There has been much fanfare in Metro Detroit about the $863 million new stadium downtown that serves as the new home for both the Red Wings and the Pistons, which was paid for in part by $324 million in public money from the city and the state. The stadium, which is named after cheap pizza, is by all accounts beautiful and state-of-the-art, but also seems to already be struggling to get fans in its seats. During the Pistons’ home opener tonight, the lack of a crowd has been impossible to ignore.
When there’s a relatively meaningless game in a brand-new facility, plenty of attendees will be more interested in checking out the new home than the on-court action. That’s how the Red Wings explained all the visible empty seats at their own opener.
However, even if the striking images don’t quite reflect the number of tickets sold, the Pistons and their promotional partners were clearly still trying to move tickets right up until tip-off. Here’s part of an email from Quicken Loans (whose chairman, Dan Gilbert, is one of the most prominent figures of the “Detroit Revival”), sent at 4:58 p.m Eastern today, that let people know they could get 50 free tickets to tonight’s game.
We reached out for comment from both Quicken and the Pistons, asking about the number of tickets sold for tonight’s game, as well as any ticket promotions. We’ll update if they respond.
In the meantime, here’s some more empty, bloated taxpayer-funded stadium porn:
Official team outlets, meanwhile, appear to be going out of their way to avoid any pictures that might show an empty crowd:
Update (8:27 p.m. EST): Here’s how the Detroit broadcast looked at the start of the second half: