The Palace (venue)
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The Palace Venue

The Palace of Auburn Hills
The Palace of Auburn Hills.svg
Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan.jpg
Address6 Championship Drive[1]
LocationAuburn Hills, Michigan, U.S.[1]
Coordinates42°41?49?N 83°14?44?W / 42.69694°N 83.24556°W / 42.69694; -83.24556Coordinates: 42°41?49?N 83°14?44?W / 42.69694°N 83.24556°W / 42.69694; -83.24556
OwnerTom Gores[2]
OperatorPalace Sports & Entertainment[3]
CapacityBasketball: 22,076[4][5]
Ice hockey: 20,804[3][5]
Concerts: 6,000 to 23,000[3][5]
Broke groundJune 7, 1986[6]
OpenedAugust 13, 1988[13]
Renovated2005,[3] 2015[3]
ClosedOctober 12, 2017[14]
DemolishedFebruary 2020 (began)[7]
Construction cost$90 million[2]
($195 million in 2019 dollars[8])
ArchitectRossetti Architects[9]
Project managerFrank Rewold and Sons[10]
Structural engineerMcClerg & Associates Inc.[11]
General contractorR.E. Dailey & Company[12]
Detroit Pistons (NBA) (1988-2017)
Detroit Vipers (IHL) (1994-2001)
Detroit Safari (CISL) (1994-1997)
Detroit Whalers (OHL) (1995-1996)
Detroit Rockers (NPSL) (1997-2000)
Detroit Shock (WNBA) (1998-2009)
Detroit Fury (AFL) (2001-2004)

The Palace of Auburn Hills, commonly referred to as The Palace, is a defunct multi-purpose arena located in Auburn Hills, Michigan that is currently undergoing demolition. It was the home of the Detroit Pistons of the National Basketball Association (NBA), the Detroit Shock of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), the Detroit Vipers of the International Hockey League, the Detroit Safari of the Continental Indoor Soccer League, and the Detroit Fury of the Arena Football League.

The Palace was one of eight basketball arenas owned by their respective NBA franchises.


By the time it closed as an NBA venue, the Palace was one of only two arenas which had not sold its naming rights to a corporate sponsor. The other was Madison Square Garden.[15]

The court was previously named the "William Davidson Court", in honor of late owner Bill Davidson, prior to the Pistons' home opener on October 30, 2009; however, Davidson's signature, along with the retired numbers, were removed from the hardwood when Tom Gores took over ownership of the Palace, and were instead re-retired atop the Palace rafters as replacement banners.[16][17][18]


The interior of the Palace of Auburn Hills during a Detroit Pistons basketball game in January 2006.


From 1957 to 1978, the Pistons competed in Detroit's Olympia Stadium, Memorial Building, and Cobo Arena. In 1978, owner Bill Davidson elected not to share the new Joe Louis Arena with the Detroit Red Wings, and instead chose to relocate the team to the Pontiac Silverdome, a venue constructed for football, where they remained for the next decade.[9][19] While the Silverdome could accommodate massive crowds, it offered substandard sight lines for basketball viewing. In late 1985, a group led by Davidson decided to build a new arena in Auburn Hills. Groundbreaking for the arena took place in June 1986.[13] Using entirely private funding, The Palace cost a relatively low price of $90 million.[2][9] The Davidson family held a controlling interest in the arena until Tom Gores bought it as part of his purchase of the Pistons in 2011.[2]


Then-Pistons owner Bill Davidson and two developers privately financed the $90 million construction of The Palace, and did not require public funds.[2]

The Palace was built with 180 luxury suites, considered an exorbitant number when it opened. However, it consistently managed to lease virtually all of them. In December 2005, the Palace added five underground luxury suites, each containing 450 square feet (42 m2) of space and renting for $450,000 per year. Eight more luxury suites, also located below arena level, were opened in February 2006. They range in size from 800 to 1,200 square feet (74 to 111 m2) and rent for $350,000 annually.[20] The architectural design of the Palace, including its multiple tiers of luxury suites, has been used as the basis for many other arenas in North America since its construction.[21]


The Palace opened in 1988.[13] When one of its basketball occupants won a championship, the number on its address changed. Its current address is 6 Championship Drive, reflecting the Pistons' three NBA titles and the Shock's three WNBA titles (the Vipers' 1997 Turner Cup championship has not been officially recognized in the arena's address; the address also remained unchanged despite the Shock's move to Tulsa, Oklahoma in 2010).[22][23][24]

The Palace was widely considered to be the first of the modern-style NBA arenas, and its large number of luxury suites was a major reason for the building boom of new NBA arenas in the 1990s. Although the Palace became one of the oldest arenas in the NBA, its foresighted design contained the amenities that most NBA teams have sought in new arenas built since that time. By contrast, of the other NBA venues that opened during the 1988-89 season, Charlotte Coliseum, Miami Arena, the Bradley Center and Sleep Train Arena were considered obsolete relatively quickly, due to a lack of luxury suites and club seating, lucrative revenue-generating features that made pro sports teams financially successful in order to remain competitive long-term.[2][21][25][26]

Nonetheless, Palace Sports & Entertainment (PS&E) had spent $117.5 million in upgrades and renovations to keep the arena updated.[2] A new high definition JumboTron monitor, new LED video monitors, and more than 950 feet (290 m) of ribbon display technology from Daktronics was installed in the mid-2000s.[27]

Malice at the Palace

On November 19, 2004, a fight broke out between members of the Pistons and Indiana Pacers. As the on-court fight died down, a fan threw a cup of Diet Coke at Pacers forward Ron Artest, who then rushed into the crowd, sparking a melee between players and spectators. The fight resulted in the suspension of nine players, criminal charges against five players, and criminal charges against five spectators. The offending fans were banned from attending games at the Palace. In the aftermath of the fight, the NBA decided to increase the security presence between players and spectators. The fact that the fight took place at the Palace led to it becoming colloquially referred to as the "Malice at the Palace" and the "Basketbrawl".[28][29]

The Palace was also the site of a brawl between the WNBA's Shock and Sparks on July 22, 2008.[30]

Notable concerts

Sting performed during his ...Nothing Like the Sun Tour on August 13, 1988, becoming the very first musical act to perform at The Palace.[31]

Pink Floyd performed there on August 16-17, 1988 as part of their A Momentary Lapse of Reason Tour.[32][33]

Michael Jackson performed three sold-out shows during his Bad World Tour on October 24-26, 1988.[34]

Janet Jackson performed two shows there on August 22-23, 1990 as part of her Rhythm Nation World Tour.[35][36] Additionally, Jackson also performed there on July 30-31, 2001 during her All for You Tour.[37][38]

Aerosmith played the venue 14 times from 1990-2012.[39]

Van Halen performed four shows on their For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge Tour on February 21-22, 1992 and on April 3-4, 1992.[40][41][42][43] They also performed consecutive shows during their The Balance "Ambulance" Tour on April 15-16, 1995.[44][45]

U2 performed at The Palace on March 27, 1992 on the first leg of their Zoo TV Tour. During the performance, Bono called a local pizza bar from the stage and ordered 10,000 pizzas for the crowd in attendance. Approximately 100 pizzas were delivered.[46]

The Cure performed two consecutive shows, during their Wish Tour on July 18-19, 1992, with The Cranes as their opening act. The shows were recorded and released as a live album, entitled Show.[47]

Bon Jovi performed during their Keep The Faith world tour on March 2, 1993, their Crush Tour on November 18, 2000 and their Lost Highway Tour on February 20 and July 7, 2008.[48][49][50][51]

The Palace was the site of an attempt on the life of Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, while he was on tour, with former bandmate Robert Plant, during their No Quarter Tour. On March 31, 1995, Lance Alworth Cunningham, a 23-year-old who thought that Led Zeppelin's music contained "satanic messages", tried to rush the stage with a knife. He was subdued about 50 feet from the stage.[52][53]

Grand Funk Railroad performed a benefit show for the nation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in March 1997 during their Reunion Tour. The show also featured Peter Frampton, Alto Reed, Paul Shaffer, and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. The performance was recorded, and released as the double-live Bosnia album in October of that year.[47]

Phish played at the Palace during their fall 1997 tour on December 6, 1997. This show is known as one of their funkiest performances of all time and includes funky versions of their songs Run Like an Antelope, Tweezer, and Izabella (Jimi Hendrix cover), among others.[54]

Madonna performed two sold-out shows during her Drowned World Tour on August 25-26, 2001. The shows were recorded and broadcast live on HBO and were later released as a DVD, entitled Drowned World Tour 2001.[55]

Replacement and demolition

In October 2016, it was reported that the Pistons' ownership were negotiating a possible relocation to Little Caesars Arena, a new multi-purpose venue located in Midtown Detroit built by Olympia Entertainment to replace Joe Louis Arena as home of the NHL's Detroit Red Wings, as soon as the 2017-18 season.[56][57][58] On November 22, 2016, the team officially announced that they would play at Little Caesars Arena in 2017.[59][60][61] The final NBA game at The Palace was played on April 10, 2017, with the Pistons losing to the Washington Wizards, 105-101.[62][63] This game ended a 42-year history of professional sports in Oakland County.[62][63][64][65]

Bob Seger held the final concert at the venue on September 23, 2017.[66][67] The last scheduled event at the venue was the Taste of Auburn Hills on October 12, 2017.[14] Palace Sports & Entertainment entered into a joint venture with Olympia known as 313 Presents to jointly manage entertainment bookings and promotions for Little Caesars Arena and other venues owned by the firms.[68]

Despite its closure, the Palace was still in top condition as a sporting and concert venue.[66] However, it is located in a northern suburb, relatively far away from the city center, in light of the growing trend of "walkable urbanism" where the Pistons wanted to grow their fanbase.[69] It was speculated that the Palace would likely end up being demolished, and the site would be redeveloped to accommodate a possible new auto supplier headquarters and research and development parks.[70]

In August 2018, it was announced that the Arizona Coyotes of the National Hockey League had purchased a scoreboard to replace the old one at Gila River Arena.[71] It was later revealed that the scoreboard was the old Palace360 scoreboard that had been installed at the Palace in 2014.[72] The scoreboard was installed before the beginning of the 2018-19 season.[71]

In October 2018, it was reported that Oakland University had considered purchasing the arena.[73] Ultimately, a deal never went through.[74]

In April 2019, it was reported that Tom Gores' Platinum Equity were in negotiations to sell the arena to Livonia-based real estate firm Schostak Brothers.[74][75] On June 24, 2019, it was reported that the arena had been sold to a joint venture which planned to redevelop the property into a mixed-use office park.[76] Demolition began in February 2020.[7]

See also


  1. ^ a b "PALACE SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT". Archived from the original on June 24, 2017. Retrieved 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Glass, Alana (July 30, 2012). "Tom Gores Puts His Stamp On The Detroit Pistons With Arena Renovations". Forbes. Retrieved 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Palace of Auburn Hills". Archived from the original on June 11, 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  4. ^ "The Palace of Auburn Hills". Retrieved 2018.
  5. ^ a b c "Palace at Auburn Hills". Inside Arenas. Retrieved 2018.
  6. ^ Haynes, Geoffrey (June 7, 1986). "Pistons Plan to Vacate Silverdome for Auburn Hills". The Argus-Press. Associated Press. Retrieved 2012.
  7. ^ a b Powell, Austin (February 28, 2020). "Palace of Auburn Hills demolition photo will bring tears to your eyes". Detroit Sports Nation. Archived from the original on February 29, 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  8. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800-". Retrieved 2020.
  9. ^ a b c Monarrez, Carlos (April 10, 2017). "The story of the Palace of Auburn Hills: Somehow, it worked". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 2017.
  10. ^ Munsey, Paul; Suppes, Cory. "Palace of Auburn Hills". Retrieved 2016.
  11. ^[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "The Palace of Auburn Hills". Emporis. Retrieved 2017.
  13. ^ a b c Muret, Don (November 3, 2008). "Twenty years in, the Palace still shines". Sports Business Daily. Archived from the original on January 20, 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  14. ^ a b "Last look inside the Palace: Taste of Auburn Hills 2017". The Oakland Press. October 13, 2017. Retrieved 2018.
  15. ^ Sipple, George (October 23, 2015). "Naming rights available for Palace of Auburn Hills". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 2018.
  16. ^ "Oklahoma City Thunder at Detroit Pistons Box Score, October 30, 2009". Retrieved 2018.
  17. ^ "Durant keeps Thunder on top with fourth-quarter push to beat Pistons". Associated Press. October 31, 2009. Retrieved 2018.
  18. ^ Savage, Brendan (December 28, 2011). "Detroit Pistons honor former owner Bill Davidson with banner in Palace rafters". MLive. Retrieved 2018.
  19. ^ Attner, Paul (March 18, 1978). "22,000-Seat Silverdome To Become Pistons' Home". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2019.
  20. ^ Lombardo, John (February 28, 2005). "Pistons spend big to land the big spenders". SportsBusiness Journal. Archived from the original on February 23, 2017. Retrieved 2018.
  21. ^ a b "Last of its kind: Charlotte Coliseum to be demolished Sunday". Associated Press. June 1, 2007. Retrieved 2019.
  22. ^ Guest, J. Conrad (January 6, 2013). "Many reasons why Pistons may not move to downtown Detroit". Vintage Detroit. Retrieved 2019.
  23. ^ Manasso, John (March 8, 2015). "Sunday Long Read: Forgotten Vipers rocked Detroit". Retrieved 2019.
  24. ^ "WNBA's Shock will relocate to Tulsa". October 20, 2009. Archived from the original on August 29, 2018. Retrieved 2019.
  25. ^ "Auburn Hills Information". Stadium Hotel Network. Retrieved 2017.
  26. ^ Lewis, Mike; Cat Le, Phuong (May 15, 2006). "Nothin' But Profit: Winning no longer key to new NBA". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2017.
  27. ^ "PISTONS: The Palace of Auburn Hills Installs Light Emitting Diode Boards in Arena". NBA.
  28. ^ "Basketbrawl Sparks Suspensions". CBS News. Associated Press. November 21, 2004. Retrieved 2019.
  29. ^ Hill, Jemele (November 18, 2009). "The Brawl: Were lessons learned?". Archived from the original on November 4, 2012. Retrieved 2019.
  30. ^ "Ejected Parker, Milton-Jones help Sparks hold on vs. Shock". Associated Press. July 23, 2008. Retrieved 2019.
  31. ^ "Sting - Concert information". Retrieved 2016.
  32. ^ "Pink Floyd Concert Setlist at The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills on August 16, 1988". Retrieved 2019.
  33. ^ "Pink Floyd Concert Setlist at The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills on August 17, 1988". Retrieved 2019.
  34. ^ "Top moments in Palace of Auburn Hills history: 6-20". Detroit Free Press. April 12, 2017. Retrieved 2019.
  35. ^ "Janet Jackson Concert Setlist at The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills on August 22, 1990". Retrieved 2019.
  36. ^ "Janet Jackson Concert Setlist at The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills on August 23, 1990". Retrieved 2019.
  37. ^ "Janet Jackson Concert Setlist at The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills on July 30, 2001". Retrieved 2019.
  38. ^ "Janet Jackson Concert Setlist at The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills on July 31, 2001". Retrieved 2019.
  39. ^ "Aerosmith Auburn Hills". Retrieved 2019.
  40. ^ "Van Halen Concert Setlist at The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills on February 21, 1992". Retrieved 2019.
  41. ^ "Van Halen Concert Setlist at The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills on February 22, 1992". Retrieved 2019.
  42. ^ "Van Halen Concert Setlist at The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills on April 3, 1992". Retrieved 2019.
  43. ^ "Van Halen Concert Setlist at The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills on April 4, 1992". Retrieved 2019.
  44. ^ "Van Halen Concert Setlist at The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills on April 15, 1995". Retrieved 2019.
  45. ^ "Van Halen Concert Setlist at The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills on April 16, 1995". Retrieved 2019.
  46. ^
  47. ^ a b Graff, Gary (September 14, 2017). "Farewell to The Palace: 20 great musical moments remembered". The Oakland Press. Retrieved 2019.
  48. ^ "Bon Jovi Concert Setlist at The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills on March 2, 1993". Retrieved 2019.
  49. ^ "Bon Jovi Concert Setlist at The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills on November 18, 2000". Retrieved 2019.
  50. ^ "Bon Jovi Concert Setlist at The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills on February 20, 2008". Retrieved 2019.
  51. ^ "Bon Jovi Concert Setlist at The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills on July 7, 2008". Retrieved 2019.
  52. ^ "Man Charged with Trying To Attack Ex-Led Zeppelin Guitarist". Associated Press. April 4, 1995. Retrieved 2019.
  53. ^ Giles, Jeff (March 31, 2015). "Jimmy Page and the History of His Assassination Attempt". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 2019.
  54. ^ "The Palace of Auburn Hills". Retrieved 2020.
  55. ^ Schumacher-Rasmussen, Eric (May 24, 2001). "Madonna Bringing Drowned World To HBO". Retrieved 2019.
  56. ^ Hutchinson, Derick (October 26, 2016). "Detroit Pistons finalizing deal to move downtown, sources say". WDIV-TV News. Graham Media Group. Retrieved 2016.
  57. ^ Ellis, Vince (October 26, 2016). "Detroit Pistons hammering out 2 key issues for downtown arena move". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 2016.
  58. ^ Ellis, Vince (October 29, 2016). "Tom Gores confirms Pistons 'very close' to move downtown, and soon". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 2016.
  59. ^ "Pistons to Move to Downtown Detroit". November 22, 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  60. ^ Manzullo, Brian; Gallagher, John; Guillen, Joe (November 22, 2016). "Detroit Pistons moving downtown: 'We want to be all in on Detroit'". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 2016.
  61. ^ Paul, Tony (November 22, 2016). "'The right move': Pistons returning to Detroit". The Detroit News. Retrieved 2016.
  62. ^ a b Ellis, Vince (April 10, 2017). "Pistons close Palace with 105-101 loss to Wizards". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 2017.
  63. ^ a b Beard, Rod (April 10, 2017). "Pistons' rally falls short in last game at Palace". The Detroit News. Retrieved 2017.
  64. ^ Shubnell, Jason (November 22, 2016). "1974: What Detroit was like when 4 major sports teams were all in the city". Detroit Free Press. Benzinga. Retrieved 2018.
  65. ^ Afana, Dana (September 5, 2017). "Detroit stands alone with 4 pro sports teams downtown, says mayor at arena ribbon cutting". MLive. Retrieved 2018.
  66. ^ a b McCollum, Brian (August 24, 2017). "Confirmed: Palace of Auburn Hills is closing; Bob Seger to be final event". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 2017.
  67. ^ McCollum, Brian (September 24, 2017). "Bob Seger sends off the Palace in nostalgic Auburn Hills night". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 2018.
  68. ^ Graham, Adam (October 8, 2017). "Palace, Olympia staffs form new venture, 313 Presents". The Detroit News. Retrieved 2017.
  69. ^ Gallagher, John (April 14, 2017). "How miscalculation, market trends doomed Palace of Auburn Hills". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 2017.
  70. ^ Gallagher, John (November 21, 2016). "After Pistons move, Palace likely faces rapid redevelopment". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 2017.
  71. ^ a b "Coyotes, Glendale & AEG Invest in State-of-the-Art Centerhung Video Board". August 16, 2018. Retrieved 2020.
  72. ^ "New Scoreboard for the Coyotes". The Faceoff. Retrieved 2020.
  73. ^ Beard, Rod; Noble, Breana (October 26, 2018). "Oakland University negotiating to buy The Palace of Auburn Hills". The Detroit News. Retrieved 2019.
  74. ^ a b "Schostak Brothers in talks to buy Palace of Auburn Hills". Detroit Free Press. April 10, 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  75. ^ Pinho, Kirk (April 10, 2019). "Palace of Auburn Hills under contract with Schostak Bros., sources say". Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved 2019.
  76. ^ Pinho, Kirk (June 24, 2019). "Palace of Auburn Hills sold; demolition to begin this fall". Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved 2019.

External links

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