Following a series of changes to the franchise’s hierarchy, many are wondering if the Detroit Pistons will eventually make a move to downtown Detroit.
Over the weekend, it was confirmed that Dennis Mannion will no longer serve as president CEO of Palace Sports & Entertainment. As Mannion transitions into an advisory roll, the Pistons will turn their business operations over to Arn Tellum and Bob Wentworth.
This move comes at an interesting point for the Pistons. Recent reports have indicated that owner Tom Gores is looking into the possibility of vacating the aging The Palace of Auburn Hills, and moving into downtown Detroit. In that scenario, the team could wind up moving into Little Caesars Arena, the future home of the Detroit Red Wings that is slated to open next fall.
There have been discussions off and on in recent years about the Pistons making such a move, but a shift to downtown Detroit has never been a certainty. Mainly the Pistons want to seek a favorable solution, one that will not significantly reduce the franchise’s viability by relegating it to an unfavorable lease. There are some striking cases of buyer’s remorse–or perhaps, more accurately renter’s remorse–in major sports, and the Pistons want to avoid that situation.
Still it seems that for right now, a move to downtown Detroit cannot be ruled out, especially if the Pistons can satisfy certain terms. More from the Detroit Free Press:
When rumors of the Pistons moving have bubbled to the surface in the past, Platinum Equity spokesman Mark Barnhill has said three criteria must be met to even consider such a move:
■The Pistons must be an equal partner in the new arena, not just a tenant.
■ The Pistons want to get a return on the substantial improvements made to the Palace of Auburn Hills since Gores bought the team.
■ The Pistons have to ensure that the move doesn’t negatively impact season-ticket holders and sponsors.
When reached Saturday morning, Barnhill declined to comment on speculation about a move downtown and negotiations with the Ilitch family, which owns Olympia, the Red Wings and the Tigers.
Gores confirmed to reporters last month that the organization is “assessing” a possible move downtown.
The Palace of Auburn Hills first opened in 1988. It is tied with the soon-to-be-replaced Bradley Center in Milwaukee as the fourth-oldest arena in the NBA.