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The Palace of Auburn Hills, often referred to simply as The Palace, is a sports and entertainment venue in Auburn Hills, Michiganmarker, a suburb on the northern outskirts of Detroitmarker, Michiganmarker, USAmarker. Opened in 1988, it is the home of the Detroit Pistons of the NBA. It was also the home of the Detroit Shock of the WNBA (1998-2009, now playing as the Tulsa WNBA team). Detroit Vipers of the IHL (1994–2001), Detroit Safari of the CISL (1994–1997), and the Detroit Fury of the AFL (2001–2004). It has also hosted numerous concerts and other special events throughout its history.

History

Before The Palace opened, the Pistons had lacked a suitable home venue. From 1957 to 1978, the team competed in Detroit's Olympia Stadiummarker and Cobo Arena, both considered undersized for NBA purposes. In 1978, owner Bill Davidson elected not to share the new Joe Louis Arenamarker with the Detroit Red Wings, and instead chose to relocate the team to the Pontiac Silverdomemarker, 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 holds a controlling interest in the arena since its construction, first through Bill and currently Karen.

The 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 original address was 3777 Lapeer Road.

The first musical act to perform at The Palace was Sting, on August 13, 1988, followed by David Lee Roth, Pink Floyd and Crosby, Stills and Nash.

The Palace was also the site of an assassination attempt on Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page while he was on tour with former band mate Robert Plant during the "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 while waving the weapon. The man was tackled by patrons and security about 50 feet from the stage.

The Cure recorded their live album Show at the arena across two nights on July 18 and 19, 1992. Also, KISS recorded their third live album here on November 27, 1992.

Phish played the arena on December 6, 1997. They also played there during their fall tours in 1995, 1996, & 1999.

The arena hosted WCW World War 3 pay-per-view on two occasions in 1997 and also in 1998 as well as WWF's SummerSlam in 1993. On August 26, 2001, Madonna broadcast live on HBO her Drowned World Tour. It hosted TNA's Slammiversary event on June 21, 2009.

The Palace was the home of two brawls, one between the NBA's Pacers and Pistons and the other between the WNBA's Shock and Sparks.

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, The Dave Matthews Band, The Barenaked Ladies, Van Halen, Rod Stewart, Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne, Tim McGraw and Jimmy Buffett.

The Pistons floor was named the "William Davidson Court", in honor of the late owner, prior to the home opener on October 28, 2009.

Capacity

The Palace of Auburn Hills has the largest capacity in the NBA, which has helped the Pistons to record the league's highest home attendance from 2002-2008.

The Palace's large seating capacity (22,076 for basketball; up to 23,000 for end-stage concerts and 24,276 for center-stage concerts) and suburban location have also made it very popular for large concerts and, to a slightly lesser degree, major boxing matches. The arena's basketball capacity was increased from 21,454 to 22,076 in the summer of 2009.

Banners

The Palace of Auburn Hills has several different types of banners hanging from its rafters. These include all time great Pistons, both Piston and Shock team achievements as well as some musicians who have consistently sold out the venue.

Musicians:

Retired Numbers:
  • William Davidson
  • Jack McCloskey
  • 2 Chuck Daly
  • 4 Joe Dumars
  • 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


Detroit Shock:
  • 2003 WNBA Champions
  • 2006 WNBA Champions
  • 2008 WNBA Champions


Luxury suites

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 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 is size from 800 to 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 Placemarker in Ottawamarker, 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 four 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. Additionally, The Palace installed a new High-Definition Jumbotron monitor and LED video monitors 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.

See also



References



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