District Detroit: The Most Compact Sports District In America Is Revitalizing Downtown Detroit – Forbes
On this Thanksgiving morning, residents of Detroit have much to be thankful for.
Rightfully so, and not just because the Lions are challenging the Vikings on Thanksgiving Day for NFC Central supremacy.
With the NBA’s Pistons announcing this week they will be relocating from Auburn Hills (34 miles north of downtown Detroit) to join the Red Wings in their new Little Caesars Arena, which itself is approximately a 5-6 block walk to both Comerica Park (home of the Tigers) and Ford Field (home of the Lions), Detroit’s burgeoning sports and entertainment district is about to become the most compact and voluminous of its kind in America.
By October 2017, each of the 4 professional Detroit sports teams will call downtown Detroit home, and each will be playing in amazing facilities. Little Caesars will obviously be a brand new and state-of-the-art, and I can personally attest to the quality of both Ford Field and Comerica Park (founded in 2002 and 2000, respectively). My firm has conducted studies in both those facilities, and they are wonderful facilities nestled perfectly in the heart of the city.
There are 13 cities in America with at least 4 pro teams spanning each of the 4 longest-standing sports leagues in North America. Among these 13 cities, only the metro New York area has held this distinction longer than Detroit. As you scan through the list below, none of these cities will have the same degree of compactness as Detroit will by this time next year.
|MSA||Market Size||Year Attaining 4||NFL||MLB||NBA||NHL|
|LA||2||2016||Rams||Dodgers, Angels||Lakers, Clippers||Kings, Ducks|
|Bay Area||6||1991||49ers, Raiders||Giants, Athletics||Warriors||Sharks|
|Chicago||3||1966||Bears||Cubs, White Sox||Bulls||Blackhawks|
|NYC||1||1946||Giants, Jets||Yankees, Mets||Knicks, Nets||Rangers, Islanders, Devils|
Other interesting aspects of the Pistons move:
- Pistons ownership and the Ilitch family (which owns the Tigers and Red Wings) will likely join forces and combine the concert businesses of Palace Sports & Entertainment and Olympia Entertainment. PS&E is the umbrella organization over the Pistons, the Palace (the soon-to-be former home of the Pistons) and other music venues.
- A future area of cooperation could come in the merger of the media rights of the Tigers, Red Wings and Pistons, which could eventually materialize into a regional sports network similar to the New York-based YES Network. The Major League Soccer franchise Gores and Quicken Loans founder and CEO Dan Gilbert are expected to lure downtown would likely go under any TV agreement.
Speaking of soccer, as noted above, Gores and Gilbert effort to pursue an expansion MLS franchise would simply add even greater density to the urban sports and entertainment business landscape in downtown Detroit, as the proposed site and MLS stadium complex would connect Greektown Entertainment District, Eastern Market, Comerica Park, Ford Field, and Little Caesars Arena.
Make no mistake. Urban revitalization requires (1) a white knight, and (2) reasons for local citizens to live, work, and play in/near the area which requires revitalization.
From where I stand, it would appear downtown Detroit as numerous white knights (Ilitch family, Dan Gilbert, Tom Gores), all of whom are committed to rebuilding and redefining the story of their city.
And with the combination of the sports, entertainment, and other development projects which are afoot, downtown Detroit will become a happening, vibrant place to live, work, and play in the very near future.