The allure’s gone. Every home game with three quarters of the Palace empty represents another harsh reminder that the Pistons must get out of there and return to downtown Detroit in a shared new arena arrangement with the Red Wings as quickly as possible.
Why would playing downtown make any difference?
It’s about habit. It’s about familiarity. The market the Pistons court is now more comfortable spending their time and disposable entertainment dollars downtown than they were 20 years ago — even if Auburn Hills is a closer destination.
I love Detroit. It would be cool to see the Pistons play downtown … if they didn’t have a great facility that is paid for and still one of the best in the league (and getting better, considering the upgrades being made there). This country has gone crazy with stadium-building, many of them at significant cost to taxpayers. I can’t speak for the Red Wings because I don’t follow hockey and, other than going to Monday Night Raw a couple of times when I was a teenager, don’t really know much about Joe Louis as a facility. But the Palace is completely fine. A new arena for the Pistons would be an unnecessary extravagance.
Poor attendance at the Palace has zero to do with where the arena was located. It has everything to do with a bad, boring product being put on the floor over the last four years. As the Pistons organization proved not too long ago when they were perennially among the league’s attendance leaders, if you put a good product on the floor, the building will be full every night.