By: Will Burchfield
Much has been made about the sight lines in Little Caesars Arena. Thanks to its steep layout, there’s not a bad seat in the house.
During a tour of the arena on Wednesday, Olympia Entertainment CEO Tom Wilson went so far as to say, “The sight lines are the best in hockey.”
It’s convenient for Wilson to make such a claim, but it’s more than bluster. The designers of the arena charted the view of the ice from various angles in the building and then compared those views to other arenas across the league.
Little Caesars stood out.
“We took Joe Louis, we took Montreal, we took all the others and you can see. You do a black line for ours and a red line for every other arena, and you can see how much closer ours are. We actually have a comparison without about 10 other great buildings and it shows you,” said Wilson. “Now, some that don’t have suites might have seats lower, but anything that’s comparably sized, it’s much better here.”
Red Wings general manager Ken Holland was the man behind the vision.
“It actually started with Kenny Holland, who said the most intimidating building in hockey is the Bell Centre in Montreal because there’s very few vomitories and everybody is right on top of you,” said Wilson. “As you can imagine, if it’s a Red Wings game, it’s going to be a sea of red all around you.”
The capacity for hockey games at LCA is 20,000, including 9,000 in the lower bowl. The lower bowl at The Joe sat just 6,000.
“The majority of your crowd is going to have spectacular seats here, and then you’ll notice the overhang on the second level and the third level. It’s all designed to bring people as close to the action as they can be,” Wilson said.
Wilson added that NHL beat writers agreed the Bell Centre is the best place to watch a hockey game thanks to a gondola that hangs over the ice. LCA has a similar feature, which will provide fans a bird’s eye view of the action.
At The Joe, fans sometimes had to squint to make sense of the video board above center ice. That won’t be an issue at Little Caesars. The Jumbotron, which measures 44 feet on all sides, is the biggest in the NHL.
“One thing the Ilithches really wanted is for everybody to have the same experience here,” Wilson said. “If you’re in the least expensive ticket or the most expensive ticket, your video board’s exactly the same. If you’re in the end zone or on the sidelines, it’s exactly the same. The concessions are the same on the lower level and the upper level, same level of excellence.”