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As The Forum Sells, Staples Gets Nasty About Its New Rival

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As reported in May, the deal to sell the Inglewood Forum has gone off, with the group that owns Madison Square Garden paying $23.5 million to the Faithful Central Bible Church. As part of the agreement, MSG will have to put $50 million toward a renovation and the company (which also owns Radio City Music Hall and the Beacon Theatre) intends to turn the arena into "a top-flight concert hall," reports the LA Times. They'll release plans for the makeover in the fall, but it sounds like South Park's Staples Center is already feeling a little defensive about it's new competition. Tim Leiweke, president of Staples (and LA Live) owner AEG, provided some choice smackdown to the LAT:

Vague racism!: AEG was "quick to raise questions about the security of the neighborhood surrounding the Forum." Leiweke says "We are very certain of our customer experience, their safety and the vibrancy of our campus."

Invoking city pride!: "We are going to vigorously protect our own town."

Straight up swagger!: "If we go from doing 250 to 240 events a year we'll be just fine."

What competition?: "Leiweke said, 'it's not about competing with us, it's about competing with other B venues in town,' such as the Hollywood Bowl, the Long Beach Arena and the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena."

Meanwhile, others say that The Forum will benefit from a wide open schedule and a long, rich history (pretty much every huge act has played there).

And as an exciting postscript, The Forum sale has jumpstarted the dormant plans for the Hollywood Park racetrack makeover--work is set to start early next year. The Hollywood Park Tomorrow plan will have "3,000 residential units, stores, theaters, restaurants, a hotel and a casino."
· Deal Approved For Madison Square Garden to Buy The Forum [Curbed LA]
· Forum owners plan to revive venue with $50-million renovation [LAT]
· Inglewood's Hollywood Park Tomorrow Could Swallow Up the Forum [Curbed LA]

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