SBD/May 8, 2012/Franchises

Pistons Reduce Prices, Increase Entertainment In Effort To Boost Attendance

Gores may address fans at upcoming State of the Pistons event
The Palace of Auburn Hills will “stage an unusual State of the Pistons event” on May 17, according to Tom Walsh of the DETROIT FREE PRESS. Palace Sports & Entertainment President Dennis Mannion, Pistons President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars, coach Lawrence Frank, a few players and “possibly team owner Tom Gores will address a crowd of about 2,000 invited guests and take questions.” Mannion said that the State of the Pistons “aims to show that Gores is aggressively investing to improve every aspect of the Pistons, Palace and affiliated venues.” Walsh notes changes will include “upgrades to all of the 100 lower-level suites at the Palace, as suite leases are renewed or sold to new customers." New flooring, new furniture and new audio-visual gear also "will be installed -- but suite rental cost will hold steady.” Mannion said that “about 70% of lower-level suites are sold, with 30% available for game-by-game rental.” Walsh notes in previous years, the Pistons “had a lower key autograph party for fans at the end of the season.” But this year, after asking fans what they wanted, Mannion said “many of them wanted to hear from the team and hear what they thought about the future.” Mannion: “We’ll have a stage set up with video boards. It’s an opportunity to have an intimate Q and A with leadership. Our plan is to film that and put that on Fox Sports Detroit and put it on our Internet for the summer, so people can see the direction that the team is headed and where the (other Palace venues) to some extent are headed as well.” Mannion added that other new initiatives will “include improvements to the Pistons digital offerings” (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 5/8). In Detroit, Karl Henkel wrote, “The Pistons hope discounts and entertainment value will increase season-ticket sales” for the ’12-13 season. The team is “not raising ticket prices next season, and have offered a 4-percent discount to customers who pay in full by May 9.” Other incentives available for fans that renew are “free general parking as well as a chip-enabled jacket that allows them to claim discounts of 20 percent on food and beverages at The Palace and 30 percent on merchandise.” The Pistons also plan to “build on this season’s practice of holding halftime concerts by ramping up the entertainment portion of the basketball experience.” This past season season the team averaged 14,413 fans, the “third-lowest average in the NBA, even after introducing musical halftime performances.” PS&E cited “performance and attendance” as the reasons against raising ticket prices (DETROIT NEWS, 5/5).
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