Detroit's NBA team to move to downtown arena

Tue Nov 22, 2016 6:37pm EST
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By Tim Branfalt

DETROIT (Reuters) - The Detroit Pistons basketball team will move to downtown Detroit starting next season, playing in an arena already under construction for the city's hockey team, officials from both teams said on Tuesday.

Tom Gores, owner of the National Basketball Association team that currently plays in the Detroit suburb of Auburn Hills, said the move will include construction of a practice facility and corporate headquarters.

Also attending the announcement were Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Ilitch Holdings Chief Executive Christopher Ilitch. The Ilitch family owns the National Hockey League's Detroit Red Wings, which is building the Little Caesars Arena at which both teams will play after it opens in September 2017.

Once the move is complete, Detroit will be the only U.S. city where all four major professional sports teams - which also includes the Detroit Tigers of Major League Baseball and the Detroit Lions of the National Football League - play their home games in the downtown city core.

"This is a historic day for our franchise, and for the city of Detroit," Gores said at a press conference.

Ilitch, whose family also owns Detroit's Major League Baseball team, called it a watershed moment for the city, which exited bankruptcy in December 2014.

The Pistons are in the team's 29th and final season at The Palace of Auburn Hills. The move is subject to NBA approval, which league Commissioner Adam Silver expects it to get.

Before then, formal legal agreements need to be finalized, officials said. In the meantime, they have various memoranda of understanding.   Continued...

Nov 22, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; A general view of the new Detroit Pistons and Detroit Red WIngs shared venue Little Caesars Arena from Cass Tech High School. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports