A Walk Through Of Little Caesars Arena

By Pete Spivak (@sonofUSFLdad)
District Detroit is embarking on a project worth $650 million dollars. And from what I saw up close and personal on a private tour with my fellow members of the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association, every penny has been accounted with idea of bringing Detroit to Little Caesars Arena.  Surrounded by 50 blocks of living space, shops, entertainment venues, and parks, District Detroit’s new center piece is going to set the tone for “state of the art” in our growing modern times.
So let’s start where our tour group started, heading North on Woodward Avenue from Comerica Park (our rendezvous area) we crossed over I-75 into the outskirts of the Cass Corridor area which was once desolate aside from condos on the east side of the avenue. Nowadays, it’s a little bit more active because to our left was a huge construction site with steel girder skeletons all in place for the arena facade.  We turned left onto Sproat St. and made our way trough the construction area to the Northwest corner of the arena.  From there our tour group entered the arena, received some safety instructions and some basic facts from tour guide, and Senior Project Manager, Sean Hollister, and then on our way!
When we entered off the northwest corner, we took elevators to the 8th floor, exited and made a few turns, and there was the overview of the arena, just so awe inspiring.  Hollister started rambling facts, but I heard nothing, I missed that part, because my eyes were taking in a marvel of achievements.

We proceeded around to the east of the 8th floor to the media area. Joe Louis Arena blueprints seemed to have “skipped” the press box area, so it’s been since 1979 that the NHL media has had a professional area.  At Little Caesars Arena, not only do the writers have a huge box on the 8th floor, the broadcast teams will be on the 7th floor in their respective booths.  Plus in the southeast corner of the basement, the media will have a gathering area with full service kitchen, plus, Hollister also said they plan to install recording areas for broadcasters so they can edit and so on.  Some media members may wonder if being so high up will be a disadvantage, well, the media gondola is just above the first couple rows of the second deck, so you’re right above the action, and just high enough not to obstruct the view of fans behind in seats.
Fans don’t have to worry anyway because there will be over 1200 HD TV’s spread throughout the building.
We eventually made our way to main concourse level and thought we were entering outside again.  We look up, and see some sort of clear plastic ceiling with “lines” running through it.  I said to Hollister, “Wow, what the heck?!  It’s as bright as day in here, how is this all possible?”
Hollister went on to explain that the roof is an “ET FE plastic membrane,” which was invented in Germany.  The “lines” running through are actually air hoses which pump in air to relieve pressure on the roof with snow, rain, etc.  Plus the constant air flow helps keeps the plastic clean so that the illumination effect is not diminished.
We eventually made our way to the basement areas where the team’s locker rooms are located.  Red Wings have the center locker room, with plenty of space for dressing, and connected to that are their treatment rooms and lounge area.  Along side the treatment area is the Red Wings practice facility which looks like it seats about 1000 people on one side only (opposite the benches), and equivalent to most city arenas you see around town.  Out of all the features of the LCA, the practice arena is the most complete and ice is already forming on the playing surface.

Ah the Pistons, the late edition to the construction plans.  They haven’t been forgotten but since their area is newly under construction, we weren’t able to get a good idea.  They do have their own locker room which is about half the size of the Red Wings.  They will also have their own treatment area, with their practice facility being built, off-site, in the New Center area.
LCA also has a locker room for the Little Caesars team, and any other teams playing tournaments or games there.  No skimping either.  This locker room is complete with the same type lockers the Red Wings are using, plus they have their own shower and bathroom area.
All these locker rooms have to lead somewhere!  Well they do, they lead out on to the ice/court which was covered to protect from dust and debris.  As we looked up, we saw the area for the Jumbotron.  Hollister and the Red Wings said they weren’t allow to reveal the details, other than it would “fit in the space above us.”  That space to me, appeared to be about 35 feet in length on all four sides, so highlights won’t be a problem folks.
Concession stands will wind around the entire 20,000 square feet of arena, food options of virtually every kind, bathrooms galore, and oh yes, I believe Hollister said over 20 giant keg refrigerators. $650 million has been well spent as we saw some of the HD TV boxes being thrown away at the loading docks, which are under ground, and large enough for an 18 wheeler to do a full U-turn without having to back up.

The District Detroit is buzzing like bees right now.  Work is hard, days are long, deadlines are coming up, and bills need to start being paid. Hollister says there are approximately over 1400 workers on site per day, the keys are scheduled to be handed over on September 1st, and Kid Rock is set to open the arena with his concert on September 12th.
So the countdown clock has more than started…it’s about at zero folks!
Welcome to Detroit, and welcome to Little Caesars Arena.

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