SBD/Issue 125/Facilities & Venues

Detroit Mayor Wants A Joint-Use Arena For Pistons, Red Wings

Red Wings Have Not Renewed Lease With City-
Owned Joe Louis Arena Beyond This Season

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing Thursday said that he is "hopeful the Detroit Pistons can move back to the city, breathing life into prospects for a new downtown arena to house the franchise" and the Red Wings, according to Leonard Fleming of the DETROIT NEWS. Bing said that he "believes Detroit could see a joint-use arena for both basketball and hockey similar to other stadiums in other markets." The Red Wings have not yet "renewed their lease with the city-owned Joe Louis Arena" beyond this season, while Pistons Owner Karen Davidson has put the NBA team "up for sale." Ilitch Holdings VP/Corporate Communications Tom Pyden, whose company owns the Red Wings, in a statement said, "We continue to talk with the City of Detroit regarding a new agreement for Joe Louis Arena. Certainly those talks include meetings with individuals from both parties, but we typically wouldn't disclose any specifics in that regard." The Red Wings' Joe Louis Arena lease expires in June, and team officials have said that the facility "needs major updates." Team officials also said that they "can't rule out a temporary move to the Pistons' home, The Palace of Auburn Hills, while negotiating a new venue downtown." Davidson has said that she cannot imagine the Pistons, who left Detroit in '78 to move to Auburn Hills, "playing anywhere but southeastern Michigan" (DETROIT NEWS, 3/12). Bing said, "I think we can get the Pistons downtown." City of Detroit Dir of Communications Karen Dumas added, "Maybe the stars are aligning themselves to make Detroit attractive for the Pistons to come home" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 3/12). 

OUT WITH THE OLD: Cavaliers Owner Dan Gilbert Thursday at a Detroit Economic Club luncheon said that Joe Louis Arena and Cobo Center "should be blown up." Gilbert, a Michigan resident, said, "They're old, they're done, it's over. It represents the past. We need to blow them up and start all over again." WWJ-CBS' Marie Osborne noted that the crowd at the luncheon "gave Gilbert a round of applause after he made the comments" (WWJ.com, 3/11).

SILVER LINING: New Silverdome Owner Andreas Apostolopoulos Thursday said that the stadium "will reopen April 17 with a 'Domination in the Dome' monster truck event and international soccer tournament in May." Apostolopoulos said that the truck event is "one of at least 'six to eight quality sports and entertainment events' planned at the 80,311-seat Silverdome in 2010." Apostolopoulos: "We're going to bring new life to the Silverdome" (DETROIT NEWS, 3/12).

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