The Palace of Auburn Hills
|The Palace of Auburn Hills|
|Location||6 Championship Drive
Auburn Hills, MI 48326
|Broke ground||June 7, 1986|
|Opened||August 13, 1988|
|Operator||Palace Sports and Entertainment|
|Construction cost||$70 million
($138 million in 2013 dollars)
|Project manager||Frank Rewold and Sons|
|Structural engineer||McClerg & Associates Inc.|
|General contractor||R.E. Dailey & Company|
|Detroit Pistons (NBA) (1988–present)
Detroit Shock (WNBA) (1998–2009)
Detroit Vipers (IHL) (1994–2001)
Detroit Safari (CISL) (1994–1997)
Detroit Rockers (NPSL) (1997–2000)
Detroit Fury (AFL) (2001-2004)
The Palace of Auburn Hills (commonly referred to as The Palace) is a sports and entertainment venue in Auburn Hills, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. Opening in 1988, it is the home of the Detroit Pistons, of the NBA. It was the home of the Detroit Shock, of the WNBA, the Detroit Vipers, of the IHL, the Detroit Safari, of the CISL and the Detroit Fury, of the AFL.
From 1957 to 1978, the Pistons competed in Detroit's Olympia Stadium and Cobo Arena. In 1978, owner Bill Davidson elected not to share the new Joe Louis Arena with the Detroit Red Wings, and instead chose to relocate the team to the Pontiac Silverdome, a venue constructed for football, where they remained for the next decade. While the Silverdome could accommodate massive crowds, it offered substandard sight lines for basketball viewing. A group led by Davidson bought vacant land in Auburn Hills from Joseph Shewach and built The Palace there for the relatively low cost of $70 million, using entirely private funding. The Davidson family held a controlling interest in the arena until Tom Gores purchased majority share in 2011.
The arena opened in time for the Pistons' first NBA championship season, in 1988–1989. Since then, when one of The Palace's basketball occupants has won a championship, the number on its address has changed. Its current address is 6 Championship Drive, reflecting the Pistons' three NBA titles and the Detroit Shock's three WNBA titles (the Detroit Vipers' 1997 Turner Cup championship has not been officially recognized in the arena's address; the address also remained unchanged despite the Shock's move to Tulsa, Oklahoma in 2010). The original address was 3777 Lapeer Road.
The Palace was the site of an assassination attempt on Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, while he was on tour, with former band mate Robert Plant, during their No Quarter Tour. On March 31, 1995, Lance Alworth Cunningham, a 23-year-old, who thought that Led Zeppelin music contained "satanic messages", tried rushing the stage with a knife. He waited until the song "Kashmir" started and then made his charge for the stage, waving the weapon. The man was tackled by patrons and security about 50 feet from the stage.
Madonna performed two sold–out shows during her Drowned World Tour on August 25–26, 2001. The shows were recorded and broadcast live on HBO and were later released as a DVD, entitled Drowned World Tour 2001.
The Palace played host to the politically motivated Vote for Change Tour on October 3, 2004, featuring performances by My Morning Jacket, Jurassic 5, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals and The Dave Matthews Band, with unannounced guest Neil Young.
Three Days Grace performed during their One-X Tour on March 21, 2008, with Seether and Breaking Benjamin as their opening acts. The show was recorded and released as their first DVD, entitled Live at the Palace 2008. TDG dedicated this sold–out performance and DVD to their manager, Stuart Sobol, who had recently died.
"The Malice at the Palace"
On November 19, 2004, a fight broke out between members of the NBA's Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers. As the on-court fight died down, a fan threw a cup of Diet Coke at Pacers forward Ron Artest, who then rushed into the crowd, sparking a melee between players and spectators. The fight resulted in the suspension of nine players, criminal charges against five players, and criminal charges against five spectators. The offending fans were banned from attending games at The Palace. In the aftermath of the fight, the NBA decided to increase the security presence between players and spectators. The fact that the fight took place at The Palace of Auburn Hills led it become colloquially referred to as "The Malice at the Palace" and "Basketbrawl".
The Palace was also the site of a brawl between the WNBA's Shock and Sparks on July 21, 2008.
Then-Pistons owner William Davidson and two developers privately financed the $90 million construction of The Palace, and did not have to use public funds.
The Palace of Auburn Hills has the largest capacity in the NBA (22,076), which has helped the Pistons to record the league's highest home attendance from 2002 to 2008. The Palace's large seating capacity of up to 24,276 for center-stage concerts and suburban location have made it very popular for large concerts and major boxing matches.
The Palace was built with 180 luxury suites, considered an exorbitant number when it opened, but it has consistently managed to lease virtually all of them. In December 2005, the Palace added five underground luxury suites, each containing 450 square feet (42 m2) of space and renting for $450,000 per year. Eight more luxury suites, also located below arena level, were opened in February 2006. They range in size from 800 to 1,200 square feet (74 to 110 m2) and rent for $350,000 annually. The architectural design of the Palace, including its multiple tiers of luxury suites, has been used as the basis for many other professional sports arenas in North America since its construction, including the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, also designed by Rossetti Associates.
The Palace is widely considered to be the first of the modern-style NBA arenas, and its large number of luxury suites was a major reason for the building boom of new NBA arenas in the 1990s. Although The Palace is now one of the oldest arenas in the NBA, the Pistons have shown little interest in replacing it, as its foresighted design contains the amenities that most NBA teams have sought in new arenas. By contrast, of the other NBA venues that opened in 1988-89, Amway Arena, Charlotte Coliseum, and Miami Arena have been demolished, while the Bradley Center and Power Balance Pavilion are either undergoing major renovations or slated for replacement. All of these arenas were rendered obsolete by the lack of luxury suites and club seating, lucrative revenue-generating features that made pro sports teams financially successful in order to remain competitive long-term, and also being located in suburban rather than downtown areas (The Palace, however, has remained one of the successful suburban arenas).
Nonetheless, Palace Sports & Entertainment (PS&E) has spent $117.5 million in upgrades and renovations to keep the arena updated. A new High-Definition JumboTron monitor, new LED video monitors, and more than 950 feet (290 m) of ribbon display technology from Daktronics was installed in the mid-2000s.
The Pistons court was previously named the "William Davidson Court", in honor of the late owner, prior to the home opener on October 28, 2009; however, Davidson's signature, along with the retired numbers, were removed from the hardwood when Tom Gores took over ownership of the Palace, and were re-retired instead atop the Palace rafters as replacement banners.
One trend that the arena has not partaken in is that of selling its naming rights to a sponsor; it is one of four NBA arenas that has not done so. The Palace is just one of eight basketball arenas owned by their respective NBA franchise.
The Palace has several different types of banners hanging from its rafters. These include all time great Pistons, both Pistons and Shock team achievements.
- William Davidson
- Jack McCloskey
- 2 Chuck Daly
- 4 Joe Dumars
- 10 Dennis Rodman
- 11 Isiah Thomas
- 15 Vinnie Johnson
- 16 Bob Lanier
- 21 Dave Bing
- 40 Bill Laimbeer
Team accomplishments: Detroit Pistons:
- 1988–89 Eastern Conference Champions
- 1988–89 NBA Champions
- 1989–90 Eastern Conference Champions
- 1989–90 NBA Champions
- 2001–02 Central Division Champions
- 2002–03 Central Division Champions
- 2003–04 Eastern Conference Champions
- 2003–04 NBA Champions
- 2004–05 Eastern Conference Champions
- 2004–05 Central Division Champions
- 2005–06 Central Division Champions
- 2006–07 Central Division Champions
- 2007–08 Central Division Champions
- 2003 WNBA Champions
- 2006 WNBA Champions
- 2008 WNBA Champions
(After the Shock relocated to Tulsa, a banner honoring the Detroit Shock's championships was unveiled in the BOK Center).
Musical acts: In 2008, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the arena, it was announced that The Palace would be raising banners to the ceiling for musical acts that have had multiple sold-out shows at venues owned by Palace Sports & Entertainment. Bon Jovi was the first to get a banner, in February, followed by Neil Diamond, in July. In addition, these artists received banners outside the building on lightpoles along with other members of Palace Sports & Entertainment's most attended acts, including Kid Rock, Bob Seger, Dave Matthews Band, Barenaked Ladies, Van Halen, Rod Stewart, Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne, Tim McGraw, Jimmy Buffett and Britney Spears.
- Haynes, Geoffrey (June 7, 1986). "Pistons Plan to Vacate Silverdome for Auburn Hills". The Argus-Press. Retrieved February 20, 2012.
- Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2013. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
- Hinckley, David (April 5, 1995). "Extra! Extra! Late-breaking News From The World Of Entertainment". Daily News (New York).
- Pistons spend big to land the big spenders, by John Lombardo / Sports Business Journal Staff writer, published 28 February 2005
- "Last of its kind: Charlotte Coliseum to be demolished Sunday". ESPN.
- "Nothin' But Profit: Winning no longer key to new NBA". Seattle Post-Intelligencer.[dead link]
- "PISTONS: The Palace of Auburn Hills Installs Light Emitting Diode Boards in Arena".
- Official site of The Palace of Auburn Hills
- Aerial view from Google Maps
- Aerial photo from USGS via Microsoft Research Maps
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Palace of Auburn Hills.|
|Events and tenants|
|Home of the
1988 – present
|Home of the
BOK Center (as Tulsa Shock)
DeSoto Civic Center
|Host of Slammiversary
TNA Impact! Zone