Crain’s Reporter Bill Shea on Low Attendance at Little Caesars Arena, Tigers’ New Manager

“They got rid of the 20,000 tickets — 20,000 people were not in the building.”

Jake Neher/WDET

A lot has happened in the past week in the world of sports business. 

The Detroit Tigers made a big decision on the person who will lead the team in the coming years, hiring former Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire to a three-year contract. 

The Pistons made headlines with their first game at their new home — Little Caesars Arena — but not in the way the franchise had hoped. The crowd for the home opener was less than impressive. It appeared that half of the seats were empty.

Crain’s Detroit Business reporter Bill Shea joins Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson to talk about these stories and more.

“It’s going to be tough for a little while — it would be for any team in there — to (fill) that full bowl, short of a team with a LeBron (James),” says Shea. “The official attendance is both tickets sold and it’s tickets distributed. So, yeah, they got rid of the 20,000 tickets — 20,000 people were not in the building.”

“When they’re winning and when they have some stars and they’re winning, the place will be sold out.”

Shea also talks about his new column exploring the new venture between Palace Sports and Entertainment and Olympia Entertainment, called 313 Presents. He says 313 Presents now controls about 44 percent of all entertainment venue seats in the market, which Shea says represents more control over a market than seen in almost any other city in the United States.

“There’s not really another business like this that has a near monopoly on venue seats in a market,” says Shea. “It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out, how much influence 313 Presents has over (ticket) pricing.”

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.


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