By: Will Burchfield
@burchie_kid

The Pistons’ new arena looked a bit like their old one for Monday night’s game versus the Pelicans.

Thousands of shiny red seats in the lower bowl of Little Caesars Arena were draped in matte black seat covers that bore the logo of Art Van Furniture. For the Pistons, it’s part of a new multi-year corporate sponsorship with the Warren-based furniture company, said Kevin Grigg, the team’s VP of public relations.

Grigg confirmed the seat covers will remain in place moving forward.

“It gives us a chance to monetize inside the arena,” he said.

The Pistons’ inaugural season at Little Caesars Arena has been marked by scores of empty seats, made worse by the fact that their bright appearance jumps out on television. The black seat covers dull this effect. Their coverage area will remain in “selected lower-bowl sections,” Grigg said.

They will be used exclusively during Pistons games.

Per attendance data from ESPN, the Pistons rank 29th in the NBA in average capacity at 82.3 percent. Last year they ranked 30th at 72.4 percent — but the vacant black seats at The Palace weren’t as glaring.

While attendance has been scrutinized this season, the Pistons have seen a 29 percent year-over-year increase in turnstile count, Grigg said. They’ve also jumped from 25th to 19th in the NBA in average attendance.

The founder of Art Van, Art Van Elslander, passed away on Sunday at the age of 87. The Pistons had planned to announce their partnership with Art Van on Monday, Grigg said, but held off out of respect for Van Elslander.

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