The Palace of Auburn Hills

The Palace of Auburn Hills

Infobox Stadium
stadium_name = The Palace of Auburn Hills

location = 5 Championship Drive
Auburn Hills, Michigan 48326
opened = August 13, 1988
owner = William Davidson (majority owner)
operator = Palace Sports and Entertainment
construction_cost = $70 million
architect = Rossetti architects
tenants = Detroit Pistons (NBA) (1988–present)
Detroit Shock (WNBA) (1998–present)
Detroit Vipers (IHL) (1994–2001)
Detroit Safari (CISL) (1994–1997)
Detroit Rockers (NPSL) (1997–2000)
Detroit Fury (AFL) (2001–2004)
seating_capacity = Basketball: 22,076
Hockey/Arena Football: 20,804
End-stage concerts: 23,000
Center-stage concerts: 24,276

The Palace of Auburn Hills, often referred to simply as The Palace, is a sports and entertainment venue in Auburn Hills, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. Opened in 1988, it is the home of the Detroit Pistons of the NBA. Since 1998 it has also hosted the Detroit Shock of the WNBA. It was also the home of the now-defunct 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.


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

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 5 Championship Drive, reflecting the Pistons' three NBA titles and the Detroit Shock's two 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 sight of an a asassination attempt on Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page while he was on tour with former band mate Robert Plant during the "No Quarter Tour".On April 1st 1995, a crazed 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 secruity about 50 feet from the stage. Oddly enough, Page didnt find out about the threat on his life until after the show had ended.

KISS recorded their third live album here on November 27th, 1992. 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.

On November 19, 2004, The Palace was the home of one of the most notorious brawls in US professional sports history, involving members of the Detroit Pistons, the Indiana Pacers and fans. It was coined Malice at the Palace.

In 2008, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the arena, it was annonced 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 Palace of Auburn Hills is presently the largest arena 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 1997.

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 convert|450|sqft|m2 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 convert|1200|sqft|m2 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, [cite web
title=Last of its kind: Charlotte Coliseum to be demolished Sunday
] including Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, 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. [cite web|url=|title=Nothin' But Profit: Winning no longer key to new NBA|publisher=Seattle Post-Intelligencer]


External links

* [ Official site of The Palace of Auburn Hills]
* [,+Auburn+Hills,+MI&ll=42.697052,-83.245388&spn=0.001892,0.005407&t=k&om=1 Aerial view from Google Maps ]
* [ Aerial View from Microsoft TerraServer]

succession box
title = Home of the
Detroit Pistons
years = 1988 – present
before = Pontiac Silverdome
after = current
succession box
title = Home of the
Detroit Shock
years = 1998 – present
before = none
after = current

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