There already has been friction between the proposed the Dan Gilbert-Tom Gores partnership and the hardcore fan base of Detroit City Football Club, many of whom feel the billionaire businessmen are encroaching on their hard-earned turf with their proposal to bring a Major League Soccer team to Detroit.
Well, this can't possibly help matters, can it?
Palace Sports & Entertainment, owned by Gores, has secured more than a dozen URL names related to a potential new soccer team, and all of them have quite the familiar ring to them.
All of the URLs are based off some form of Detroit City Soccer Club, and all of them, typed into a web browser, direct to the PS&E website. The only difference between the team names is one has "Football," and one has "Soccer."
Kevin Grigg, spokesman for the Pistons, confirmed that the domain names have been purchased by PS&E — while pleading for caution, as any MLS team coming to Detroit still is in the early stages of a long process. So, no team name has been decided, Grigg said. After all, Detroit hasn't even been awarded a team yet.
Gores and Gilbert still must secure a plot of land for a stadium — there's still a major tug of war over the failed downtown jail site — if it's to be considered for an expansion franchise when MLS announces two new teams in the fall.
PS&E has not registered any team name for a trademark.
The domain names, which includes ones like detcitysc.com, detsoccerclub.com, detroitcitysc.com, detroitcitysoccerclub.com as well as multiple dot-nets, dot-orgs and dot-clubs, have been registered to PS&E since at least September.
Crain's Detroit was first to report on the existence of the domain names.
"The fact that it's so close to our name makes me think it's just sort of the kind of thing you do when you start a business and you're checking all the boxes," Alex Wright, Detroit City co-owner, told The News on Thursday night.
"Not even starting a business, because it's not a business. From the outside in, it looks like just starting an Organization, 101, I'd like to think that's all there is.
"But it doesn't help that it's just sort of hanging out there without an explanation."
Wright, one of five owners of DCFC, said his organization has had no contact with Gilbert, Gores or their representatives about the future of soccer in Detroit.
DCFC was born in 2012, and through grassroots efforts, community outreach and local fundraising, it's grown into a wildly popular outfit among the area's previously untapped legion of soccer fans, with several thousand regularly attending games at historic and recently renovated Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck.
When Gores, 52, the Pistons owner, and Gilbert, 55, the mega Detroit booster who also owns the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers, announced in April 2016 a plan to bring an MLS franchise to Detroit, the news was met with overwhelming and vocal resistance among DCFC's fan base, and less-subtle but still-pointed criticism from DCFC ownership. Many DCFC boosters believe they've done soccer the right way in Metro Detroit, building from the ground up, as opposed to swooping in with a big checkbook.
Gores and Gilbert officially submitted their bid for an MLS franchise in January.
MLS has 22 teams and has plans to eventually expand to 28. In 2016, MLS teams drew anywhere from 42,636 a game (Seattle Sounders) to 14,094 (FC Dallas).
Detroit City FC's most recent home match drew 4,391, and has drawn more than 7,000.