Photo of the Little Caesars Arena construction in downtown Detroit, Michigan.  

Image Credit: Rick Briggs (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Detroit Red Wings will move out of the storied Joe Louis Arena in 2017 and into new their digs; Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit, Michigan. The naming rights deal with Little Caesars was recently completed which will net the Red Wings organization $125 million over a 20 year period - just a little over $6 million per season. For those of you that don't already know, the Illitch family owns both the Detroit Red Wings and Little Caesars Pizza as well as Olympia Entertainment. The parent company; Illitch Holdings was founded in Detroit in 1999 by Mike and Marian Illitch. 

The arena is set to open in September of 2017 and is still under a heavy phase of construction. Construction costs are estimated to run in the neighborhood of $630 million. More than 50% of the arena's 19,000 seats will be located on the lower level of the arena. The Red Wings organization drew inspiration from the Bell Centre, home of the Montreal Canadiens, when designing the arena's layout. The seats at Little Caesars Arena will be much wider at 21 inches compared to the 18 inch seats at Joe Louis Arena. One of the most anticipated features of the new arena will be the new "Gondola style" seating area above the ice rink. Another highly anticipated addition is the rink level club seating for fans that allows them to watch the Detroit Red Wings players take the ice. (Similar to what the Dallas Cowboys offer at AT&T Stadium). 

Other new features will include a brand new practice facility for the Red Wings which will also be on site, an outdoor plaza for fans which will feature a massive video board for watching games and brand new retail shops and restaurants on the street level. There will be 60 private suites in the new arena and all 60 have been purchased for the 2017-2018 NHL season. 

The arena will be located off of Woodward Avenue and in the same vicinity as Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions and Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers. Meijer, St. Joseph Mercy Health System and Comerica Bank have recently been added to the list of sponsors for Little Caesars Arena. There are many Detroit Red Wings fans that are sad and angered to see the closing of Joe Louis Arena, one of the most historic arenas in NHL history. However, the Edmonton Oilers and New York Islanders have both ditched their old "barns" so it's wise for the Detroit Red Wings organization to keep up with this trend. There were rumors that the NBA's Detroit Pistons would be sharing Little Caesars Arena with the Red Wings but those rumors proved to be false. One cannot deny, however, that a downtown arena rather than in suburban Auburn Hills would likely lead to larger attendances for Detroit Pistons games. 




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