The Palace of Auburn Hills was opened in 1988 to be the new home of the NBA Detroit
Pistons, this after several years of playing in the cavernous Pontiac Silverdome and before
that the decrepit Cobo Hall. Since that time the Palace has become home to the IHL Detroit
Vipers (until they folded when the "I" went out of business), the WNBA Detroit Shock and
the AFL Detroit Fury. Like its football counterpart, the Palace sits out in the middle of
nowhere and far away from downtown Detroit.
There isn't truly a main entrance, however there are four sparkling entrances to the
building - one on each side. On the north side entrance is a large team store tucked in
under a grand staircase, and also a huge video wall showing out of town games from all the
The single concourse encircling the arena is brightly lit and well decorated with many
concession stands and exhibits. The centerpiece of this concourse has to be the Hall of
Fame and Museum displaying memorabilia that were from great events that were held at
Not only could one view the artifacts from the Pistons glory days at the time the building
opened, there were also super exhibits from other teams, such as the IHL Vipers' run to the
Turner Cup, and many great exhibits from plenty of superstar musicians who have
performed at the Palace. Along side this were tributes to the greatest basketball players to
wear the Pistons jersey.
The arena is split into two levels with seating for close to 21,000, with some suites between
the levels and in the midst of the lower level. The seats are of a lavender color which
gives a nice feel to the place. A jumbotron hangs over midcourt and ads are abound on the
concrete rail that separates the two levels. To perk things up a bit there is a live jazz band
performing from a perch above the upper level, a unique touch in the style of Detroit's
Motown musical tradition.
The Pistons have a long and storied history dating back all the way to its origins in Fort
Wayne, Indiana. There are banners celebrating the Pistons division and conference titles
and of course two banners for their two NBA titles in 1989+1990. The Pistons also retired
the numbers of many of their best players of the past such as Thomas, Laimbeer, Dumars,
Johnson, Lanier, and Bing. In a classy move the number 2 is retired in honor of Coach
Chuck Daly, who was at the bench during the Pistons glory years. Not to be forgotten, the
IHL Vipers also have their banners celebrating their great moments including the 1994
Turner Cup championship.
Like the Tigers earlier that day, the Pistons went down to defeat against the Pacers. On our
way out the door we caught the final minutes of Game 3 of the Sabres/Flyers playoff series
and watched as our beloved Sabres season went into the crapper. An all around crummy
day for everyone involved!!!
This building is nice and has weathered well amidst the building boom of arenas that has
occured in today's day and age. We would have liked to have seen more to do in the
surrounding neighborhood and/or inside the building with respect to restaurants and
shops and the like. A very enjoyable experience nonetheless!!!
Food and team store 4.5
Scoreboard and electronics 4.5
Fan support 8
Location and neighborhood 2.5
Banners and history 7
In game entertainment 7
Concourses/fan comfort 5.5
Bonus: Concourse museum 3; Live band atop seating bowl 3;
Jim Rome tourstop 1