Sales of new season tickets for the Detroit Pistons’ return to the city are so brisk the team currently ranks as the second highest seller among National Basketball Association teams.
Courtside seats — 402 folding chairs that range from $70,400 to $13,200 for 41 homes games plus the preseason — sold out within a few weeks last month. Beyond new season ticket holders, the Pistons are on track to retain more than 80 percent of those who had full season tickets for the 2016-17 season, according to team officials. Half season and partial season tickets, along with single game tickets, go on sale later this summer.
Kevin Grigg, Pistons vice president of public relations, said sales so far are a “good sign.” The No. 2 ranking for new season tickets comes from internal NBA data, he said. Griggs didn’t know the NBA’s top seller.
The excitement, the officials said, is due to the team’s planned move to the new Little Caesars Arena in Detroit that the Pistons will share with the Detroit Red Wings hockey team. The move will mark the first time the Pistons will have their home court in Detroit since 1978, when the team moved from Cobo to the Pontiac Silverdome, which is now closed and likely set for demolition. The team moved to The Palace of Auburn Hills in 1988.
As expected, the Pistons have raised season ticket prices for their Little Caesars Arena debut, where the lowest-price full season ticket is $616, a 43.6 percent increase. At The Palace, the least expensive full season ticket sold for $429.
Season tickets for the most expensive non-courtside seats at Little Caesars have all sold out at $13,200. That’s a 65 percent increase from the $8,000 they sold for last season at The Palace.
The price hikes are among a number of steps to increase revenues for the Pistons, as the new arena will have fewer corporate suites — a prized source of revenue — compared to The Palace. The Pistons are working out an agreement with the Red Wings regarding sharing revenues from suites at the Little Caesars Arena, officials said.
The Palace had more than 100 suites of various size. Little Caesars Arena has 52 suites and 22 mini suites, Grigg said. “We are closing in on selling out all of the inventory” of suites, Grigg said.
Beyond suites and season tickets, the Pistons at The Palace had some of the lowest single ticket prices in the NBA. Single ticket prices for the new arena haven’t been set yet but will likely be priced closer to the league average, Grigg said.
The Pistons deal to move to the city-owned Little Caesars Arena is still moving through the approval process at the state and local government levels. The NBA also needs to approve the move.