Ilitch Talks Little Caesars Arena, Potential Comerica Park Renovation
Tigers Chair & CEO Chris Ilitch said development of Little Caesars Arena is sparking the potential for a larger scale modernization of Comerica Park. Ilitch also serves as Ilitch Holdings President & CEO, the Detroit company founded by his parents that owns Little Caesars Pizza, the Tigers, Red Wings and developed the new downtown arena aided by $250M in city bonds. Comerica Park opened in '00, while Little Caesars Arena opened in September. Ilitch said the goal has been to put regular improvements into the ballpark. Speaking on Day 1 of the ‘18 AXS Sports Facilities & Franchises conference, Ilitch said, “We actually are gearing up. We try to be very disciplined at Comerica Park and each and every year ... just keep investing in the facility and keeping it fresh and exciting and make sure that customer experience stays high.” He added, “Having said that, at some point we are going to take it to the next level and really do something more meaningful because we are seeing how people are reacting to the Little Caesars environment.” Ilitch touted Little Caesars Arena’s sky deck, which allows for faster rigging and turnaround for setting up lighting and other features for concerts and shows. “It allows us to set up and break down shows in a fraction of the time it would take with traditional rigging. That’s given us maximum utilization of the building,” Ilitch said. The arena is home to the Red Wings and Pistons and has booked plenty of concerts. “There no dead nights in the building,” said Ilitch, who said Paul McCartney even gave him a direct compliment on the acoustics of the arena after performing there. Ilitch also said having the Little Caesar name on the building is also a great testament to his parents, Mike and Marian Ilitch. Mike Ilitch died last year.