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Volume 21 No. 6
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Pistons marketing highlights upcoming move

Earlier installments in the Pistons’ “I Can’t Wait” campaign included business owners talking about their excitement over the team’s move to downtown Detroit.
The Detroit Pistons next month will roll out another piece of its “I Can’t Wait” marketing effort to drive business as the team moves from the suburbs to Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit.

The strategy will focus on Pistons players and will be featured in digital, print and TV marketing beginning in September. The team will produce other upcoming “I Can’t Wait” messaging featuring local celebrities and players and coaches from the area’s other professional and college sports teams.

'We are reaching people who may have been interested in us but the
Palace had been too far,' Metzger said.
“We are doing a lot of targeted efforts, events, and digital content,” said Charlie Metzger, chief revenue and marketing officer for the Pistons. “We are talking about the excitement of the Pistons coming back to the city.”

The team already has released a series of spots featuring Detroit businesses mixed in with Pistons imagery that highlights the anticipation of the team’s return to downtown Detroit.

The new spots to focus on Pistons players comes during an offseason filled with myriad branding efforts as the team relocates from the Palace of Auburn Hills to Little Caesars Arena, the 21,000-seat arena owned and operated by Olympia Entertainment, which also owns the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings.

The Pistons will lease the facility from the Red Wings and will play their first regular-season game of the 2017-18 season on Oct. 18 against the Charlotte Hornets. It will be the first Pistons game in downtown Detroit since 1978 when the teamed played at Cobo Arena. The Pistons moved to the Pontiac Silverdome for a decade and then played at the Palace of Auburn Hills from 1988 through last season.

Local business owners are excited about the team's big move.
“We see it as a new beginning for the organization,” Metzger said of the move back to downtown Detroit. “It is much more than just a physical move downtown. We are looking at things with a different lens and a different view of who we are.”

Since announcing the move late last year, the Pistons have unveiled new uniforms and logos, launched a new radio flagship partner, announced a deal to build a new downtown practice facility in a partnership with Henry Ford Health System, and reached a jersey patch deal with Flagstar Bank. Metzger, who this month was promoted to chief revenue and marketing officer from executive vice president and chief marketing officer, also said that the Pistons have beefed up their sales staff to drive the sale efforts during the relocation.

Under the “I Can’t Wait” campaign, which was produced in-house by the team and launched this summer, the Pistons have been looking to drive ticket sales for their new downtown location.

Detroit businesses anticipate increased success with team moving to downtown.
According to Metzger, the team to-date ranks among the top NBA teams in new full-season tickets with more than 2,000 new full-season tickets sold. The Pistons season-ticket renewal rate is currently at 75 percent, with the expectation to hit 80 percent.

“It’s a big building and we are seeing the anticipation of the new building and us being downtown,” Metzger said. “We are reaching people who may have been interested in us but the Palace had been too far.”