Detroit Pistons Arena to Undergo Renovations

July 12, 2012

Palace of Auburn Hills has announced renovations to the Detroit Pistons home focusing on improving fan-friendly technology and social interaction.

Palace Sports & Entertainment launched a $13 million-plus overhaul of the 24-year-old arena.

Among the areas targeted for overhaul — complete with new navy-blue accents — are the arena’s main concourse, clinic 100-level suite corridor and Club West bar and restaurant.

Forty lower-level suites will be renovated, cialis and 16 of the 80 third-level suites will be eliminated to create a full-service, ambulance open-air lounge on the Palace’s stage-facing end.

Another 16 of those third-level suites may eventually make way for what Palace CEO Dennis Mannion called an “innovations lab,” where companies such as Ticketmaster and Internet providers could create interactive programs for fans.

The moves reflect a broader rethink in the U.S. arena business, which in the 1980s turned to corporate suites as a key revenue source.

“It’s just changing, and that’s driven by technology rather than economy,” Mannion said. “Suites were largely developed at a time when corporate spending was big on hospitality. Even when it still is, they want something attached to it that gives bigger bang for the buck.”

Also in the works is arena-wide wireless service. Digital boards on the concourse and new screens inside suites will let fans publicly interact via text messaging.

“It’s always been about relevance, which drives the relationship you have with fans. We have to stay current, from food offerings to ticket offerings to in-game entertainment,” Mannion said. “Relevance leads to bigger, deeper relationships, which obviously translates into revenue.”

The work is expected to be finished by the start of the NBA season in October. It’s the latest phase in an ongoing makeover that began with last year’s renovation of the West Atrium, locker rooms and offices.

The project is the biggest enhancement at the Palace since completion of the $30 million Comcast Pavilion in 2006.

“We know it starts with good product — the team on the court has to be good, the performers onstage have to be good,” said Mannion. “But I want to make sure the accoutrements around it are first-class.”