Wednesday, October 06, 2010

New arena in Detroit? What's wrong with The Palace?

I have no issue with the Ilitch family likely buying the Pistons and The Palace. I like the idea in many ways. Think it is a good thing.
But I do disagree with some of the blatant media cheerleading that is going on in regard to the possibility of it leading to a new arena, to house both the Red Wings and the Pistons, near Comerica Park and Ford Field in Detroit.
First of all, there is nothing wrong with The Palace. It is still state-of-the-art and - by the way - paid for, and a new arena in Detroit isn't going to be discernibly better.
Secondly, I heard from a very solid source that 70 percent of those buying tickets to Piston games since they moved to The Palace are from Oakland County. And it's more than 60 percent for Red Wing games at Joe Louis Arena. Seems like the more prudent thing to do is move the Red Wings to The Palace for awhile - if Joe Louis Arena is deemed too out-of-date.
Also, anybody who thinks a new arena is going to solve any of Detroit's major ills has their head buried in the sand.
Detroit's problems have long been corrupt "pay to play" government, abandoned homes and neighborhoods, crime and a flagging school system. That's where the focus should be.
A new arena in Detroit would be akin to putting a fancy hood ornament on a rusted out '75 avocado green Chevy Vega.
If Ilitch wants to put an arena in Detroit with his own money, you know, like William Davidson did with The Palace in Auburn Hills, cool. But otherwise, taxpayers should be wary - at least for awhile.

Random Thoughts

- I don't put much credence in close-but-no cigar losses by the Lions. An 0-4 start is just that - four straight defeats. Period. But it's the perception of the fans matters here. Are they buying into the tight losses being improvement? I think a sign will come whether the Lions sellout their game Sunday against the Rams.

- Despite losing to Arizona, I still see Iowa as clearly the second best team in the Big Ten behind Ohio State. The Hawkeyes were impressive in dismantling Penn State. But it was at Iowa. Happy Valley remains an ominous place to visit. It will be difficult for either or Michigan or Michigan State to win there.



Anonymous Anonymous said...


Great points in your article about moving the pistons to the city. With my work in the commercial construction industry, I have been involved with all of the casinos and ford field. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think the city still isnt' thriving. Hell, The Greektown Casino filed for bankruptcy.

lil rob

3:40 PM 
Anonymous Michael C said...

The only thing I'm worried about is the buying of the Pistons limiting the amount of money the Tigers have to spend. I think they really need to spend aggressively this off-season if they're going to contend next year.

With Cabrera, Verlander, and Scherzer in their primes, this is NOT the time to cut payroll significantly.

4:10 PM 
Anonymous Todd said...


Ok your points on fans from Oakland county are valid. but can I state this for the record. I live in S.W. Wayne county. New Boston to be exact. I don't go to Piston games because it is to far away. I rarely go to Pine Knob( I am 44 so it is still Pine knob to me)because of the same reason. I do go to many Tiger and Wings games and it so much easier and convenient to go downtown than to go up north to see a game. I know Oakland county has all the money, but lets be fair and think about it, if you were to move the Pistons back downtown you would probably draw more downriver and Monroe County fans.


6:43 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

lil rob,
Detroit's issues run. Public money needed for some many reasons other than arenas. And Palace is state of the art.

9:54 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Michael C,
Spoken like true baseball, Tigers all that matters. LOL.

9:55 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

True enough. But numbers suggest more of the ticket buyers for both teams live closer to Palace than Downtown than your circumstances.

9:57 PM 
Anonymous Michael C said...

I'm happy for the Pistons in getting Illitch as an owner. But yes, I care more about the Tigers' payroll. :-)

10:40 PM 
Blogger Tiger Fan said...

Seriously? The parking at Palace sucks, it literally takes a good 45 minutes to leave the parking lot. As far as sopmewhere to go after the game? It's non existent in Auburn Hills. Really Pat Auburn Hills is not a city, it's field where they built an arena. Come back home boys, and I'll dig up Gus Sinaris to dance!

4:48 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Michael C,
I think a lot of fans of the Tigers or Red Wings wonder if the Pistons would drain their player payrolls. Doubt it, though. Pistons also have Palace entertainment - that means huge profits.

11:40 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Tiger fan,
My point has nothing to do with that. It's simply that there is a perfectly fine building in Auburn Hills already in place and paid for - and its close to fan base. No need to use taxpayer money for building.

11:42 AM 

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