The Forum (Inglewood)
|The Forum, Presented by Chase|
|The Fabulous Forum|
|Broke ground||July 1, 1966|
|Opened||December 30, 1967|
|Owner||The Madison Square Garden Company|
|Operator||The Madison Square Garden Company|
|Construction cost||$16 million|
|Architect||Charles Luckman Associates|
|Structural engineer||Johnson & Nielson1|
|General contractor||CL Peck1|
The Forum, Presented by Chase (originally and still commonly known as The Forum) is an indoor arena in Inglewood, California, a city adjacent to Los Angeles. It is located at 3900 West Manchester Boulevard, across 90th Street (re-dedicated as Pincay Drive in December 2003) and to the north of the Hollywood Park racetrack and casino, about three miles east of Los Angeles International Airport. It is a prominent feature on the landing approach to the airport from the east. Along with Madison Square Garden, it was one of the most well-known indoor sports venues in the U.S., during its time operating as a major venue. The Forum achieved its greatest fame as the home of the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers and the NHL's Los Angeles Kings, from 1967 to 1999, when the teams moved to the new Staples Center. The building was also the home of the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks, from 1997, until they also moved to the Staples Center in 2001.
The Forum was the site of the 1972 and 1983 NBA All-Star Games, the 1981 NHL All-Star Game, Basketball at the 1984 Summer Olympics and hosted the Big West Conference men's basketball tournament from 1983–1988 and the 1989 Pacific-10 Conference men's basketball tournament. In 2000, it was acquired by the Faithful Central Bible Church, which used it for occasional church services, while also leasing the building for sporting events, concerts and other events. In 2012, the Forum was purchased by The Madison Square Garden Company, owners of New York's Madison Square Garden, for $23.5 million; MSG announced plans to renovate the arena for use as a "world-class" concert venue.2
Situated on a former golf course, The "Fabulous" Forum, as it would become colloquially known to locals,3 was constructed in 1967 by Jack Kent Cooke, then-owner of the Lakers and founding owner of the Kings. As a Canadian, Cooke particularly enjoyed ice hockey, and he was determined to bring the NHL to Los Angeles. In 1966, the NHL announced it intended to sell six new franchises, and Cooke prepared a bid. The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission, which operated the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, supported a competing bid headed by Los Angeles Rams owner Dan Reeves, and advised Cooke that if he won the franchise he would not be allowed to use that facility. In response, Cooke threatened to build a new arena in the Los Angeles suburb of Inglewood. Nearly thirty years later Cooke told the Los Angeles Times sportswriter Steve Springer that he recalled "one official representing the commission laughing at him" (Springer's words) when Cooke warned he would build in Inglewood. Cooke won the franchise, and paid $2 million for the new Los Angeles NHL club, which he called the "Kings". Springer: "Cooke went to Inglewood and built the Forum. Goodbye, Lakers. Goodbye, Kings."
The circular, US$16 million structure was designed by renowned Los Angeles architect Charles Luckman and was intended 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, concerts, boxing matches, 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".
Cream performed two consecutive shows during their Farewell Tour on October 19–20, 1968, with Deep Purple as their opening act. Cream's performance from the 19th was used for the live tracks that appeared on their farewell LP, entitled Goodbye. Deep Purple recorded their part of the show, which was later released as a live album, entitled Inglewood – Live in California.
Steppenwolf performed during their At Your Birthday Party Tour on July 14, 1969, with Three Dog Night as their opening act. TDN recorded their part of the show, which was later released as a live album, entitled Captured Live at the Forum.
Between 1970–1977, Led Zeppelin performed 16 times (their live album, How the West Was Won, was partly recorded at the venue), including a run of 6 sold out dates in 1977; one of these shows comprises the famous bootleg, Listen To This Eddie (Eddie Van Halen, prior to the release of Van Halen's first album, was reported to be among those in attendance).
The Jackson 5 performed two shows, during their First National Tour on June 20, 1970 and during their Third National Tour on August 26, 1972. The 1970 show broke attendance records, with 18,675 paid admissions grossing $105,000, with only having released two albums and three singles, the band were able to draw a very big crowd, a clear example of a very early part of their career. By 1972, they were established icons and had released seven albums on the Motown label, not including Michael Jackson and Jermaine Jackson's solo albums, which plays a big part in the '72 set. Michael's voice shows early signs of changing, he's still singing in a high-pitched voice but throughout most of this set he's straining to do so, at times screeching to hit the notes he once could sing the years prior. Both shows were recorded and released as a live album, entitled Live at the Forum.
On November 14, 1970, Elvis Presley did two shows (one in the afternoon, another one in the evening) with 18,700 and 18,698 paid admissions. This was during Elvis' second tour. He would return on his 10th tour, to perform for two more sold out shows on May 11, 1974 (with 18,500 paid admissions each).
On December 4, 1971, The Osmonds performed two shows, which were recorded and released as a live album, entitled The Osmonds Live.
Barbra Streisand performed on April 15, 1972, during a fundraiser for Senator George McGovern's presidential campaign. Seat prices ranged from $5.50–$100 and the event grossed $300,000, but after the expenses of producing the show, McGovern's campaign was given only $18,000. During the performance, Streisand offered the audience the choice of hearing "Second Hand Rose" or "Stoney End", the latter was the overwhelming choice. Her performance was recorded and released as a live album, entitled Live Concert at the Forum.4
The Eagles performed three consecutive shows during their One of These Nights Tour on October 20–22, 1976. The shows were recorded and some songs were included on their live album, entitled Eagles Live.
In 1979, Cooke sold The Forum, along with the Lakers and the Kings, to Jerry Buss for a then-record $67.5 million.
The Lakers experienced a tremendous run of success in the 1980s, winning five NBA Championships and making the NBA Finals every year but two (1981 and 1986). 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 1981, singer Diana Ross filmed the concert portion of her "Diana" television special at The Forum, entering the arena through the audience, performing her 1980 Billboard Top 5 pop hit, "I'm Coming Out". Special guests included Quincy Jones, who conducted a special performance of "Home", from "The Wiz" and Michael Jackson, who joined Ross onstage for a performance of her 1980 No. 1 hit "Upside Down". The special began with footage of Ross in a photo session atop The Forum, dressed in a silver lamé bodysuit, complete with large, extended wings made of the same material.
In April 1982, The Forum was the site of the Miracle on Manchester, in which the Kings completed the largest comeback in NHL playoff history, going from being down 5–0 to win the game 6–5 in overtime over the Edmonton Oilers. Combined with upset wins in Games 1 and 5, the Kings eliminated the heavily favored Oilers in a 3–2 series victory to reach the second round.
Queen performed two consecutive shows, concluding the U.S. leg of their Hot Space Tour, on September 14–15, 1982, with Billy Squier as their opening act. These marked Queen's final live performances in the U.S., before the death of lead vocalist Freddie Mercury on November 24, 1991 and retirement of bass guitarist John Deacon in 1997, until 23 years later, during the Queen + Paul Rodgers Tour, on October 16, 2005.
Fleetwood Mac performed two consecutive shows during their Mirage Tour on October 21–22, 1982, with Dave Mason as their opening act. The shows were originally scheduled for October 4–5th, but were postponed, due to lead vocalist Stevie Nicks suffering from walking pneumonia. The shows were recorded for their tour video, which aired on television in 1983.5
The Forum played host to Amnesty International's A Conspiracy of Hope Benefit Concert on June 6, 1986. The show was headlined by U2 and Sting and also featured Bryan Adams, Jackson Browne, Peter Gabriel, Lou Reed, Joan Baez and The Neville Brothers.
In December 1988, Buss capitalized on all of this success by selling the arena's naming rights to Great Western Savings & Loan.7 This also coincided with the arrival of Wayne Gretzky in Los Angeles, which greatly increased the profile of the building's other tenant, the Kings. The exterior of the building was repainted blue from the original "Roman 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 (now JPMorgan Chase) and ceased to exist. Such naming rights deals eventually became commonplace in major American sports, but were not so at the time of Buss' deal with Great Western.8 There was some initial negative public reaction to the changing of the venue's historic name, and most local residents continued to refer to the arena as simply "The Forum".910 However, the adverse reaction was eventually somewhat muted by the fact that the new name of "Great Western Forum" sounded rather like a natural name for the arena, given its location in the western United States.11 So much so that many people, particularly among those outside the Los Angeles area, remained unaware that the name was the result of a naming rights deal. To this day, many residents of the Los Angeles area still refer to the building as the Great Western Forum.
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. The original scoreboard, designed by All American Scoreboards in Pardeeville, Wisconsin, contained a two-line messageboard on each side, the third electronic messageboard in the NHL (and the second in the NBA); the new scoreboard, designed by Daktronics, kept the two-line messageboards but now incorporated a Sony JumboTron videoboard on each side. 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 (as well as a third tenant, the Clippers, who would move there from the Los Angeles Sports Arena). 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).
Nirvana performed during their In Utero Tour on December 30, 1993, marking their final Los Angeles-area show. The recording of their song "Heart Shaped Box" is included on their live album, entitled From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah.
AC/DC performed during their Ballbreaker World Tour, concluding the first U.S. leg of the tour, on February 21, 1996. Originally scheduled for February 1, the show was postponed, due to the death of lead vocalist Brian Johnson's father Alan.
In 1999, the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, starring Aerosmith, opened at the Disney-MGM Studios (now Disney's Hollywood 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.
In April 1999, the Kings played their final NHL game at the Forum, and on the same day former King Wayne Gretzky played his final NHL game as a New York Ranger. While waiting for Staples Center to open, the Kings played almost their entire preseason home schedule at San Diego Sports Arena and the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The Lakers' 118–107 playoff loss to the San Antonio Spurs on May 23, 1999 was the last meaningful Lakers' game played in the Forum. The Lakers would play two more preseason games at the Forum the following season before moving into the brand-new Staples Center.12
The Sparks made 2000 their last season in the venue and then followed the Lakers and Clippers to Staples Center.
The Great Western Forum housed the regular live events as well as the offices and training facilities for the 2000–2001 syndicated television series WOW! Women of Wrestling.
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 began holding its regular service there each Sunday morning.13 However, unlike Houston's Lakewood Church converting the former Summit arena into their new central sanctuary, Faithful Central representatives said that their intention in purchasing the arena was never to convert into a religious building, and in 2009, the church discontinued regular use of The Forum for its church services.14
Under Faithful Central, the building continued to be made available for rent for concerts, sporting events and other activities that require that type of large venue. As such, ownership was held through the church's for-profit entity, Forum Enterprises, Inc., which continued to welcome to the arena mainstream and secular fare, including concerts by well-known secular and popular music artists. At times, however, the church's ownership of the building had influenced the approval of specific performers for the venue, such as in 2005 and 2009, when The Forum refused to allow performances by the heavy metal band Lamb of God because the band's former name had been "Burn the Priest".
On February 14, 2003, Phish kicked off their first post-hiatus tour at The Forum. In addition to a fan jumping up on stage to give a message of love during the song "AC/DC Bag", they performed a cover of the Dr. Hook classic "The Cover of the Rolling Stone". They had recently made their first and only cover of the popular publication.
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, even though during the Lakers and Kings' final season at the Forum in 1999, the arena's "Great Western Forum" name was omitted from the teams' center court and center ice, respectively. Great Western's exterior lettering was finally removed from the building in 2006.
The venue continues to be made available for film use, such as arena interior shots used in the 2002 film Like Mike. Rock band Foo Fighters used the building as the setting and filming location in the music 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 2008, a scene for the 2009 feature film Hannah Montana: The Movie was filmed outside The Forum, as was the video for the Weezer song "Troublemaker" from their 2008 album The Red Album. More recently, the venue was featured in the video game Guitar Hero: Metallica.
Iron Maiden performed during their Somewhere Back in Time World Tour on February 19, 2008, with Lauren Harris as their opening act. The recording of their song "The Number of the Beast" was included on their documentary film, entitled Iron Maiden: Flight 666.
In May and June 2009, Michael Jackson rehearsed at the Forum for his planned This Is It concert series in London. After Jackson died on June 25, 2009, footage of these rehearsals, along with those from the Staples Center, formed part of the film, Michael Jackson's This Is It, released by Sony Pictures in October 2009.
On October 9, 2009, the Lakers returned to the Forum for a preseason game against the Golden State Warriors to celebrate the start of the team's 50th season in Los Angeles. The Lakers lost 110–91. Because the scoreboard was removed during its use as a church, a temporary scoreboard and video monitor was brought in for the game.
In 2012, Magic Johnson and ESPN shot the documentary The Announcement at The Forum. The documentary chronicled the event surrounding the announcement that Johnson made in 1991 that he was HIV positive.
After acquiring the facility in June 2012, MSG announced plans to spend $50 million to refurbish the arena. The City of Inglewood will provide an $18 million commercial rehabilitation loan, conditioned on MSG's spending the promised $50 million for improvements.2 The facility has been renamed "The Forum Presented by Chase", to include the name of the sponsor Chase.
- "The Forum". Engineering news-record (McGraw-Hill) 183: 52.
- Vincent, Roger (June 26, 2012). "Forum Owners Plan to Revive Venue with $50-Million Renovation". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 26, 2012.
- Heisler, Mark. Madmen's Ball: The Inside Story of the Lakers' Dysfunctional Dynasties (2004) ISBN 1-57243-681-6
- Spada, James; Nickens, Christopher (1981). Streisand: The Woman and the Legend. Garden City, New York: Dolphin Books, an imprint of Doubleday. p. 149. ISBN 0-385-17567-1.
- 1984 Summer Olympics official report. Volume 1. Part 1. pp. 102–4.
- Horovitz, Bruce (December 6, 1988). "They're Banking That It's a Great Advertising Forum". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
- Sanders, Edmund (August 19, 2000). "High Price of Naming Rights Sometimes Worth It". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 11, 2014. "The Great Western Forum was one of the nation's first sports venues to cut a corporate sponsorship deal when it did so in 1988"
- Sanders. "Great Western, for example, never convinced Southern Californians to embrace the bank's name when referring to the former Forum in Inglewood despite its $17.8-million sponsorship deal."
- Zitner, Arron. (May 15, 1993). "A BANK SHOT FOR NEW GARDEN HIGH-INTEREST BIDDING TO NAME ARENA REPORTEDLY YIELDS SHAWMUT CENTER", Boston Globe
"'I don't believe I've heard anyone on the street call it the Great Western Forum', Kupper said."
- Downey, Mike (June 21, 1989). "Event Names No Longer Are Givens". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 11, 2014. "I was simply happy that the banking company's name blended in so nicely. After all, some other bank could have bought the joint. The Lakers just have easily could have ended up playing in the Security Pacific Forum, or the Mitsui Manufacturers Forum, or even the Downey Savings Forum"
- "History of the Lakers". Los Angeles Lakers. Retrieved July 17, 2010. "The arrival of Shaquille O'Neal necessitated the trading of longtime center Vlade Divac, and the trading or renouncement of several other veterans"
- Hirsch, Jerry (December 29, 2000). "Church to Buy Forum in $22.5-Million Deal". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
- Crowe, Jerry (May 17, 2009). "A Funny Thing Happened Along the Way to the Forum". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
- Lewis, Randy (July 30, 2013). "The Forum Aims to Rock Rival Staples with Major Renovation". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 30, 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Great Western Forum.|
- The Forum's official web site
- "The Madison Square Garden Company Acquires Famed Forum Arena", press release dated June 26, 2012