Red Wings Arena Controversy

Fans of the Detroit Red Wings are not happy this week.

Detroit’s in the process of building a new $862 million multi-purpose facility. Up till now, excitement for the Joe Lewis Arena’s replacement was nearly tangible. However, the team and its sponsors really pissed off hockey fans this week. On Tuesday, the Detroit Red Wings’ official social media outlets posted arial photos of new arena… now sporting a massive, 243 foot Little Caesar’s logo.

NHL Red Wings controversy roof.
Little Caesar’s Arena, as of 7-11-17.

It doesn’t take much to understand why fans are angry.

It came as quite a shock to the city, as they were expecting something less commercial, and more representative of the city and its teams. Early renders of the arena showed a massive Red Wings logo, decked out in red lights.

Early render of Red Wings arena.
The arena Red Wings fans were expecting…

This, of course, was never realistic to begin with, seeing as how the Detroit Pistons will be playing there, too. Even so, it’s always difficult to come to terms with the over-commercialization of our favorite sports and teams. Is this particular example that jarring though, in a world where Oracle Arena, Toyota Center and other arenas have their entire structures branded? It goes well beyond arena naming rights to which fans of every major sport are accustomed, but how much is too much?

So, we went ahead and fixed the arena controversy for them.

Revision to NHL Detroit Red Wings arena roof.
There you go, Red Wings. All better.

Joking aside, we’re on the cusp of something big in terms of the commercialization of sports. Eight NBA teams will be wearing jerseys sporting advertising in the 2017-18 season, and you can expect more to sign up as the season gets closer. NFL players are encouraging a players strike if salaries aren’t increased. That money has to come from somewhere.

Are we ready to see our favorite NHL, NBA and NFL teams sporting jerseys akin to the top Soccer clubs in the world? Probably not — a Little Caesar’s logo on an arena is one thing; a Little Caesar’s logo in place of the Winged Wheel is another. But for those Soccer teams, jersey sponsorship accounts for as much as 7% of the team’s total revenue!

What do you think?

Are you willing to trade your team’s identity for more revenue, or is tradition more important than salary inflation and the cost of operating a team? It’s a tough call… sound off in the comments below, or hit up our FORUMS and let’s talk about it.

D.T. Carel

Lover of movies, football, beer and games.

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