The Forum (Inglewood, California)


The Forum (Inglewood, California)

Infobox Stadium
stadium_name=The Forum
nickname= The "Fabulous" Forum, Los Angeles Forum, L.A. Forum


location=3900 W. Manchester Blvd.
Inglewood, California 90305
broke_ground=1965
opened=1967
owner=Faithful Central Bible Church, Forum Enterprises, Inc.
operator=SMG
construction_cost=$16 million USD
architect=Charles Luckman Associates
former_names = The Forum (1967-1988)
Great Western Forum (1988-2003)
tenants=Los Angeles Lakers (NBA) (1967-1999)
Los Angeles Sparks (WNBA) (1997-2000)
Los Angeles Kings (NHL) (1967-1999)
Los Angeles Lazers (MISL) (1982-1989)
Los Angeles United (CISL) (1993)
Los Angeles Stars (ABA) (2000-2001)
1984 Summer Olympics (basketball)
Los Angeles Blades (RHI) (1993-1997)
seating_capacity=Basketball: 17,505
Hockey: 16,005
Concerts: 18,000

The Forum, known for a time as the Great Western Forum, is an indoor arena in Inglewood, California, a suburb of Los Angeles. The Forum is owned by the Faithful Central Bible Church, which uses it for its Sunday morning service.

The Forum achieved its greatest fame as the home of the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and of the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League from 1967 until 1999, when the teams moved to Staples Center.

The Forum was also the home of the Los Angeles Sparks of the Women's National Basketball Association from 1997 until they too moved to Staples Center in 2001.

It was the site of the 1972 and 1983 NBA All-Star Game, the 1981 NHL All-Star Game, and hosted the Big West Conference men's basketball tournament from 1983–1988 and also the 1989 Pacific Ten Conference men's basketball tournament.

History

1960s/70s

The "Fabulous" Forum, as it would become colloquially known to localsHeisler, Mark. "Madmen's Ball: The Inside Story of the Lakers' Dysfunctional Dynasties" (2004) ISBN 1-57243-681-6] , was constructed by Jack Kent Cooke, owner of the Lakers and founding owner of the Kings, in 1967. The circular, $16 million structure was named for and designed to evoke the Roman Forum. The arena seats 17,505 for basketball, 16,005 for ice hockey, and up to 18,000 for concerts; it has no luxury suites, but held an unprecedented 2,400 club seats for events. In excess of 70 percent of the seats were located between the goals, and no seat is more than 170 feet from the playing surface.

The Forum became a landmark in the Greater Los Angeles Area, in large measure from the success of the Lakers and from the Hollywood celebrities often sighted in its audiences. It hosted a vast number of events such as tennis matches, rock concerts, boxing matches, ice shows, rodeos, indoor soccer, and political events. It is sometimes referred to as the Los Angeles Forum or L.A. Forum to differentiate it from other buildings, venues and places carrying the name "Forum".

In 1979, Cooke sold The Forum to Jerry Buss along with the Lakers and the Kings for a then-record $67.5 million.

Jethro Tull played four dates in row here, nowdays still a record.

1980s

At the same time, the Lakers experienced a tremendous run of success in the 1980s, winning five NBA Championships and making the NBA Finals every year but two. This level of success raised The Forum's profile greatly across the sporting world, as fans became accustomed to watching playoff games and other important games played there by the Lakers.

In 1984, The Forum also found itself in an international spotlight, as it hosted the basketball tournaments of the 1984 Summer Olympics.

In 1988, Buss capitalized on all of this success by selling the arena's naming rights to Great Western Savings & Loan. The exterior of the building was repainted blue from the original dark orange/red color, and the building was officially renamed the "Great Western Forum", and that name was retained for several years, even after Great Western was acquired by Washington Mutual and ceased to exist. Such naming rights deals have now become commonplace in major American sports, but were not at the time of Buss' deal with Great Western. Although there was some initial negative public reaction to the changing of the venue's historic name, that reaction was muted by the fact that the new name did not overtly reek of corporate sponsorship. In fact, "Great Western Forum" sounded so much like a natural name that many people, particularly among those outside the Los Angeles area, remained unaware that the name was the result of a naming rights deal.

1990s

Before the 1991–92 NBA and NHL seasons, a new, modern scoreboard was installed, replacing the one that had been in use since the building opened in 1967. However, by the middle of the decade, the Great Western Forum was still regarded as too small, and more importantly, it lacked premium skyboxes and sufficient retail and commercial space. Los Angeles officials, seeking to redevelop that city's downtown area, began planning for a new sports arena and entertainment complex to be located there, with an eye toward wooing the Lakers and Kings away from Inglewood.

The Kings' owners (who did substantial business as real estate developers) agreed to develop the complex, eventually given the name "Staples Center", and signed Buss on to move the Lakers into the new arena as a co-tenant with the Kings. The new arena was to open in the autumn of 1999 and, as part of this deal, Buss sold the Great Western Forum to L.A. Arena Co. (a company also owned by the Kings' owners).

In 1999, the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith opened at the Disney-MGM Studios in Walt Disney World. The ride is depicted as a wild-drive through Los Angeles, via stretched limousine, to the Forum for an Aerosmith concert.

2000s

Blaming the Great Western Forum for low attendance, the Sparks made 2000 their last season in the venue and then followed the Lakers and Kings to Staples Center.

Faithful Central Bible Church, home to a predominantly African-American numbering over 12,000, purchased the Great Western Forum at the end of 2000 and holds its regular service there each Sunday morning. The church makes the building available for rent (for concerts/sporting events/etc. that require that type of large venue) on other days. As such, ownership is held through the church's for-profit entity, Forum Enterprises, Inc., which continues to welcome to the arena mainstream and secular fare, including concerts by such artists as Metallica, Madonna, the Rolling Stones, Iron Maiden, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The venue also continues to be made available for film use, such as arena interior shots used in the 2002 film "Like Mike". Rock band Foo Fighters also used the building in the video for the song "All My Life" in 2003, prominently featuring the outside architecture and name of the building in the opening and closing shots. At one point, defunct wrestling promotion, Women of Wrestling used the Forum as their home arena.

In 2003, Great Western's naming rights contract on the building expired, and Forum Enterprises reverted the venue's official name to the original "The Forum". Despite this, and despite the fact that Great Western had in 1997 ceased to exist as a separate entity, the Great Western corporate logo and the letters forming the words "GREAT WESTERN" initially remained on the building's exterior. Great Western's exterior lettering was finally removed from the building in 2006.

The departure of the building's major sports teams has significantly lowered The Forum's profile, especially outside of the Los Angeles area. As a result, the "Great Western Forum" name is still frequently heard, as many people remain unaware that the original name has been restored.

Nickelback will be doing a special mini concert performance and commercial video shoot featuring their new hit single, “Gotta Be Somebody”, on Sunday October 12th at The LA Forum. Tickets for this exclusive performance are free of charge and are currently available though Live Nation. This exclusive mini-concert is also a sneak-peek at Nickelback’s next tour.The group plans to embark on a worldwide trek next year in support of their upcoming album, "Dark Horse".

References

External links

* [http://www.thelaforum.com/ The Forum's official web site]
* [http://www.faithfulcentral.com/ The official web site of Faithful Central Bible Church]

succession box
title = Home of the
Los Angeles Lakers
years = 1967 – 1999
before = Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena
after = Staples Center
succession box
title = Home of the
Los Angeles Kings
years = 1967 – 1999
before = Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena
after = Staples Center
succession box
title = Home of the
Los Angeles Sparks
years = 1997 – 2000
before = none
after = Staples Center
succession box
title=Olympic Basketball tournament
Final Venue
before=Olimpiisky
Moscow
after=Jamsil Arena
Seoul
years=1984
succession box
title = Host of the
NBA All-Star Game
years = 1972
1983
before = San Diego Sports Arena
Brendan Byrne Arena
after = Chicago Stadium
McNichols Sports Arena


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