Once home to sports legends such as Magic Johnson and Wayne Gretzky, the Forum in Inglewood is set to reopen Wednesday night as it hopes to compete with downtown's busier, glitzier Staples Center as a concert venue. Ted Chen reports for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014.
The "fabulous" Forum begins its comeback tour Wednesday after undergoing a more than $100 million renovation.
The Eagles will perform three grand-opening shows as the Forum aims to rival Staples Center as the premier concert venue in Los Angeles.
The former home of the Lakers and Kings was purchased by the Madison Square Garden (MSG) Company in June 2012 for $23.5 million. It was previously owned by the Faithful Central Bible Church from 2000 to when it was sold to MSG. The church was largely unable to generate revenue and rarely opened the facility for concerts.
The Forum reopening represents an opportunity for more major performing artists to play consecutive shows in Los Angeles. Because Staples Center is used by sports teams and regularly booked by artists who want to play several dates, musicians have had to travel between San Diego and Orange County in order to play multiple shows.
Before, only Staples Center could accomodate major acts with its 18,000-seat capacity. The Forum will have 17,500 seats and can reduce its capacity to 7,500 for more intimate shows.
Since its purchase, MSG has invested in modernizing the arena to compete with other venues that have had 14-years to add state-of-art technology and improve their concert-going experience. The Forum’s interior bowl has been updated with advanced support system featuring a “sky deck” that will offer fans a new viewing experience.
Once the main concert venue in Southern California, the Forum played host to countless legendary acts including Led Zeppelin, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, and Nirvana. As stars began to choose Staples Center over the Forum business left the surrounding Inglewood area.
With big names such as Justin Timberlake, Paul Simon, Imagine Dragons, and Chelsea Handler already scheduled to perform, the city hopes the arena will start a neighborhood revival.
MSG is guaranteeing that Inglewood will receive at least $675,000 years in ticket, parking and concession taxes. The company is also required to staff at least 35 percent of the Forum’s jobs with local residents.
Renovation efforts have already spurred development as plans are in place to replace adjacent Hollywood Park race track with a $2 billion planned community.