After nearly three decades of playing their home games in The Palace of Auburn Hills, the Detroit Pistons will soon actually be playing in downtown Detroit.
Detroit Pistons Moving to Downtown Detroit
Beginning in the 2017-18 season, the Pistons will share the currently under construction Little Caesar’s Arena with the Detroit Red Wings. On top of putting all four of the Motor City’s Big Four sports franchises’ venues within 0.7 miles of each other (the Detroit Tigers play in nearby Comerica Park, while the Detroit Lions occupy the even-closer Ford Field) in downtown Detroit, the move should boost the Pistons’ revenue and value.
While the capacity of Little Caesar’s is only marginally bigger than that of Auburn Hills, moving from a facility that is soon to enter its third decade to a brand-new arena is always accompanied by a valuation boost. There are new opportunities for sponsorships, and sharing the facility with the Red Wings means that overhead costs can be shared as well.
The legal details of the Piston’s tenancy in Little Caesar’s still need to be worked out. The arena is owned by the Ilitch family, which also owns the Red Wings. It has not been announced whether the Pistons will have their own lease with the Ilitch family as a secondary tenant, or whether the Pistons will join an amended lease with the Red Wings as co-primary tenants. Most of the differences between those two options surface in terms of when the lease would expire, so it’s in the Pistons’ best interest to get their own lease with the Ilitch family, in order to maximize the franchise’s autonomy. It’s likely that the Ilitch family and the Pistons have agreed to a framework of the lease prior to making the announcement.
Additionally, even though the Pistons are moving to the city with the name that the franchise already bears, the move still must be approved by the league. That’s not expected to be an issue, however, considering commissioner Adam Silver‘s presence at the press conference announcing the move.
With the Pistons’ days in Auburn Hills now numbered, fans can start to recall fondly the good times in the building before the Pistons start actually playing games in downtown Detroit.