Photo of the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit, Michigan. 

Image Credit: Ken Lund (CC BY-SA 2.0)

It has become common knowledge in the world of sports that new stadiums and arenas rarely yield the economic impact forecasted. Take for example, Paul Brown Stadium, home of the Cincinnati Bengals which created a debt Cincinnati taxpayers will have looming over their heads for years to come. And although the city of Detroit still has a fragile economy, hockey town's Joe Louis Arena has began to show it's age after it's 33rd season.

Hence, a proposal for a new venue that will possibly host both the Detroit Pistons and the Detroit Red Wings as tenants. The franchise has already selected an architect for the new arena in Detroit's downtown region; HKS who also helped construct the American Airlines Center in Dallas (home of the Dallas Stars and Dallas Mavericks). The Palace of Auburn Hills, home of the Pistons, has also seen better days as well and has been home to the Pistons since 1988. The arena also stands a good 40 minutes from downtown Detroit in the Auburn Hills suburb. Relocating to downtown would increase fan accessibility to the Pistons which means higher attendances and more revenue. Being able to split the rent with another professional franchise provides an even greater incentive for a new venue for both teams.

The Red Wings are still considering renewing their lease with Joe Louis Arena. Other possible options would be to temporarily play their home games at the Palace for a few seasons while awaiting the new arena's construction. The city of Detroit should love the idea of a new arena simply because of the businesses that would set up shop upon the arena's construction. Such businesses would likely include restaurants, hotels, retail and office spaces which means more jobs in a city with a sky-high unemployment rate. Yes, 'The Joe' has arguably more history than any other hockey venue standing today. But as other NHL arenas are being constructed (Barclays Center, Nationwide Arena, MTS Centre), the Detroit Red Wings will need to find a way to offer the same fan experience as other teams. 


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