Venue

The Forum Is The Best Arena Concert Venue

The Forum
Inglewood, CA



The Forum (Inglewood, California)

The Forum
The "Fabulous" Forum, Los Angeles Forum, L.A. Forum
The Forum
Location 3900 W. Manchester Blvd.
Inglewood, California 90305
Broke ground 1965
Opened 1967
Owner Faithful Central Bible Church, Forum Enterprises, Inc.
Operator Spectacor Management Group
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)
Capacity
Basketball: 17,505
Hockey: 16,005
Concerts: 18,000


1960s/70s

The "Fabulous" Forum, as it would become colloquially known to locals[1], was constructed by Jack Kent Cooke, owner of the Lakers and founding owner of the Kings, in 1967. The oval-shaped, $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 Hollywoodtennis matches, rock concerts, boxing matches, ice shows, rodeos, 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". celebrities often sighted in its audiences. It hosted a vast number of events such as


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


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. 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

By the early 1990s, the arena was among the oldest used for professional sports. 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 congregation 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 Madonna, the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, 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.


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.


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