The Forum, where the likes of Elvis Presley and the Rolling Stones played to thousands of screaming fans, wants to rock again in January 2014 with a $100 million makeover that its new owner hopes will draw the biggest names in pop music.
Madison Square Garden Co. announced Tuesday that rock band The Eagles will be the first band to play at the upgraded facility, which will be repainted to match its original “California sunset red” shade and have flexible seating that can host a range of 8,000 to 17,500 seats, depending on the event.
“The Forum was once considered one of the greatest rock arenas in the country. Our plan is to bring it back,” MSG Executive Chairman James L. Dolan said at a news conference.
Under a corporate sponsorship deal with Chase bank, new signage will read “The Forum Presented by Chase.” The venue is scheduled to reopen Jan. 15 with The Eagles performing for three nights.
Top architects, landscape artists, structural engineers and others are working “to create not only a world-class venue but a world-class destination,” said Hank Ratner, MSG president and chief executive.
The Forum, with its 72 Roman-inspired exterior columns, opened in the Los Angeles suburb of Inglewood in 1967. It was a premier venue for sports and concerts in the 1970s and 1980s but it was supplanted when the more modern Staples Center opened in 1999 in downtown Los Angeles.
The Lakers and Kings jumped ship for Staples, which also got the Clippers and became a major arena for pop concerts.
The Forum was taken over by the Faithful Central Bible Church in 2000 but continued to languish. MSG bought it last year for $23.5 million.
The goal is to compete with Staples, which must juggle sports and other events, by focusing mainly on music shows, although a few sporting events may be held there.
Dolan declined to say how many shows MSG expects to book at the Forum annually.
Staples Center’s owner isn’t worried and believes that it will remain Southern California’s premier destination for live entertainment, Anschutz Entertainment Group President and Chief Executive Dan Beckerman told the Los Angeles Times.
The Forum expands MSG’s footprint to the West Coast, to join a portfolio which includes Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall and Beacon Theatre.