The new Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan, in the US has officially opened after a ribbon-cutting ceremony took place yesterday (Tuesday).
The multi-purpose venue will serve as the new home of NHL ice hockey team the Detroit Red Wings, as well as NBA basketball franchise the Detroit Pistons. The arena will offer seating of up to 20,000 for ice hockey games and 21,000 for basketball games, as well as a capacity of 15,000 to 22,000 for concerts.
The Little Caesars Arena becomes the centrepiece of ‘The District Detroit’, a 50-block area that also includes Comerica Park, home of MLB baseball team Detroit Tigers; Comerica Park, the home stadium of NFL American football franchise the Detroit Lions; and performing arts venue Fox Theater.
Once fully complete, the area will also feature a number of hotels, housing and retail units.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Chris Ilitch, president and chief executive of Ilitch Holdings, the company that owns both the Red Wings and Tigers, said: “People have asked me how I feel about this job being finished. I told them that we’re not finished. We’re just getting started.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan also spoke openly about the project and what it means for the city.
Duggan said: “Four years ago Detroit was on its back. We were bankrupt and a national embarrassment. Now we are the only city in the country to have all four of its teams playing within walking distance of one another.”
The opening ceremony comes after Olympia Entertainment, the company behind the arena, was criticised for announcing US singer Kid Rock as the first concert at the venue.
Kid Rock, who regularly plays gigs in Detroit, has shown the Confederate flag on stage at previous concerts and despite reportedly dropping this practice in 2011, is still associated with such activities.
Those opposed to the plans have announced that they will stage a protect on the day of the concert, although Olympia Entertainment has since moved to distance itself from the singer’s political views.