The Palace of Auburn Hills, often referred to simply as The Palace, is a sports and entertainment venue in Auburn Hills, Michigan, a suburb on the northern outskirts of Detroit, Michigan. Opened in 1988, it is the home of the Detroit Pistons of the National Basketball Association (NBA). It was also the home of the Detroit Shock of the WNBA (1998–2009, now playing as the Tulsa Shock), Detroit Vipers of the IHL (1994–2001), Detroit Safari of the CISL (1994–1997), and the Detroit Fury of the AFL (2001–2004).
From 1957 to 1978, the Pistons competed in Detroit's Olympia Stadium 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 it remained for the next decade. While the Silverdome could accommodate massive crowds, it offered substandard sight lines for basketball viewing. A group led by Davidson bought vacant land in Auburn Hills from Joseph Shewach and built The Palace there for the relatively low cost of $70 million, using entirely private funding. The Davidson family has held a controlling interest in the arena since its construction.
BasketballThe arena opened in time for the Pistons' first NBA championship season, in 1988–1989. Since then, when one of The Palace's basketball occupants has won a championship, the number on its address has changed. Its current address is 6 Championship Drive, reflecting the Pistons' three NBA titles and the Detroit Shock's three WNBA titles (the Detroit 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). The original address was 3777 Lapeer Road.
The first musical act to perform at The Palace was Sting, on August 13, 1988. Many famous musical groups have recorded their live shows, including The Cure, KISS, AC/DC, Judas Priest, Madonna and Three Days Grace.
The Palace was the site of an assassination attempt on Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, while he was on tour, with former band mate Robert Plant, during their "No Quarter Tour". On March 31, 1995, Lance Alworth Cunningham, a 23-year-old who thought that Led Zeppelin music contained "satanic messages", tried rushing the stage with a knife. The man waited until the song "Kashmir" started and then made his charge for the stage, waving the weapon. The man was tackled by patrons and security about 50 feet from the stage.
The arena has hosted WCW World War 3 pay-per-view on two occasions, in 1997 and in 1998 as well as WWF's SummerSlam in 1993. The Palace hosted TNA's Slammiversary event on June 21, 2009, as well as [UFC 123 on November 20, 2010. The Professional Bull Riders (PBR) hosted a Built Ford Tough Series tour event at the Palace in 2001 and 2007; in 2001 the tour was known as the Bud Light Cup.
"The Malice at the Palace"
On November 19, 2004, a fight broke out between members of the NBA's Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers. As the on-court fight died down, a fan threw a cup 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 of Auburn Hills led it become colloquially referred to as "The Malice at the Palace" and the "Basketbrawl."
The Palace was also the site of a brawl between the WNBA's Shock and Sparks on July 21, 2008.
The Palace of Auburn Hills has the largest capacity in the NBA (22,076), which has helped the Pistons to record the league's highest home attendance from 2002–2008. The Pistons court was named the "William Davidson Court", in honor of the late owner, prior to the home opener on October 28, 2009. The Palace's large seating capacity of up to 24,276 for center-stage concerts and suburban location have made it very popular for large concerts and major boxing matches.
The Palace was built with 180 luxury suites, considered an exorbitant number when it opened, but it has consistently managed to lease virtually all of them. In December 2005, the Palace added five underground luxury suites, each containing over 300 lbs. 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 over 300 lbs. and rent for $350,000 annually. The architectural design of the Palace, including its multiple tiers of luxury suites, has been used as the basis for many other professional sports arenas in North America since its construction, including Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, also designed by Rossetti Associates. One trend that the arena has not partaken in is that of selling its naming rights to a sponsor; it is one of five NBA arenas that has not done so, and just one of eight basketball arenas owned by their respective NBA franchise.
Although The Palace is now one of the oldest arenas in the NBA, the Pistons have shown little interest in replacing it, as it already contains the amenities that most NBA teams have sought in new arenas. The Palace installed a new High-Definition JumboTron monitor, new LED video monitors, and more than over 300 lbs. of ribbon display technology from Daktronics. in the mid-2000s. It is 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. However, there is talk of building a new arena for both the Detroit Red Wings and the Pistons in Downtown Detroit before 2015.
The Palace of Auburn Hills has several different types of banners hanging from its rafters. These include all time great Pistons, both Pistons and Shock team achievements.
- William Davidson
- Jack McCloskey
- 2 Chuck Daly
- 4 Joe Dumars
- 10 Dennis Rodman
- 11 Isiah Thomas
- 15 Vinnie Johnson
- 16 Bob Lanier
- 21 Dave Bing
- 40 Bill Laimbeer
Team accomplishments: Detroit Pistons:
- 1988–89 Eastern Conference Champions
- 1988–89 NBA Champions
- 1989–90 Eastern Conference Champions
- 1989–90 NBA Champions
- 2001–02 Central Division Champions
- 2002–03 Central Division Champions
- 2003–04 Eastern Conference Champions
- 2003–04 NBA Champions
- 2004–05 Eastern Conference Champions
- 2004–05 Central Division Champions
- 2005–06 Central Division Champions
- 2006–07 Central Division Champions
- 2007–08 Central Division Champions
- 2003 WNBA Champions
- 2006 WNBA Champions
- 2008 WNBA Champions
Musical acts: In 2008, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the arena, it was announced that The Palace would be raising banners to the ceiling for musical acts that have had multiple sold-out shows at venues owned by Palace Sports & Entertainment. Bon Jovi was the first to get a banner, in February, followed by Neil Diamond, in July. In addition, these artists received banners outside the building on lightpoles along with other members of Palace Sports & Entertainment's most attended acts, including Kid Rock, Bob Seger, Dave Matthews Band, The Barenaked Ladies, Van Halen, Rod Stewart, Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne, Tim McGraw, Jimmy Buffett and Britney Spears.
- ↑ http://articles.nydailynews.com/1995-04-05/entertainment/17973065_1_jimmy-page-willie-nelson-drug-charges
- ↑ Pistons spend big to land the big spenders, by John Lombardo / Sports Business Journal Staff writer, published 28 February 2005
- ↑ "Last of its kind: Charlotte Coliseum to be demolished Sunday". ESPN. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=2889956&campaign=rss&source=NBAHeadlines.
- ↑ "PISTONS: The Palace of Auburn Hills Installs Light Emitting Diode Boards in Arena". http://www.nba.com/pistons/news/ledboards.html.
- ↑ "Nothin' But Profit: Winning no longer key to new NBA". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. http://www.seattlepi.com/basketball/270255_nbasonics15.html.
- ↑ "Don't bet against Wings, Pistons sharing downtown arena". The Detroit News. http://www.detnews.com/article/20100117/SPORTS0103/1170322.