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Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena Named Sports Facility of the Year

Little Caesars Arena HOK
Little Caesars Arena Seating Bowl

The new HOK-designed arena for the Detroit Red Wings and the Detroit Pistons earned top honors at the annual Sports Business Awards.

The arena features a first-of-its-kind deconstructed design, bringing amenities to a shared ETFE-covered public concourse called the Via that is accessible beyond game days.

Excerpted from

The state-of-the-art Little Caesars Arena received the prestigious Sports Facility of the Year award at the 2018 Sports Business Awards Ceremony at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City. Launched in 2008, the industry-leading Sports Business Awards were established by SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily to celebrate and recognize the leaders, visionaries and day-to-day practitioners who personify excellence in the business of sports.

The home of the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Pistons and other sports, entertainment and community events, Little Caesars Arena earned the award among a group of six finalists that also included HOK’s Campus Crossroads Project at Notre Dame Stadium.

Since its opening on Sept. 12, 2017, Little Caesars Arena has been the home for more than 150 ticketed events for 2.3 million fans, including a combined 82 Red Wings and Pistons regular season home games, more than 50 concerts and shows, and 15 additional sporting events. The multi-purpose facility has also hosted more than 100 private events, and is on track to be one of the busiest arenas in the world during its first full year of operation.

“I just love Little Caesars Arena. It is incredible,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. “Every seat in the house is great. In addition to being state-of-the-art, it has every conceivable amenity. An incredible use of technology, and a remarkable tie to history and tradition of this great Original Six franchise. In terms of the fan experience, it is as good as you get in a public facility.”

The construction of Little Caesars Arena positioned Detroit as the only city in America that houses all four of its professional sports teams in an urban core—all within walking distance. Home to the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Pistons and Detroit Lions —The District Detroit represents the greatest density of professional sports teams in one downtown core in the country.

Little Caesars Arena exemplifies modernization with its deconstructed model. This first-of-its kind implementation blurs traditional physical and experiential spaces, with interior streets in the street-level Via concourse acting as a retail galleria with offices, four full-service restaurants, amenities and rich history. The design highlights the Ilitch organization’s focus to look beyond the typical arena to positively impact the broader community.

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