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Rumors and speculation about the Detroit Pistons moving back into the city of Detroit has been ramping up for months, and Tuesday afternoon it was made official. The Detroit Pistons will be returning back to the city for which they are named.

The press conference was held at Cass Tech High School in the 6th floor media room, in the distance you could see the new Little Caesars Arena.

This is a huge deal from a city pride perspective because for the first time in 43 years all four Detroit sports teams will play within the city of Detroit, starting in September of 2018.

“This is a historic day for our franchise, and for the City of Detroit,” Pistons owner Tom Gores said. “We’re moving to a beautiful new arena that will provide a state-of-the-art fan experience, and we’re investing in the future of Detroit.”

There was a lot of back-slapping in the presentation, which is to be expected at events like this press conference. There’s a lot to unpack, so let’s get started.

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Money & Jobs

So sure, you’ve got the move of where the team plays. But there’s so much more than switching out some logos.

The Detroit Pistons will have to build a new practice facility and the corporate offices downtown. They currently do not have an exact location figured out yet.

There will have to be changes made to the design of the arena because hockey and basketball have different configurations. The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has agreed to contribute $34.5 million in order to cover the cost of  modifying Little Caesars Arena. If it costs more than that (which it will) the remainder will be paid for by the Pistons and Red Wings.

At least 50% of the funds from the DDA will come from refinancing the existing Tax Increment Revenue bonds from 2014. The remainder will be paid by extending the bonds by three years. One of the requirements that Mayor Duggan issued was that no money would be used from the City of Detroit’s general fund.

According to information provided, the developers estimate that the new facility and offices will generate an additional $596.2 million in estimated total economic impact in Metro Detroit and will also create more than 2,100 jobs.

There are still a lot of moving pieces to this arrangement, and technically the move isn’t finalized.

The NBA still needs to approve the move. The league’s board of Governors will have a meeting after the first of the year. There also will need to be sub-concession and other agreements between PS&E, Ilitch Holdings and the DDA.

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Entertainment Impacts

Another big deal is that many of Detroit’s top venues are now going to be managed by what will become a joint venture of Olympia Entertainment and Palace Sports & Entertainment.

This will place more than 100,000 seats of capacity across the Little Caesars Arena, the Fox Theatre, Comerica Park, the Palace of Auburn Hills (which some suspect will be soon demolished), DTE Energy Music Theatre, Meadow Brook Amphitheater and the Michigan Lottery Theater at Freedom Hill.

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Community Benefits

Developers also laid out a 10-point plan for community benefits.

  • Invest $2,500,000 over six years in the construction, renovation and refurbishment of more than 60 basketball courts in parks throughout the City of Detroit in partnership with the City of Detroit’s Recreation department.
  • Employment of at least 51% Detroit residents on the construction of the Practice Facility.
  • Awarding of at least 30% of the value of all construction contracts related to the Practice Facility to Detroit-based companies.
  • Participate in the Grow Detroit’s Young Talent summer jobs program.
  • Use commercially reasonable efforts to maximize post-construction employment opportunities with PS&E for City Residents.
  • Support workforce development initiatives for City Residents by donating $100,000 to Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation.
  • Partner with the Mayor’s Office to provide mentorship opportunities for young City Residents.
  • Host free youth basketball camps, clinics, and other events for City Residents to promote youth basketball and youth enrichment programs in the City.
  • Provide 20,000 free tickets per regular season to Detroit youth and residents to attend NBA basketball games, in support of and in connection with community educational programs and initiatives.
  • Appoint and maintain a liaison to meet, communicate, and engage regularly with the existing Little Caesars Arena Neighborhood Advisory Committee or, with respect to the practice facility, if necessary any other committee created by the City for purposes of engaging local residents, consistent with the City of Detroit’s community benefits ordinance.

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Social Media Reaction

The reaction was mostly positive to the move.