Exploring the Detroit Pistons’ downtown move through public records

The Pistons at Little Caesars Arena. Photo: Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images

We’re exploring the Pistons’ use of Little Caesars Arena in our regular public records feature this week.

Why it matters: The public contributed more than $300 million toward building LCA before it opened in 2017, which means public records are available to shed light on the arena’s operations.

Context: The Downtown Development Authority—a city-affiliated organization that promotes business growth—owns the arena and leases it to the Red Wings.

  • The Pistons entered into a sublease with the Red Wings to play home games at LCA when the team moved downtown.

What happened: We filed a Freedom of Information Act request on June 13 with the DDA for any Pistons leases on file and records showing the team’s financial performance or revenues.

  • The DDA responded June 21 with one document: a 2017 agreement adding the Pistons to the master contract between the DDA and the Red Wings.

💭 Joe’s thought bubble: The agreement isn’t groundbreaking. It lays out previously reported information that the Pistons needed about $35 million in public money to accommodate the move downtown.

What’s next: The DDA is a valuable resource for public information about LCA, so we’ll be filing more requests with them in the near future.


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