The business of sports business is business.
In the while you were away department, there was some real sports news that was overlooked. The National Basketball Association’s Los Angeles Clippers franchise is far closer to a new Inglewood arena being built than it was on March 11th when the NBA stopped playing games because of COVID-19. The owners of the New York Islanders got over the last hurdle in building a new hockey arena on the Belmont Park racetrack grounds thanks to a judge. The state of Washington approved sports gambling. The pandemic might have closed down a great part of commerce in the United States but the business of sports continued.
Steve Ballmer has to get some California government approvals before putting a shovel in the ground for his Clippers arena. He is on track to build the venue because Ballmer bought the existing Inglewood arena, the Forum, from New York Knicks owner James Dolan. The Knicks owner was suing Inglewood in an attempt to block Ballmer plans. The Forum purchase ended the lawsuit. Ballmer’s lease at a nearby Los Angeles arena ends in 2024 and that is when Ballmer wants the arena to open. Meanwhile a New York state Supreme Court judge Roy S. Mahon ruled against the Village of Floral Park and a number of civic groups that wanted to stop the Islanders arena project for various reasons. Construction on the project started last fall and has been halted because of the COVID-19 pandemic which has hit the New York City-Nassau County area particularly hard. It is expected that the arena construction will begin shortly although it is unclear whether the timeline is still intact that would see the arena open by September 2021. In Washington, state residents can now bet on sports at tribal casinos only as there is no mobile component. Business as usual.