For the first time since 1978, the Detroit Pistons will play basketball in the city of Detroit. The team announced on Tuesday that they would begin playing games within city limits beginning next season. It’s a big win for citizens of the city and basketball as a whole. All four of the Detroit’s professional sports franchises will be located in downtown Detroit, a mere stone’s throw from each other. The team will share the Red Wings’ new home, Little Caesars Arena. The inclusion of the Detroit Pistons in the state of the art arena and entertainment complex known simply as, The District, means that downtown Detroit will be popping almost every single day/night of the year.
Not everyone is thrilled about the idea, however. Though it may seem like a no-brainer that the Detroit Pistons should maybe actually be located in the city they are named for, there are some people who think that the move is just a money grab for team owner, Tom Gores. So let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of the Pistons’ move to Detroit.
– The first pro is one that I’ve already touched on. The Pistons will now call Little Caesars Arena home and will be located in less than a mile from both Comerica Park and Ford Field. This will be an premier destination for people in Southeast Michigan and the entire state and will be a centerpiece of downtown Detroit.
– The major pro here is that the Detroit Pistons will now be located in the actual city of Detroit. Since 1978 they have played at The Palace of Auburn Hills, almost 30 miles from the city that the team claims to represent. It’ll be nice for the team to stop lying about what city they are from. It just makes sense to come back home.
– Team owner, Tom Gores, has pledged that the team will be committed to helping the city of Detroit grow and prosper. He has highlighted a 10-point plan that will underscore the team’s commitment to the city. This plan including funding for the construction of 60 community basketball courts over the next 6 years, providing 20,000 free tickets per season to Detroit youth and residents, and employment of Detroit residents in the construction of the team’s new practice facilities in the city, among other things.
– The Pistons will be leaving behind a perfectly good and beautiful facility in Auburn Hills. The Palace was opened in 1988, relatively new as far as modern arenas go. It’ll be a shame to see it go. There was a time not so long ago when the team sold out 235 consecutive games, during the Pistons’ last dominant run with Chauncey Billups and co. The Palace used to be one the most rocking basketball venues in the game. Thankfully the arena will be quickly demolished and redeveloped, avoiding a fate similar to that of the Pontiac Silverdome, which still sits vacant since the Lions left in 2002.
– The major con that I see for this move it that somehow Tom Gores convinced the city of Detroit’s downtown development authority to foot the $34 million dollar bill for converting Little Caesars Arena from a hockey only venue to a hockey/basketball venue. I’m sure the city sees it as a good investment considering the amount of money that will come in with having another major sports team, and they’re probably right. But that just adds on to the already enormous amount of public funding that the new arena has received (a couple hundred million at least), and helping to pay for billionaire’s stadiums never seems like that good of an idea.
There are always going to be conflicting opinions when something like this happens. The Detroit Pistons’ move from Auburn Hills to Detroit will be sure to help some people and hurt others. But with the renaissance that is currently happening in downtown Detroit, the time is ripe for the team to move back to its original home. After years of losing citizens and resources, people are finally starting to flock back to the city. It’s only right that the last holdout of the flight from Detroit (at least as far as sports teams go) comes back home and bring some truth to those famous words…