It looks as though Detroit is about to receive another bailout and could not have come at a better time for the struggling city. Karen Davidson, the owner of the Detroit Pistons, as well as Palace Sports & Entertainment Inc., Crain’s Detroit Business reports, have entered into negotiations to sell the team to Mike Ilitch. Ilitch (does anyone else think he looks a little like Al Davis?) also owns the Detroit Red Wings and Tigers as well as Little Caesars. The sale is expected to be final within the next 30 days.
Davidson had been quite vocal about wanting to sell the team before the season began. She inherited majority ownership in the team when her husband, Bill Davidson, passed away in March of 2009. Since January of this year she has expressed her interest in selling the team.
It is not yet known what Ilitch will pay to acquire the Pistons. Forbes valued the team at an estimate of $475 million so that will likely serve as a ballpark figure in which the two sides can work from. This deal would make Ilitch the only owner of three of the four major sports in the country. However, owning three teams could make it hard to focus on the caliber of each individual organization a la Tom Hicks when he owned the Texas Rangers, Dallas Stars and Liverpool F.C. congruently.
Not only can a change in owner ship be beneficial to the struggling Pistons, but a change of location may also be in the works for them. Ilitch and his organization are looking to replace the aging Joe Louis Arena, where the Red Wings play, with a new facility in downtown Detroit. With acquisition of the Pistons eminent, any new arena (where “Pizza! Pizza!” would sing from the concession stands) would likely house them as well thereby making a new arena more viable. This would relocate them from their present home, the Palace of Auburn Hills in suburban Detroit. Hopefully all of this can help revitalize both the Pistons and the city of Detroit.
With Ilitch purchasing the Pistons, the fate of the Sacramento Kings has grown grimmer. The Pistons were one of a small number of teams that were suggested as possible candidates to move to Las Vegas. With the organization firmly entrenched in Detroit for the foreseeable future, the Kings look more and more like a team on the move if the Silver State Arena is ever built on the Strip.