Little Caesars Arena

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Little Caesars Arena
The Baddest Bowl[1]
Little Caesars Arena logo.png
Former names Detroit Events Center (working title)[2]
Address 2645 Woodward Avenue[3]
Location Detroit, Michigan[3]
Coordinates 42°20′28.22″N 83°3′17.68″W / 42.3411722°N 83.0549111°W / 42.3411722; -83.0549111Coordinates: 42°20′28.22″N 83°3′17.68″W / 42.3411722°N 83.0549111°W / 42.3411722; -83.0549111
Public transit QLine Sproat Street/Adelaide Street[4]
Owner Downtown Development Authority[5]
Operator Olympia Entertainment[6]
Executive suites 60[7]
Capacity Ice Hockey: 20,000[2]
Basketball: 21,000[2]
Concerts: 15,000–22,000[2]
Broke ground September 25, 2014[8]
Opened September 5, 2017[14]
Construction cost $862.9 million[9]
Architect HOK[10]
Structural engineer Magnusson Klemencic Associates[11]
Services engineer Smith Seckman Reid, Inc.[12]
General contractor Barton Malow/Hunt/White[13]
Detroit Red Wings (NHL) (2017–present)
Detroit Pistons (NBA) (2017–present)

Little Caesars Arena is a multi-purpose arena in Midtown Detroit. Construction began on April 24, 2015 following a formal groundbreaking ceremony on September 25, 2014. Opened on September 5, 2017, the arena, which cost $862.9 million to construct, succeeded both Joe Louis Arena and The Palace of Auburn Hills as the homes of the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League (NHL) and the Detroit Pistons of the National Basketball Association (NBA), respectively.

The arena features a unique, glass-roofed concourse connecting it to offices and shops surrounding it, it will anchor a new $2.1 billion 650,000-square-foot (60,000 m2) sports and entertainment district in and around downtown Detroit that will include mixed-use neighborhoods with new residential and retail outlets located around the Cass Corridor, Ford Field and Comerica Park.


Interior of Little Caesars Arena.

Little Caesars Arena was designed by HOK, and features a unique "deconstructed" layout. Buildings housing retail outlets, the arena's box office, and the offices of the Red Wings are built outside the arena, but a glass roof is erected between the buildings and the arena itself, the roof forms an indoor "street" that serves as the arena's concourse.[13] The concourse will remain open year-round, even if an event is not occurring inside the arena, allowing it to also be used as a venue of its own.[13] There is also an outdoor plaza with a large video display.[15]

The eight-story arena is built as a bowl, with its floor 40 feet (12 m) below street level with seating capacities of 20,000 for ice hockey and 21,000 for basketball.[2][16] The bowl also features a "gondola" seating level suspended above the stands,[15] the exterior of the bowl structure is capable of displaying video projections.[15] A 37,300-square-foot (3,470 m2) practice ice rink is also inside the arena. In addition to serving as the practice facility for the Red Wings, the rink serves as the home of both Little Caesars AAA Hockey Club and Little Caesars Amateur Hockey League as well.[17][18]

The Bell Centre in Montreal has been cited to be one of the biggest influences of the arena's design.[19][20] Christopher Ilitch described the arena's design as being "revolutionary", and believes that it may influence future arena designs in other cities.[13][21]

The arena features the largest centerhung scoreboard in the world, measuring at 5,100 square feet, the arena also features 45 LED displays covering more than 13,500 square feet and 16.5 million plus LEDs in and around it.[22]


Rumors and announcement[edit]

Comerica Park and Ford Field (pictured) will be incorporated into a "Wildcat Corner" district near the new arena.

It was reported in May 2012 that the Red Wings had hired HKS, Inc. and NBBJ to design a new arena for the team, which would replace the 33-year-old Joe Louis Arena as their home ice.[23] The new arena will be owned by the city's Downtown Development Authority and its land will be leased to Olympia Entertainment, a subsidiary of the Red Wings' parent company, Ilitch Holdings, rent free for a long term. Olympia will have full operational control of the arena, an arrangement similar to the one Olympia had with the city-owned Joe Louis Arena.[5][24] Sales of game tickets, parking, concessions, souvenirs, and any potential naming rights deals will not be subject to revenue sharing with the City of Detroit as they are with Joe Louis Arena, the city earned an average of $7 million per year through these revenue sharing agreements.[25]

Olympia Entertainment officially announced in December 2012 its intention to develop a new district in downtown Detroit composed of offices, residential facilities, and "a new state-of-the-art, multi-purpose events center", with an estimated cost of $650 million;[26] in June 2013, the Downtown Development Authority officially announced the location of the new Detroit Red Wings arena and entertainment district.[27] On July 24, 2013, the Michigan Strategic Fund approved the Downtown Development Authority's request for $650 million in funding.[28]

Christopher Ilitch unveiled renderings of the new arena and entertainment district on July 20, 2014, which will be known as "The District Detroit",[13] he explained that the project's goal was to "build out a sports and entertainment district that is world-class and rivals anything in the country, perhaps the world." The district, which will complement the QLINE streetcar, will primarily be built on vacant land near the Cass Corridor along Woodward Avenue, and will incorporate five distinct neighborhoods with new residential and apartment units and European-influenced designs. The district will also feature a hotel, new restaurants, and new retail outlets. Olympia Development will fund the refurbishment of public infrastructure around the arena district, such as street lighting, sidewalks, and paving.[21] One of the neighborhoods, referred to by Ilitch as "Wildcat Corner", will incorporate the area occupied by the Tigers and Lions' home venues of Comerica Park and Ford Field, respectively, and replace several parking lots with new apartment complexes featuring street-level retail outlets.[13]

Ilitch emphasized the impact of the arena district project would have on Detroit's economy: the new facilities will result in 1,000 new jobs in the city, and 8,300 new jobs will be created for the construction process—Olympia Developments has committed to having 51% of the construction jobs filled by residents of Detroit. Additionally, two Michigan-based contractors will be among those working on the arena, and 80% of the materials used in the construction of the arena will also be sourced from Michigan-based companies when possible.[21]

Olympia Entertainment CEO Tom Wilson described an intent for the arena to be an "epicenter" for hockey, prospecting it as a site for events and tournaments at the college and junior levels such as the IIHF World Junior Championship and the Memorial Cup.[29] Wilson also stated its commitment to continue hosting the annual collegiate Great Lakes Invitational at the arena, provided the universities involved maintained their desire to participate.[30]


Construction in progress in June 2016.

A formal groundbreaking ceremony was held at the arena site on September 25, 2014,[8] the arena is scheduled to be completed by September 2017. Following the completion of the new arena, Joe Louis Arena will be demolished, and its former site will be redeveloped into a hotel and retail complex, the sale of the Joe Louis Arena site comes as part of a bankruptcy settlement between the Financial Guaranty Insurance Company and the city of Detroit.[13][31]

Mass excavation at the arena site began on April 24, 2015, a few days after Detroit City Council approved a zoning change, allowing vertical construction to officially commence.[32][33][34]

The Detroit Historic District Commission approved the demolition of the Park Avenue Hotel on June 10, 2015 to make room for what will be the arena's loading dock.[35] Olympia Development claimed that the Park Avenue Hotel stood in a high-security area.[36] A demolition permit was issued on June 22, 2015. Detroit-based Adamo Demolition was the contractor listed on the permit,[37] despite protests, the building was imploded on July 11, 2015.[38][39][40][41] On August 30, 2015, Olympia Entertainment announced that an estimated 488,000 cubic yards of soil had been excavated in recent months for the below-grade bowl, and hundreds of deep pier foundations were being drilled and filled with concrete through September, the steel frame of the arena began to go up in late fall.[42]

Construction of the ice surface began on January 5, 2017,[43] on February 16, 2017, various construction changes began inside the arena in order to accommodate the Detroit Pistons.[44] Construction of the ice rink began on March 8, 2017.[45]

Little Caesars Arena opened on September 5, 2017 with a ribbon cutting ceremony.[14]

Pistons' move[edit]

In late October 2016, it was reported that the Detroit Pistons were considering a move from The Palace of Auburn Hills to Little Caesars Arena as soon as the 2017–18 season, pending city and league approval.[46][47] Pistons owner Tom Gores, Palace Sports & Entertainment vice chairman Arn Tellum, and Olympia Entertainment had been in negotiations over a partnership since the summer of 2015, with talks intensifying just as the Pistons were set to open their 2016–17 season; the terms may also include a possible merger between Olympia and the Pistons' holding company Palace Sports & Entertainment.[48] The team also sought land to construct a new headquarters and practice facility within the vicinity of the arena.[48]

On November 22, 2016, it was officially announced that the Pistons would move to Little Caesars Arena starting with the 2017–18 season.[49][50][51]

On June 20, 2017, Detroit City Council approved the Pistons' move to Little Caesars Arena,[52] on August 3, 2017, it was announced that the NBA Board of Governors unanimously approved the move, which made it official.[53][54] This marks the first time since 1974 that all four major sports teams have played in the city limits on a regular basis, and the first time since 1978 that the Pistons have played in the city of Detroit on a regular basis.[55][56][57]


It was originally announced that Little Caesars Arena would cost $450 million to construct, on top of an additional $200 million for constructing the new district. $285 million of the total $650 million cost would be public funds, with $365.5 million in private funding.[27][58]

On May 23, 2017, it was revealed that the cost of the new arena had risen to $862.9 million.[9]

Naming rights[edit]

On February 11, 2016, it was reported that a local businessman had sold the domain name "" three weeks earlier to an international brokerage firm for "five figures", which suggested that Little Caesars, a pizza chain also owned by the Ilitch family, had acquired the naming rights to the new arena.[59] Olympia Entertainment officially announced on April 28, 2016 that the venue would be known as Little Caesars Arena, it was also revealed that a large Little Caesars logo would be displayed on the arena's roof; the previous plan for the LED roof was dismissed as being a "placeholder".[60][61][62][63] Chris Ilitch defended the decision of not selling the naming rights to a third-party company, arguing that it was meant to reflect Little Caesars' position as a "legacy business" of the Ilitch family.[64]

The announcement was poorly-received.[65] Prior to the unveiling of the official name, some fans suggested to The Detroit News that the arena should have been named after Gordie Howe.[66] Following Howe's death on June 10, 2016, an online petition began to circulate requesting that Little Caesars Arena be renamed in honor of the former Red Wings player.[67][68]



Ice hockey[edit]

The Red Wings' inaugural game at Little Caesars Arena will be a preseason game against the Boston Bruins on September 23, 2017,[69] they will play their first regular season game at the arena on October 5, 2017 against the Minnesota Wild.[70]

In February 2017, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman stated that the NHL All-Star Game would likely return to Detroit for the first time since 1980 once construction of The District Detroit is completed.[71]

The 2020 NCAA Frozen Four, the final rounds of the NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Tournament, will be held at Little Caesars Arena, hosted by Michigan State University.[72] The new arena was also a prospective site for the Big Ten Men's Ice Hockey Tournament (which formerly rotated between Xcel Energy Center and Joe Louis Arena),[30] but the conference changed its tournament format for the 2017-18 season to no longer use a neutral site event.[73][74]


The Pistons' inaugural game at Little Caesars Arena will be a preseason game against the Charlotte Hornets on October 4, 2017,[75] their regular season home opener, also against the Hornets, will be played on October 18, 2017.[76]

The first regular season college basketball games held at Little Caesars Arena will be played on December 16, 2017, with a doubleheader featuring the Michigan Wolverines playing the Detroit Mercy Titans, and the Michigan State Spartans playing the Oakland Golden Grizzlies.[77]

Little Caesars Arena will host the Horizon League's men's and women's basketball tournaments beginning in 2018. Detroit began hosting the men's tournament at Joe Louis Arena in 2016 under a 5-year deal, and the women's tournament in 2017.[78][79]

First and second-round games during the 2018 and 2021 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournaments will be played at Little Caesars Arena, hosted by the University of Detroit Mercy.[80][81][72] Although the nearby Palace of Auburn Hills hosted preliminary rounds of the Tournament in 2013, this will be the Tournament's first visit to Detroit since the city hosted the 2009 Final Four at Ford Field.[82][83]

Combat sports[edit]

Little Caesars Arena will host UFC 218 on December 2, 2017.[84]

The 2022 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships will be held at the arena, hosted by the University of Michigan.[72]

Professional wrestling[edit]

Little Caesars Arena will host WWE Hell in a Cell on October 8, 2017.[85]


Date Artist Opening act(s) Tour / Concert name Attendance Revenue Note(s) Reference(s)
September 12, 2017 Kid Rock Robert Randolph and the Family Band
Sweet Tea Trio
TBA TBA Opening event at the venue. [86][87][88]
September 13, 2017
September 15, 2017
September 16, 2017
September 19, 2017
September 20, 2017
September 27, 2017 Ed Sheeran James Blunt ÷ Tour TBA TBA [89][90]
October 1, 2017 Paul McCartney N/A One on One TBA TBA A second show was added. [91]
October 2, 2017
October 19, 2017 Imagine Dragons Grouplove
Evolve Tour TBA TBA [92][93]
October 24, 2017 Fall Out Boy Blackbear
Jaden Smith
The Mania Tour TBA TBA [94][95][96]
October 27, 2017 The Eagles N/A N/A TBA TBA [97]
October 29, 2017 Janet Jackson N/A State of the World Tour TBA TBA [98][99]
November 1, 2017 The Weeknd Gucci Mane
Starboy: Legend of the Fall Tour TBA TBA [100]
November 2, 2017 Guns N' Roses N/A Not in This Lifetime... Tour TBA TBA [101]
November 7, 2017 Lady Gaga N/A Joanne World Tour TBA TBA [102]
November 18, 2017 Jay-Z N/A 4:44 Tour TBA TBA [103]
November 21, 2017 Halsey PartyNextDoor
Charli XCX
Hopeless Fountain Kingdom World Tour TBA TBA [104]
November 24, 2017 Dead & Company N/A Dead & Company Fall Tour 2017 TBA TBA [105]
December 3, 2017 Andrea Bocelli N/A TBA TBA [106]
December 6, 2017 Katy Perry Purity Ring Witness: The Tour TBA TBA [107][108]
December 23, 2017 Trans-Siberian Orchestra N/A The Ghosts of Christmas Eve TBA TBA [109]
January 22, 2018 Shakira N/A El Dorado World Tour TBA TBA [110]
March 28, 2018 Lorde N/A Melodrama World Tour TBA TBA [111]
June 15, 2018 Shania Twain N/A Now Tour TBA TBA [112]
June 26, 2018 Harry Styles Kacey Musgraves Harry Styles: Live on Tour TBA TBA [113]


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  100. ^ Pevos, Edward (June 13, 2017). "Little Caesars Arena adds The Weeknd to its already huge concert lineup". MLive. Retrieved June 13, 2017. 
  101. ^ McCollum, Brian (May 25, 2017). "Guns N' Roses headed back to Detroit for Little Caesars Arena concert". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved May 25, 2017. 
  102. ^ McCollum, Brian (February 6, 2017). "Lady Gaga world tour to hit Little Caesars Arena". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved February 8, 2017. 
  103. ^ McCollum, Brian (July 10, 2017). "Jay Z books date at Little Caesars Arena". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved July 10, 2017. 
  104. ^ Graham, Adam (May 3, 2017). "Halsey headed to Little Caesars Arena in November". The Detroit News. Retrieved May 3, 2017. 
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  106. ^ Pevos, Edward (March 17, 2017). "World-renowned tenor Andrea Bocelli to perform at Little Caesars Arena". MLive. Retrieved March 17, 2017. 
  107. ^ "Katy Perry announces December concert at Little Caesars Arena". Detroit Free Press. May 15, 2017. Retrieved May 15, 2017. 
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  111. ^ Pevos, Edward (June 16, 2017). "Little Caesars Arena adds Lorde to its big concert lineup". MLive. Retrieved June 16, 2017. 
  112. ^ McCollum, Brian (August 17, 2017). "Shania Twain to play Little Caesars Arena in June". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved August 17, 2017. 
  113. ^ Graham, Adam (June 8, 2017). "Harry Styles headed to Little Caesars Arena in June '18". The Detroit News. Retrieved June 8, 2017. 

External links[edit]

Events and tenants
Preceded by
Joe Louis Arena
Home of the Detroit Red Wings
Succeeded by
Preceded by
The Palace of Auburn Hills
Home of the Detroit Pistons
Succeeded by
Preceded by
KeyBank Center
Buffalo, New York
Host of the Frozen Four
Succeeded by
PPG Paints Arena
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania