The Detroit Pistons brought a lot of opportunity with them when they finally moved downtown after years in the Palace of Auburn Hills.
The move has brought greater connection to the city of Detroit, as well as financial benefits, as fans who were once flocking to one of the richest suburbs in Michigan to watch games are now spending that money in the city.
Tom Gores and the Detroit Pistons made plenty of promises to the city in an effort to help rejuvenate an area that had long been neglected while getting some favorable treatment in exchange.
It should be a win-win for the team and the city of Detroit, though so far the move hasn’t brought any of the winning from the Palace days along with it.
But it has brought plenty of other benefits.
Pistons complete basketball court refurbishment project
One of the projects that was part of the move to downtown was the refurbishment of basketball courts, which just finished its sixth and final phase according to a press release from the team.
"“The 60-court program was one of several commitments the Pistons made in connection with the club’s return downtown in 2017. The final court was unveiled earlier today during a press event at Howarth Park. In addition to fulfilling the original commitment to resurface 60 basketball courts, the Pistons went a step further and created a yearly program to promote utilization of the newly renovated courts.”"
In addition to the refurbished courts, the team has made good on other parts of the initial 10-point plan that was also outlined in the release:
"Invested $2,500,000 over six years to renovate and refurbish more than 60 basketball courts in parks throughout the City of Detroit in partnership with the City of Detroit’s Recreation department.Complied with Detroit’s Executive Order 2016-1 on hiring residents and funding workforce training.Used commercially reasonable efforts to maximize post-construction employment opportunities with Pistons Sports & Entertainment for City Residents.Supported workforce development initiatives for City Residents by donating $100,000 to Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation.Partnered with the Mayor’s Office to provide mentorship opportunities for young City Residents.Participating in the Grow Detroit’s Young Talent summer jobs program.Hosting free youth basketball camps, clinics, and other events for City Residents to promote youth basketball and youth enrichment programs in the city.Providing 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."
Professional sports generate a whole lot of money, and teams are often given favorable tax rates and subsidies to build their arenas and stadiums, so these types of community initiatives should be seen more as obligation than charity, as teams benefit greatly from the cities that host them.
So it’s good to see the Detroit Pistons getting involved in the community that allows them to thrive.