By: Will Burchfield
In the coming days, Joe Louis Arena and The Palace of Auburn Hills are each set to close their doors on an era.
One building, it appears, meant much more to local sports fans than the other.
According to the secondary ticket market, the final game at The Joe vastly overshadows what’s likely to be the final game at The Palace. The get-in price for the Red Wings’ swan song at The Joe is more than $200 higher than the get-in price for the Pistons’ finale at The Palace.
The Wings will bid farewell to the Joe on Sunday afternoon versus the Devils. As of Thursday morning, the least expensive ticket on StubHub.com was $245.96.
The Pistons, whose playoff hopes are hanging by a thread, are all but guaranteed to end their era at the Palace on Monday night versus the Wizards. The least expensive ticket on StubHub, also as of Thursday morning, was $24.95.
Why the disparity?
Well, for one, the Pistons are still alive in the playoff race so there’s a chance, albeit a small one, that Monday’s game versus the Wizards won’t be the finale at The Palace. If (when) the team is eliminated, demand for tickets is likely to increase, which will drive up that get-in price.
Of course, that can’t explain away a $220 gap.
It’s fair to say that The Joe has simply meant more to the Detroit sports scene than The Palace. It’s nine years older and it’s located within the city, whereas The Palace is on its own out in the suburbs. Both arenas have been home to some memorable teams, but The Joe gave birth to Hockeytown. The Palace never became something more than itself.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, it seems The Joe endeared itself to the fans in a way the shiny Palace never could. Its many flaws made it unique, and its uniqueness made it theirs.