Update (18. Jan, 8:26 AM): A point against the team moving to the Palace next year: the players themselves. As George Malik has pointed out (on the podcast, I believe), most of them live in parts of town from which a drive to Auburn Hills would be hugely inconvenient even if they didn’t have family responsibilities that the organization take seriously. That’s going to be a major factor.
Odds are, the Wings will renew because they’ve got a great situation with the city on the Joe right now. They’ll be at the Joe again next year. And probably the year after that. - Matt
The new kid on the Detroit hockey media block, Chris McCosky has an interesting piece today on the Wings arena situation and how it might related to the Pistons. I feel a need to say some things in response to a few parts.
Mike and Marian Ilitch, owners of the Red Wings, have not renewed their lease at Joe Louis Arena beyond this season, and face more than $10 million in structural repair at the dilapidated arena this summer if the team is to play there next season.
Nowhere in the article does McCosky say anything about the timeline the Wings are on for renewal. When’s the latest possible point they could renew? Seems like a basic fact in need of reporting.
After a paragraph introducing the idea of the Wings moving to the Palace short-term, McCosky throws out,
It might make more sense for the Wings to work a lease deal with Ford Field. If the Wings rented Ford Field, the Ilitches could keep all the ancillary revenue from their games in the city. However, there has not been talk between the parties to discuss that option.
That’s because it’s a crazy idea, Chris. The logistics of sharing a playing surface with a football team would be pretty difficult to overcome, I’d think.
On to moving to Auburn Hills:
Still, to move the Red Wings to North Oakland County could be risky. The core fan base is still Metro Detroit and Downriver. The Wings would rope in more corporate money by moving to The Palace, but would lose the Hockeytown atmosphere.
No kidding. Ask any fan if they want the Wings’ arena, whereever it is, if they want it to be more corporate. This is one thing in which we might have a say, at least with our dollars. No one’s going to want to make the hike to Auburn Hills and no one’s going to want to share the team with even more suits than we already see.
Soon McCosky leaves the topic of next season and looks ahead, suggesting the Wings and Pistons partner on a new arena. This is four sentences after pointing out that Mike Illitch reportedly doesn’t like the NBA.
But he does point this out:
With both organizations needing arenas in this economically-bereft region, it’s hard to imagine either being able to raise the money alone any time soon.
Good point, and one hard to ignore. But comparing the two teams’ relative need, it’s the Wings who’ll need to be going forward with an arena plan in the near future. The Pistons can wait. I’ll be overly optimistic and say the area might be in better shape for such building plans in the medium-range future.
One of the great benefits of the Wings’ current situation is that they don’t have to share the arena with anyone. Shows are scheduled around their games. There’s no emergency pulling up of one playing surface in favor of another. A partnership with the Pistons would be a nightmare.
Here’s hoping the Wings can find a way to build their own arena without needing the Pistons’ collaboration.