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Little Caesars Arena

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Little Caesars Arena
Former names Detroit Events Center
Location Detroit, Michigan
Broke ground September 25, 2014[1]
Built 2014-2017
Opened 2017 (planned)
Owner Downtown Development Authority[2]
Operator Olympia Entertainment
Construction cost $450,000,000 (US)
Architect HOK
Structural engineer Magnusson Klemencic Associates[3]
General Contractor Barton Malow/Hunt/White[4]
Capacity 20,000[5]
Field dimensions 200'x85'
Detroit Red Wings (NHL)

Construction of a new indoor arena in downtown Detroit began on April 24, 2015 following a formal groundbreaking ceremony on September 25, 2014. The new arena, which will cost $450 million to construct, will succeed Joe Louis Arena as the home of the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League.

The arena, which will feature a unique, glass-roofed concourse connecting it to offices and shops surrounding it, and house at least 20,000 spectators, will anchor a new, $650 million, 650,000 square foot (60,000 square meters) sports and entertainment district in downtown Detroit that will include mixed-use neighborhoods with new residential and retail outlets, located around the Cass Corridor, Ford Field, and Comerica Park.


The new Detroit arena will be designed by HOK, and feature a unique "deconstructed" layout. Buildings housing retail outlets, the arena's box office, and the offices of the Red Wings will be built outside the arena, but a glass roof will be erected between the buildings and the arena itself. The roof will form an indoor "street" that will serve as the arena's concourse.[4] 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. The eight-story arena will be built as a bowl, with its ice surface 40 feet (12 meters) below street level, and a projected seating capacity of at least 20,000.[5] Also planned is a 37,300 SQ. ft. (3,740 Sq. meter) practice rink inside the arena.[6] Graphics can be projected on the arena's roof, such as the Detroit Red Wings logo on game days, or other content depending on the event. Christopher Ilitch described the design of the new arena as being "revolutionary", and believes that it may influence future arena designs in other cities.[4][7]


In May 2012, it was reported 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.[8] Joe Louis Arena is owned by the City of Detroit and leased to Olympia Entertainment, a subsidiary of the Red Wings' parent company, Ilitch Holdings, which has full operational control. In contrast, the new arena will be owned by the city's Downtown Development Authority and leased to Olympia;[2] as a result, sales of game tickets, parking, concessions, souvenirs, and any potential naming rights deals will no longer 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.[9]

In December 2012, Olympia Entertainment officially announced 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.[10] In June 2013, the Downtown Development Authority officially announced the location of the new Detroit Red Wings arena and entertainment district.[11] On July 24, 2013, the Michigan Strategic Fund approved the Downtown Development Authority's request for $650 million in funding.[12] $285 million of the $650 million cost will be public, with $365.5 million in private funding.[11] The arena itself will cost $450 million.[4]

On July 20, 2014, Christopher Ilitch unveiled renderings of the new arena and entertainment district; 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 compliment the M-1 Rail Line, 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.[7] One of the neighborhoods, referred to by Ilitch as "Wildcat Corner", will incorporate the area occupied by the Detroit Tigers' and Detroit Lions' home venues of Comerica Park and Ford Field, and replace several parking lots with new apartment complexes featuring street-level retail outlets.[4]

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.[7]

A formal groundbreaking ceremony was held at the arena site on September 25, 2014.[1] The arena is scheduled to be completed by the summer of 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.[4][13]

On April 24, 2015, mass excavation at the arena site began a few days after Detroit City Council approved a zoning change, allowing vertical construction to officially commence.[14]

On June 10, 2015, the Detroit Historic District Commission approved the demolition of the Park Avenue Hotel to make room for what will be the arena's loading dock area.[15] A demolition permit was issued on June 22, 2015. Detroit-based Adamo Demolition Co is the contractor listed on the permit.[16]

On February 9, 2016, Chris Ilitch announced that Olympia Entertainment had reached a naming rights deal for the new arena, and that its official name would be unveiled by April. It was speculated that one of the companies that was likely to had acquired the naming rights was Little Caesars, a pizza chain also owned by the Ilitch family.[17] The next day, the Detroit Free Press reported that Olympia had registered "The Baddest Bowl" and "The Baddest Bowl in Hockey" as trademarks in relation to the new arena.[18] On February 11, it was reported that a local businessman had sold the domain name "" three weeks earlier to an international brokerage firm for "five figures", further implying that Little Caesars had acquired the naming rights.[19]

On April 28, 2016, Olympia Entertainment officially announced that Little Caesars had acquired the naming rights to the new arena, and that it 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".[20][21][22][23] 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.[24]

Scheduled eventsEdit


In addition to becoming the new home arena for the Red Wings, the new arena has either already been booked or is a contender for many other sporting events.[25]

Ice hockeyEdit

Olympia Entertainment CEO Tom Wilson described an intent for the new 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.[26] Wilson also stated its commitment to continue hosting the annual collegiate Great Lakes Invitational at the new arena, provided the universities involved maintain their desire to participate.[25]

The Big Ten Men's Ice Hockey Tournament currently rotates in location between the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minnesota (2014 and 2016) and Joe Louis Arena in Detroit (2015 and 2017); on the idea of hosting further editions at the new arena, Wilson stated that "we'd love to host it every year, but I'm not sure that's in the cards. It's good for us, it's good for everybody here in Detroit, but it's also great for the conference."[25]

College basketballEdit

In November 2014, it was announced that the first and second rounds of the 2018 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship would be held at the arena, hosted by the University of Detroit Mercy.[27] Although the nearby Palace of Auburn Hills hosted preliminary rounds of the Tournament in 2013 ],[28] this will be the Tournament's first visit to Detroit since the city hosted the 2009 Final Four at Ford Field.[29]

On May 7, 2015, it was announced that the Horizon League Men's Basketball Tournament would be held in Detroit beginning in 2016 under a five-year deal. For 2016 and 2017, it will be held at Joe Louis Arena, but the tournament is expected to move to the new arena beginning in 2018.[30]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Gallagher, John. "Ground Broken for New Red Wings Arena", September 25, 2014. Retrieved on September 25, 2014. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Reindl, JC. "Q+A on new Red Wings arena: Who's paying for entertainment district?", July 21, 2014. Retrieved on June 12, 2015. 
  3. Witcher, T. R. (November 25, 2014). Motor City Plans Giant Sports, Entertainment District. American Society of Civil Engineers. Retrieved on January 13, 2015.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Shea, Bill (July 20, 2014). Detroit Rink City: Ilitches' grand plan to supersize the entertainment district. Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved on September 21, 2014.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Ilitch Companies Break Ground for New Detroit Red Wings Arena", WXYZ-TV, September 25, 2014. Retrieved on September 25, 2014. 
  6. Shea, Bill (September 24, 2014). Work starts Thursday on Red Wings arena: Details on funding, development, design. Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved on September 25, 2014.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Gallagher, John. "Hockey, Housing and More: Ilitches Unveil 'Bold Vision' for Red Wings Arena District", July 20, 2014. Retrieved on September 21, 2014. 
  8. Muret, Don (May 21, 2012). Red Wings Closer to New Arena with Pair of Architects. SportsBusiness Journal. Retrieved on June 24, 2013.
  9. "Ilitches to Get All Revenues from New Publicly Financed Red Wings Arena", March 2, 2014. Retrieved on September 22, 2014. 
  10. Ilitch Holdings (December 4, 2012). Ilitch Organization Exploring Development of New Residential, Retail, Office and Events Center District in Downtown Detroit (PDF). Press release. Retrieved on December 16, 2012.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Shea, Bill (June 19, 2013). DDA, Red Wings Unveil $650 Million Arena and Entertainment Complex. Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved on June 19, 2013.
  12. Muller, David. "$650 Million Detroit Red Wings Arena Project Clears Another Public Financing Hurdle", MLive, Booth Newspapers, July 24, 2013. Retrieved on July 24, 2013. 
  13. AlHajal, Khalil. "Detroit bankruptcy deal: Joe Louis Arena site to go to creditor for hotel development", MLive, Booth Newspapers, October 16, 2014. Retrieved on October 17, 2014. 
  14. Mass excavation begins for Detroit Red Wings arena project. Booth Newspapers. Retrieved on 27 April 2015.
  15. "Commission OKs historic hotel demolition for Detroit Red Wings hockey arena," Crain's Detroit Business, June 11, 2015
  16. [ " Detroit OKs demolition permit for Park Avenue Hotel"] Detroit Free Press, June 25, 2015
  17. Shea, Bill (February 10, 2016). What will new Red Wings arena be called? Banks, Little Caesars, Amway among possibilities. Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved on February 13, 2016.
  18. Reindl, JC. "Ilitches trademark 'Baddest Bowl in Hockey' for Wings arena", February 10, 2016. Retrieved on February 13, 2016. 
  19. Snell, Robert (February 11, 2016). Little Caesars Arena website sale adds to speculation about name of new Red Wings home. Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved on February 13, 2013.
  20. Gallagher, John (April 28, 2016). Red Wings name new downtown rink: It's 'Little Caesars Arena'. Detroit Free Press. Gannett Company. Retrieved on April 28, 2016.
  21. Aguilar, Louis (April 28, 2016). Red Wings stadium to be Little Caesars Arena. The Detroit News. Retrieved on April 28, 2016.
  22. Thibodeau, Ian (April 28, 2016). Little Caesars Arena is name of new Detroit Red Wings venue. Booth Newspapers. Retrieved on May 1, 2016.
  23. VIDEO: New Red Wings arena won't have LED roof; team ops for giant Little Caesars logo. The E.W. Scripps Company (April 28, 2016). Retrieved on May 4, 2016.
  24. Gallagher, John (April 29, 2016). Ilitches: Little Caesars Arena name a 'legacy' decision. Gannett Company. Retrieved on May 8, 2016.
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 Sipple, George. "New Detroit Arena Will Be in Mix to Host Many Events", September 24, 2014. Retrieved on November 18, 2014. 
  26. Goricki, David. "Wilson: New Red Wings Arena Could Be Hockey 'Epicenter'", MediaNews Group, September 24, 2014. Retrieved on January 18, 2015. 
  27. "New Detroit arena to host 2018 NCAA tournament games", Detroit Free Press, November 17, 2015. Retrieved on March 26, 2015. 
  28. 2013 NCAA Tournament Schedule and Key Dates. (June 29, 2012). Retrieved on April 28, 2015.
  29. Quinn, Brendan F. (November 17, 2014). NCAA men's basketball tournament returning to Detroit in 2018. Booth Newspapers. Retrieved on April 28, 2015.
  30. Moving Horizon League tourney to Detroit is all about branding. Digital First Media (May 7, 2015). Retrieved on 8 May 2015.
Detroit Red Wings
Team Franchise • Players • Coaches • GMs • Seasons • Draft picks • Joe Louis Arena
Stanley Cups 1936, 1937, 1943, 1950, 1952, 1954, 1955, 1997, 1998, 2002
Affiliates Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL), Toledo Storm (ECHL), Flint Generals (IHL), Port Huron Icehawks (IHL)

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