By Dan Jenkins
DETROIT (CBS Detroit) — Plans for a new Detroit Red Wings arena were recently released, showing what owner Mike Ilitch hopes to be a thriving entertainment district the connects Downtown Detroit to Midtown.
The announcement of the new arena also brought with it many who think that the time is now for the city’s professional basketball team back come to the downtown area. Among those leading the charge is Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.
Duggan spoke on Sports Illustrated’s SI Now podcast and said that he thinks bringing the Detroit Pistons back to the city will benefit the area.
“I think most Pistons fans would like to see the Pistons come back from Oakland County and come down here,” Duggan said. “I even think Dan Gilbert would like to see the Pistons come downtown in his neighborhood. Hopefully I can get that done before my term is up.”
Gilbert, Detroit-based businessman and owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, has also advocated to move the team back to Detroit.
The Pistons have played at The Palace since it opened in 1988, and played at the Pontiac Silverdome before that, dating back to 1978. The Pistons moved to Detroit from Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1957 and shared Olympia Stadium with the Red Wings until the team moved again — to Cobo Arena — in 1961.
“You know, I would love to see it,” Duggan said. “The Gores family and the Pistons actually own the arena up in Auburn Hills which makes it a little more difficult, but if you look at the attendance for the Lions, the Tigers and the Red Wings downtown, and you look at the attendance for the Pistons up in Auburn Hills, I think they could benefit enormously.”
Pistons owner Tom Gores and his Platinum Equity Group recently finished a $40 million renovation of The Palace, which culminated in the unveiling of the arena’s new state-of-the-art scoreboard announced on Sunday.
“When we acquired PS&E three years ago we made a commitment to revitalize the business from top to bottom. We are making good on that promise by investing in the team, the facilities and the community,” said Detroit Pistons and PS&E principal owner Tom Gores. “We are providing our fans one of the most innovative, technologically advanced facilities in the country and the best game day experience possible.”