Low attendance figures during last season’s Detroit Pistons and Red Wings’ games has pushed Little Caesars Arena to change the colour of its seats to mask the lack of fans.
During the 20,491-seat venue’s inaugural season, there were many complaints from fans about the bright red seats highlighting the low gate numbers for both the NBA and NHL teams.
As of December, permanent black seats will be installed at Little Caesars Arena and continuing for “a multi-month process,” according to a release.
After an inaugural season with many complaints about the bright red seats, Little Caesars Arena will be replacing them – permanently – with black ones. https://t.co/euGaC7H8Od pic.twitter.com/TBAkJRCT23
— The Detroit News (@detroitnews) October 9, 2018
In the meantime, the lower-bowl seats will be updated with black seat covers.
The work will be done during non-event times, meaning concert events and Pistons or Red Wings games will not be affected.
“We evaluated every aspect of arena operations during the inaugural year and after numerous discussions with the Pistons and other stakeholders, we have made the decision to install black seats at Little Caesars Arena,” said Chris Granger, group president of Sports & Entertainment for Ilitch Holdings, which owns the arena.
“When the Pistons agreed to move to downtown Detroit and play their home games at Little Caesars Arena, many design features were either finalised or already in production.
“We very much value our partnership with the Pistons organisation and have made this decision together.”
— Rod Beard (@detnewsRodBeard) October 9, 2018
While the main frame of the seats will not be new, new vinyl black exterior and foam interiors will be installed, according to an Olympia Entertainment spokesperson.
Last season, the red seats acted as an unwanted spotlight for Red Wings and Pistons officials and causing a public-relations nightmare.
Pistons average attendance during the 2017-18 season was 17,413, which is 83 per cent of the venue’s capacity. While the Red Wings saw an average of 19,515.
Olympia officials initially said fans were simply in the concourses and elsewhere in the building, but that became less convincing as the seasons continued and the number of empty red seats seemed only to increase.