MSG To Buy L.A. Forum

Madison Square Garden Entertainment, which not only owns three iconic buildings in NYC but the Chicago Theatre in the Windy City, is ironing out the details to buy some Los Angeles real estate: the 17,500-capacity Forum.

“We have reached an agreement for the option to purchase the L.A. Forum, subject to due diligence and other conditions,” MSG confirmed to Pollstar but declined to elaborate.

MSG – famously associated with the Madison Square Garden Arena and Radio City Music Hall – has been making inroads in venue ownership over the past few years, purchasing and restoring NYC’s historic Beacon Theatre in 2006 and the Chicago Theatre in 2008. Now it has its sights set on the West Coast, in a market populated by venue owners/facility managers Live Nation (Gibson Amphitheatre), AEG (Staples Center) and Nederlander (Greek Theatre).

The Forum, formerly Great Western Forum, has a long and storied history with Los Angeles, but lost its edge when the Staples Center was built at the turn of this century and anchor tenants Los Angeles Lakers and Kings made the shift to the new building. Still, its sentimental atmosphere has attracted the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Rush and AC/DC.

However, the venue, which was bought by the Faithful Central Bible Church in 2000, has scheduled its entertainment events around services. Where the church will now head is unknown. The Forum is run by VenuWorks, which signed a five-year contract with the church and brought back longtime GM Gene Felling. MSG manages its own buildings.

The church has been agitated, and litigious, with its facility managers – first AEG, then SMG, the latter of which was hired in 2003 to bring events to the aging venue when services were not being held.