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With last week’s announcement that the Detroit Pistons would move back to home for the 2017 season, economists continue to stringently study the economic implications for the city, while business leaders and sports fans salivate over the socio-economic impact on Detroit.

The Pistons will move to downtown Detroit and begin playing at the new Little Caesars Arena starting next season, in The District Detroit. With the Pistons and Red Wings playing under one roof just blocks from the Tigers’ Comerica Park, and Ford Field, home to the Lions, Detroit will be the only North American city to have each of the four major professional sports leagues housed within four blocks in its urban core. The sports conclave is situated in The District.

The District Detroit is one of the largest sports and entertainment developments in the country. Located in the heart of Detroit, this 50-block, mixed-use development led by the Ilitch organization unites six world-class theaters, five neighborhoods and three professional sports venues in one vibrant, walkable destination for people who want to live, work and play in an exciting urban environment. Home to the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Pistons and Detroit Lions – The District Detroit represents the greatest density of professional sports teams in one downtown core in the country. Learn more at http://www.DistrictDetroit.com

The move includes construction of a new state-of-the-art Pistons practice facility and corporate headquarters that will bring substantial new investment and economic activity to the city, and a comprehensive community benefits plan that will bring millions of dollars more into Detroit neighborhoods.

“I’ve always believed that a sports franchise is a community asset with the power to unite and inspire people,” said Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores. “There’s a big responsibility that goes with that, but there’s also a big payoff. Not just for the city of Detroit, but for the whole region. Detroit is rising, reinventing itself. The Pistons are doing the same. We’re in this together, and we couldn’t be more excited about that.”

Community Benefits for City of Detroit

The agreement with the city also includes a 10-point community benefits plan that will create jobs and bring millions of dollars of investment into Detroit neighborhoods.

“I’ve always said that the Pistons are a community asset,” Mr. Gores said. “My responsibility as owner is to make sure we are not only successful on the court, but off it as well. These initiatives will help us do that.”

Under the plan, the Pistons organization agrees to:

  1. 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.
  2. Employment of at least 51% Detroit residents on the construction of the Practice Facility.
  3. Awarding of at least 30% of the value of all construction contracts related to the Practice Facility to Detroit-based companies.
  4. Use commercially reasonable efforts to maximize post-construction employment opportunities with PS&E for City Residents.
  5. Support workforce development initiatives for City Residents by donating $100,000 to Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation.
  6. Partner with the Mayor’s Office to provide mentorship opportunities for young City Residents.
  7. Participate in the Grow Detroit’s Young Talent summer jobs program.
  8. Host free youth basketball camps, clinics, and other events for City Residents to promote youth basketball and youth enrichment programs in the City.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

Support for the neighborhood initiative and jobs program will build on the significant philanthropic investments Mr. Gores, Palace Sports & Entertainment and the Pistons Foundation have already made in Detroit through partnerships with organizations like GROW Detroit’s Young Talent, the Detroit Police Athletic League, the S.A.Y. Detroit Play Center at Lipke Park, City Year Detroit, Dave Bing’s BINGO Mentoring Program, the Jalen Rose Youth Leadership Academy and Forgotten Harvest.

Little Caesars Arena

Construction of Little Caesars Arena is on track for a September 2017 opening and the centralized location will make Pistons games more accessible to more fans in more parts of Southeast Michigan.

Christopher Ilitch described the announcement as a watershed moment for the city, region and state.

“Tom Gores and the Pistons will contribute tremendously toward the incredible, positive momentum underway in Detroit, making our city stronger, which benefits residents, businesses and visitors not only in the city, but also across our region and state,” he said. “This is a bold move that will have a positive effect throughout our entire community.”

From an economic standpoint, the move by the Pistons will provide substantial benefits to the local economy, which is already getting a shot in the arm from The District Detroit, a $1.2 billion sports and entertainment development.


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