Archives: Silverdome Hosts the Pistons

The Detroit Pistons experienced their best days at the Palace of Auburn Hills, winning three NBA Championships (1989, 1990, and 2004) since moving to the facility, but the franchise built its fan base in the Pontiac Silverdome.

The Pistons shared Olympia Stadium–aka the Old Red Barn–with longtime tenant the Detroit Red Wings of the NHL for the first four years–1957 to 1961–after the franchise moved from Fort Wayne, Indiana. But the Detroit teams split in 1961, with the Pistons moving to the new Cobo Arena and the Red Wings staying at Olympia.

In the late 70’s, the franchise’s discussed reuniting for a new arena, what would become the Joe Louis Arena, but the late Bill Davdison, owner of the Pistons from 1974 to his death in 2009, wanted to leave for the suburbs because of safety concerns. Enter the Silverdome, located in the suburb of Pontiac. The Pistons called the indoor stadium home from 1978 to 1988. The team, which struggled to grow any connection to the area in its first 21 seasons in Michigan, made some serious concessions during this time to attract fans, including a deal where fans could get tickets for $1 if they filled up their car’s gas tank at a participating Marathon. As the wins started to come in the 80s under head coach Chuck Daly, so too, did the fans.

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