Report: “The Pistons Will Probably Be Gone” To Downtown Detroit Says Oakland County Exec

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It looks like we’re even closer to the Detroit Pistons moving to the new arena that’s rising on Woodward in downtown Detroit.

Crain’s Detroit Business is reporting that Detroit Pistons officials asked Oakland County to buy the Palace of Auburn Hills, where the Detroit Pistons play, in a $384 million buy-lease-back deal to the team. That’s basically where the county would own the arena and lease it back.

County officials, citing their fiscal responsibility, said no to the deal.

For context, Gores only paid $325 million for the team, the Palace, DTE Energy and a contract for Meadowbrook theatre. The deal would have had county pay him more money for that arena than what he paid for everything he bought.

A local government entity owning an arena then leasing it is an arrangement that’s very common in professional sports but would have forced the county to sell $270 million in bonds. The Palace was built for $90 million in 1988 out of then owner Bill Davidson’s own pocket. Self financing your own arena is pretty much unheard of in professional sports today.

“I think, if I was to guess, not based on any conversations but just reading the tea leaves, that the Pistons will probably be gone,” Patterson said Monday morning to Crain’s.

The move to downtown Detroit, in the “advanced stages of negotiation” according to multiple sources, could happen as early as 2018. More here.

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