So reports today say that Tigers (and Red Wings) owner Mike Ilitch wants to buy the Pistons and move them to a downtown arena.
In a statement issued this morning, Ilitch said he and his family are committed to building a new arena in downtown even if their bid for the Pistons fails. The new arena would serve as a home for the Red Wings, which continue to play their games at the aging Joe Louis Arena.
The Ilitch bid is for the entire Palace Sports & Entertainment organization, not just for the basketball team itself. If successful, that means that the Ilitches would also own the Palace of Auburn Hills arena, the DTE Energy Music Theatre and other aspects of the Palace network.
"No one should get too excited just yet, because this is the first step in what could be a long process," the Ilitch statement read. "There is a lot of due diligence to take place, and who even knows if the Pistons would accept any potential future offer.
"But I can tell you that we are serious about this, we’ll be aggressive in the process, and we’re going to take a real hard run at it because it makes sense for our organization."
I'm not sure what I make of it quite yet.
The lines of thought that immediately enter my mind:
1. Maybe Ilitch would be so distracted by the purchasing and building of a new stadium that he would leave Tigers CEO/GM Dave Dombrowski to work on the team as he sees fit without too much interference in Dombrowski's plan. That would be nice.
2. Maybe everything would continue as normal for the Tigers. Owning two teams and a downtown empire hasn't really mattered much to the franchise, which has had the full attention and support of its own. (Since 2004 anyway.)
3. Maybe the expense of buying Palace Sports and Entertainment, as well as building a new downtown arena, would hurt the Tigers financially. Since the hockey lockout in 2004 -- which may or may not have anything at all to do with the Tigers -- Ilitch has opened his wallet more and more to the team. The past several years the Tigers have been among the top spenders in baseball. Now they have a lot of money coming off the rolls. What if, instead of re-investing it into better players, Ilitch just bankrolled it for his new expense. Could the Tigers begin to fall back into sports oblivion?
My take is that Ilitch likes the team too much to let the third thing happen, but some combination of the three thoughts could occur. So I'm a little bit worried about the whole thing, to be honest.
What are your thoughts?