Little Caesars Arena Has Empty Seats During Pistons Opener Despite Announced Sellout
The Pistons "reported a sellout crowd" for their regular season home opener at Little Caesars Arena, but there were "plenty of empty seats throughout the game" at the team's new downtown home, according to Bill Shea of CRAIN'S DETROIT BUSINESS. The announced attendance of the game was 20,491, but that figure has "raised questions." Media reports and fan posts on social media "showed a venue that wasn't full." Others argue that the reports are "deceiving because fans were wandering around the massive new complex, exploring a new arena and its myriad offerings for the first time" (CRAINSDETROIT.com, 10/19). In Michigan, Ansar Khan noted the Red Wings had the "same issue during their season opener on Oct. 5." There were "thousands of empty seats in the second and third periods." The club said that many fans were "experiencing the arena's numerous amenities -- clubs, restaurants, bars, interactive displays, memorabilia, etc." Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy had the "same experience when he coached" the Magic during Amway Center's opening in '10. Van Gundy: "Over time you get them back in the seats. ... They build these great restaurants and everybody goes and eats. The first half of the third quarter there's no one in the building. They make it so nice for fans that you don't get them back in the seats." Khan wrote it is "sort of a Catch-22 for the team" (MLIVE.com, 10/19).
HOLDING YOUR ASSETS: Pistons Owner Tom Gores said that he has "no plans to sell the Clarkston amphitheater," located 40 miles northwest of Detroit. In Detroit, Brian McCollum notes Gores acquired the venue when he "purchased the Pistons and Palace Sports & Entertainment" in '11. The 15,100-capacity venue, built in '72, regularly "ranks among the country's top-grossing summer amphitheaters." Rumors "swirled from the start that Gores would offload" the venue known as DTE to a "buyer such as Live Nation ... or even, more recently," to the Ilitch family, which owns the Red Wings and Tigers (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 10/20).