In what has been one of the worst kept secrets in Detroit professional sports, the Pistons are reportedly in advanced negotiations to relocate to downtown Detroit.
Crains Detroit reports in an exclusive that the team is in advanced talks to build a 60,000-square-foot practice facility in the downtown area. The deal would be contingent on the franchise agreeing to share the new Little Caesars Arena with the Detroit Red Wings.
There has been speculation about a move downtown ever since Tom Gores purchased the Pistons. The team, once one of the league leaders in attendance during the team’s run from 2000-2008, has struggled to fill seats for the past eight seasons.
Gores hired Arn Tellem as a deal-making point person within the community, and many speculated his biggest job would be to work to get the team back into downtown Detroit and away from the suburbs of Auburn Hills.
For his part, Gores has never outright denied an interest in moving downtown, but said he was committed to the Palace for the foreseeable future. He has even put his money where his mouth is with $40 million in upgrades to the Palace since purchasing the team.
Little Caesars Arena, located at Woodward Avenue and I-75, is in the final stages of its $627.5 million construction and is scheduled to open in September 2017.
Crains reports that full-scale negotiations will need to sort out revenue splits, timing, suite leases, being branded as the home of both franchises among other issues.
Still, with this much momentum seemingly moving in that direction, it looks like the era of The Palace, which has been among the premier NBA arenas since it opened in 1988, is nearly over.