Mike Ilitch already owns the Detroit Tigers and the Detroit Red Wings. It now appears that the Ilitch empire will be expanding once again. Crain’s Detroit Business is reporting that Ilitch and Palace Sports and Entertainment will come to the negotiating table:
"The owner of the Detroit Pistons and Auburn Hills-based Palace Sports & Entertainment Inc. has chosen to open negotiations to sell the basketball team and venue management company to Detroit pizza and sports industrialist Mike Ilitch, Crain’s has learned."
The Ilitch named surfaced early on and then was confirmed last August. At that time it was not known if the interest was serious or more of a public relations move as a way to garner support for a new downtown arena to house the Red Wings and Pistons. Assuming the deal goes through, sports and entertainment will be essentially monopolized by Ilitch and his Olympia Entertainment brand.
What does it mean for the Tigers? We will have to wait and see to know for sure. Tigers fans expected some excitement in the offseason due to a large chunk of the payroll coming off the books. Will that happen now that their owner could be on the hook for over $400 million in new acquisitions before the MLB playoffs conclude? The Tigers have undoubtedly been planning for this scenario since the announcement that the Pistons would be put up for sale. On the positive side for baseball fans in Detroit, the PS&E venues are reportedly very healthy financially. Ilitch had already hired Tom Wilson away from the Palace group so he already has the right man in place to ensure a smooth transition. On the negative side, the Tigers lost money last year and probably did again this year. That pocket that Ilitch had been dipping into is about to lose some of its depth.
Hang on Tigers fans, this should be an interesting ride. The hot stove just got hot a little early, at least for the owner.