Wings fans can enjoy games at new arena from outside

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — Don’t have a ticket to the Red Wings’ game at the new Little Caesars Arena the season after next?

Don’t be too disappointed.

A lively plaza on the side of the new arena will have the game on a large screen and opportunities to watch — weather permitting — with approximately 3,000 other fans.

This was just one of the highlights among many at the new home of the Red Wings, which were presented to reporters Tuesday at Comerica Park by Tom Wilson, chief executive officer of Olympia Entertainment.

Plaza areas are popular at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, the Air Canada Centre in Toronto and Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay.

The Cavaliers hosted a variety of concerts and projected games on a gigantic screen during their NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors.

Wilson expects a similar festive atmosphere for Red Wings games, with fans milling before, during and after games, and up-and-coming musical acts playing before big-name acts take the stage inside.

Other popular features of the new arena:

* No more dress and drive for Red Wings players, as thay face now if Joe Louis Arena is being used.

Red Wings players — who must practice at Grosse Pointe University Liggett when Jou Louis is unavailable — will be able to dress for practice and simply walk the opposite direction to an underground practice rink that will also be used by youth teams.

* Wilson said Little Caesars Arena will have approximately 9,000 seats in the lower bowl for hockey, 11,000 for basketball with seats that are 21 inches wide (they are 18 at Joe Louis Arena).

There are approximately 6,000 lower bowl seats at Joe Louis Arena.

All 60 suites have been sold. They will comfortably house up to 40 fans, and have five screens that have PowerPoint capability for businesses that want to cater to clients before a game or concert.

* Wilson said the Little Caesars Arena was modeled somewhat after Bell Centre (Montreal) and Amalie Arena (Tampa Bay).

Bell Centre, in particular, was used as a model cebause of its intimidation factor toward opponents.

“It’s steep, people are right on top of you,” Wilson said.