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The owner of the Detroit Pistons and Palace Sports & Entertainment has entered negotiations to sell the team and the company to Detroit businessman Mike Ilitch.
Team majority owner Karen Davidson said in January she wanted to sell, noting that it was her hope the team could remain in Detroit.
Ilitch, an entrepreneur and owner of the Detroit Red Wings and the Detroit Tigers, is maybe best-known as the owner of Little Caesars Pizza, an international fast food franchise, which he founded 1959.
The deal is expected to be worked out in the next 30 days.
When WWJ caught up with Davidson late last month, she said the sale of the team was progressing well, and she hoped the sale would be completed before the start of the season.
Forbes.com has valued the team at an estimated $475 million, although it’s not yet known how much Ilitch will pay.
WWJ spoke with Auburn Hills City manager Pete Auger who said he was just hearing of the deal. Auger said he would welcome Ilitch to Oakland County with open arms, saying he hopes a sale of the Pistons to Ilitch wouldn’t automatically mean a move out of the Palace and into Detroit.
“I hope we’re at the table when we talk about the best business case for the region and the state. Like I said, the Palace has recently won another award for, you know, such a great venue — and they keep updating it and it’s a great place to do business,” Auger said. ”In this economy … if in ten years from now, something has to happen then something has to happen. But, right now, it’s a great facility,” Auger said.
WWJ opened up our listener line for reaction.
“I’m excited about this. It guarentees to me that the Pistons will not leave the state. And, I’m sorry for Auburn Hills, but I would be very excited to see the team go downtown,” one caller said.
“Hey, I say Mike Ilitch for Governor — let’s all write him in on the next ballot,” said another.
We want to know what you think! Comment below.
(Copyright 2010 WWJ Radio. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report).