The Palace of Auburn Hills Still 'Palatial'

I swear I've done a post on this (or linked it in a MS) in the last two years, but I can't seem to find it via search, so I'm going to do it again. There actually isn't a more interesting time to look at The Palace the Pistons call home than following the rumors of the team moving back downtown and then -- after Tom Gores was hired and assured the team would be staying in Auburn Hills -- how fans and ticket sales would respond to this horrible, horrible team (that just beat the Lakers).

Our friend and commenter here Paul Swaney from Stadium Journey was one of the several hundred people to visit The Palace in February and he writes a very thorough review of the 24-year-old building and the experience that comes with it based on concessions, general atmosphere, the surrounding neighborhood, fans, access, return on investment, and anything else he felt like adding. It's a great review, so check it out.

The only area The Palace didn't score well is, not surprisingly, what we've made fun of all season (and I just did in the previous paragraph) -- attendance:

The biggest piece missing from the experience is from the fans. The reported attendance was just over 11,000 (so the arena was half full), but it felt like there were fewer than that. This is one drawback of having the largest capacity in the NBA.

Most importantly, there seemed to be no passion for the team. No outrage that the Pistons were playing like garbage on this particular night. Fans just seemed to sit and watch, blank-faced. I understand that it is hard to support a team during the down years, but that’s really when fans have a chance to show their dedication. Moreover, the Pistons are providing plenty of good incentives to see games, and the prices are some of the best I have seen in pro sports. It’s too bad that more fans aren’t taking advantage.

Overall, though, Swaney thinks the Palace is definitely worth the time, and I will always agree with that:

While this may be a down era for the Pistons basketball team, the arena experience continues to be stellar. Rising stars like Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight may help to make the Pistons a playoff contender, but in the meantime, a trip to The Palace is a good deal by NBA standards, and worth a visit.

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