ian Gisiger, Assistant Sports Editor
Ian Gisiger is a sophomore from Boston, MA who is an economics major and writing and rhetoric minor. He has previously served as a Staff Writer for the Sports section. On campus, he is involved in the Athletics Department, Scholars of Finance, Club Soccer, Club Hockey, and Club Ski. He is also a member of a Greek letter organization.

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