Detroit Pistons’ proposed return to the Michigan city has helped them become one of the biggest draws in the NBA basketball league.
Season ticket sales have skyrocketed in recent months since the switch to the under-construction Little Caesars Arena venue was announced, with the 402 premium courtside seats – which cost up to $70,400 (€65,700/£54,800) for the 41 home games – selling out in only a few weeks last month.
Kevin Grigg, the Pistons’ vice president of public relations, told the Detroit News newspaper that internal NBA data suggests the Pistons are now ranked No.2 for new season tickets. The newspaper reported that the Pistons are also likely to retain more than 80 per cent of season ticket holders from the 2016-17 season, according to team officials.
The Pistons deal to move to the city-owned 21,000-capacity Little Caesars Arena, which is set to open in September, is still moving through the approval process at the state and local government levels. The NBA also needs to approve the move.
The Pistons’ return to within the Detroit city limits is believed to have created the renewed buzz for tickets, despite a 43.6 per cent price increase. The NBA team will share its new home with the Detroit Red Wings NHL ice hockey team, and it will be the first time the Pistons will have its home court in Detroit since 1978. The team moved to its current home, The Palace of Auburn Hills, in 1988.
The lowest season ticket price for the Pistons’ debut season at the Little Caesars Arena is $616, while the cheapest full season ticket at The Palace cost only $429.
The most expensive non-courtside seats have also sold out at $13,200 each, a 65 per cent increase from the $8,000 they sold for last season.
Since the new arena has fewer corporate suites, the price hikes are among a number of steps to increase revenues for the Pistons.