Do the Pistons Really Need $34.5 Million to Move to Detroit?

Crain’s Detroit Business reporter Bill Shea talks about the business of team ownership.


Pistons owner Tom Gores spends a lot of money.

For instance — next year he will pay Pistons star Andre Drummond about $24 million. But he doesn’t just spend his money on the team. He also recently spent $100 million on a 30,000 square foot home in the hills of Los Angeles.

So why does Gores need $34.5 million in tax subsidies to help sweeten the deal to move the Pistons to downtown Detroit? What seems like a paltry sum in Gores’ life could make a big difference in Detroit if those tax dollars were prioritized elsewhere in the city.

Bill Shea recently wrote about this conundrum for Crain’s Detroit Business:

Why team owners seek subsidies is easy to answer: Elected officials are willing to hand them over. In the case of the Little Caesars Arena project, it’s $324.1 million in public funding, or about 38 percent of the total current cost. Public backing for private sports venues is a trend that’s been under way now for decades across the country. Effective resistance is rare, even amid examples of gross failure of such subsidies to deliver the litany of promises about new jobs, spending and spinoff development.

To hear more from Shea on Detroit Today, click on the audio player above.



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